Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Multifaceted Formation

It is very interesting to field questions from family members, friends, parishioners, and other acquaintances in regard to priestly formation. At the end of this summer, I stopped by to see my grandparents before returning to school and my 93 year-old grandpa asked me, "So what do you guys do up there, at the cemetery [sic]? Take classes in the bible all day?" Oh, grandpa, if only it were really that simple.

Of course, as can be gleaned from even a quick glance at the foundational document on priestly formation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, there are four main pillars of formation: Human, Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral. I'm not exactly sure under which pillar it falls, but there are a number of events which come up throughout the year (and will continue to come up throughout the priesthood) which are apparently non-essential and superfluous, but in all actuality really quite essential and fundamental.

One such event is the episcopal ordination of Father Michael Hoeppner as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Crookston, MN. Bishop-elect Hoeppner, until his appointment by the Holy Father, was the Vicar General of the Diocese of Winona, MN--my diocese. It is fairly commonplace for seminarians and priests of the bishop-elect's previous/home diocese to attend the ordination of the bishop-elect. In a very real way, attending such an event shows our continued support for not only the bishop being ordained, but also the diocese to which he's been appointed.

Even more importantly (and this is how events such as these are specifically formative for the life of the priest, under the spiritual and pastoral pillars), this is a way of evidencing, showing and living the universality of the Catholic Church. As Catholics, we have all are a part of, foster and serve the faith not only in our local parishes and local dioceses, but also the wellbeing of the faith all throughout the Church. We do not become possessive of priests, programs, practices, beliefs, in our own locality but rather always direct our efforts and resources to the good of this local community inasmuch as it benefits Church universal.

For this reason, I am more than happy to lose some time for doing my homework or sleep because of travel and catch-up on homework.

For those of you who might have an interest (and the time!), the Diocese of Crookston will be broadcasting the ordination over the internet (high-speed connection required). It can be watched at 1:00 pm CST at www.NewBishop.com. Also interesting, another Catholic Blog has picked up on this story and posted an interesting commentary.

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