Luanda (Agenzia Fides) - Gratitude for the valuable contribution to the formation of priests, men and women religious of the country, together with the assurance that the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples "assigns great priority to formation, especially priests and consecrated persons" through the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle and the Pontifical Urbaniana University, were reiterated by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 14, met the formators of the ecclesiastical Province of Luanda (see Fides, 9/11/2018).
"Formation is a very important and delicate work that must be carried out with seriousness and responsibility - reiterated the Cardinal -. The work you do inevitably has consequences for the future of the Church, both at a local and universal level. The quality of priests and consecrated persons depends on the quality of the formation received. The problems that are undermining the Church regarding morality, fidelity to priesthood, the lack of ecclesial spirit of obedience and communion, and the sexual scandals of which some religious are guilty, are also due to the serious shortcomings that we can find in the formation in seminars or in the houses of formation for religious life or even in the novitiate".
Quoting the Nova Ratio Fundamentalis on the formation of priests, Cardinal Filoni pointed out that both priests and religious men and women "are called to holiness, characterized above all by their deep and intimate relationship with Jesus". The priest must "love, think, act and serve as Jesus", and the religious are called to be "models of social transformation", with the rediscovery of the evangelical values witnessed in the world. "In a world in constant change and marked by many contradictions - the Cardinal warned -, in which the tendency is to exclude God from fundamental choices, it is very easy, even for priests and religious, to lose their identity. In fact, the evils that afflict today's globalized society ... do not spare the diocesan and religious clergy here in Angola, on the contrary, they threaten your Church or they already cause serious damage".
Therefore the Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery made three recommendations to improve the formation offered to young people: first of all to take care of discernment, since "the seminary or novitiate needs spiritual formators and fathers who are able to direct young people to discernment. In addition to the discernment of those in formation, there is also the discernment to exercise as formators in relation to the selection of candidates and their admission". Therefore community formation: since the Church is a communion of persons, as God is a communion of persons (Trinitarian), "community life during the formative years must have repercussions on every young person in formation, purifying his intentions and transforming his conduct".
Finally, missionary formation, which must lead young people to acquire a missionary spirit to share the joy of the Gospel, according to the vision of Pope Francis, who wants a Church that "goes forth": "We are not priests for ourselves, but for the mission . Mission is the goal and the horizon of formation". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 15/11/2018)