Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "Today the Church is in your hands": this is the what the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni said to 16 priests, professors in the major Seminaries of Africa, Asia and Oceania, who are taking part in the Semi-annual refresher course organized by the missionary Dicastery in collaboration with the Pontifical Urbaniana University.
"The inheritance received must be carried out by you", said the Cardinal Prefect during the meeting on March 18, on the eve of the solemnity of Saint Joseph, to whom the College hosting the priests in this period is dedicated. 50 years after the Second Vatican Council, the Cardinal underlined, the Church in Africa and Asia has grown, its face has changed. There are no longer the missionaries of the past, but it is the natives who take responsibility for continuing the work of evangelization. Taking cue from the parable of the Talents, Cardinal Filoni advised not to waste the gifts received, but to use them for the good of others. Everyone needs full awareness of their responsibility in the Church.
Focusing on the delicate mission of the professors, the Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery highlighted that the role of a professor in the seminary is not limited to teaching, but he is also a formator and an educator at the same time. Therefore professors must be reliable people, who take care of the young and prepare them in an appropriate way to be worthy and suitable priests in order to serve their local Churches. For this reason, in addition to cultural, spiritual and theological formation, the ecclesiological formation of candidates to priesthood must be taken care of. It is fundamental to make seminarians understand the sense of the Church, which is universal, it is not ethnic or tribal, but is the Church of Christ in a given place. For this reason we need priests who are well prepared on a human, spiritual and moral level, priests with a profound ecclesial sense, who love their diocese and are ready to serve it wholeheartedly and with love.
Finally, the Cardinal recommended to deepen the New Fundamental Ratio on Priesthood Formation (2016), which reflects a vision of priestly formation understood as a journey of transformation and configuration to Christ, Head and Shepherd. Within the Seminaries the task of accompanying young people in the realization of their vocation is shared among professors, the Rector and all the formators, since the whole group of formators constitutes an educating community.
Since the academic year 2012-2013, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Urbaniana University has promoted this course of cultural and spiritual updating, which lasts one semester, to respond to the need of formators and professors of mission territories to have a time for reflection and study after a few years of activity. This is the 10th edition, and so far 214 professors have participated.
The course includes the following disciplines: Philosophy, Theology, Canon Law, Missiology and Liturgy. The University provides the Courses activated in its faculties during the semester. Each participant develops a personal "study plan", including the possibility of following specialized courses at other Roman universities.
San Giuseppe College hosts the group of formators, who live community and spiritual life, with informative and formative conferences, spiritual retreats, cultural visits. The exchange of experiences is very enriching and contributes to making this experience particularly useful for the service to local Churches. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 22/03/2018)