Lubango (Agenzia Fides) - On the morning of Thursday 15 November, during his pastoral visit in Angola for the 50th anniversary of the Episcopal Conference (see Fides, 9/11/2018), Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization of the Peoples, met the novices and their formators of the ecclesiastical Province of Lubango. After reiterating the great importance of this formative period that they are living, the Cardinal highlighted the commitment "not only to know the characteristic charism of one’s own religious family, but also and above all to intensely and lovingly live this charism".
Therefore Cardinal Filoni focused on some priority aspects of formation. "While I exhort you to renew the gift of God that is in you (2 Tim 1: 6) - he said - I recommend you to dedicate yourselves to your human and affective growth, becoming men and women of God of great morality, ready to live religious chastity as a total gift of oneself to God and to the Church". He then underlined the importance of community life, the privileged place of formation, in which "everyone learns to live in fraternity with the one whom God has placed beside him, accepting his positive characteristics together with his differences and limitations". Formation must lead to mission: "According to Pope Francis’ vision, which consists of an extroverted Church and active in various social and ecclesial fields, it is necessary to acquire a missionary spirit to share the joy of the Gospel". The disciple must be a missionary "in love with the Master" and deeply related to the people of God.
Lastly, addressing the novitiate formators of the various religious orders, the Cardinal reiterated that "formation is an important and delicate work that must be carried out with seriousness and responsibility" as it involves consequences for the future of the local and universal Church, as one can see from the problems currently affecting the Church: "The life of priests and religious needs a solid foundation based on human and spiritual maturity".
Among the tasks of the novitiate formators is to help young people discern, and to exercise it in the selection of candidates for religious orders or professions. For this reason formators must be "competent, endowed with good human, moral and spiritual qualities, they must be models for the young".
In the Seminary of Jau, Cardinal Filoni met with the seminarians of theology and philosophy of the dioceses that make up the Apostolic Prefecture of Lubango, on the afternoon of November 15th. The Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery brought the greetings and blessing of the Holy Father, exhorting the seminarians to respond "with generosity and fidelity" to the call of the Lord and to the expectations of the People of God, and to prepare for the mission "with a solid human, spiritual, theological and cultural formation, to be missionary disciples ever more passionate about Jesus and his mission".
In his speech the Cardinal indicated the person of Jesus Christ as a reference point for seminarians during these years of preparation for priesthood, and he outlined the profile of the priest who must be: authentic "missionary disciple", who does not seek comfort and luxury, who is not an "official of the sacred" or a clerical, but always "goes forth" in listening to Christ to bring the joy of the Gospel to the poor and to all those he meets. "Dear seminarians - Cardinal Filoni finally said - I conclude with this exhortation: be missionary disciples and do not be afraid to prepare yourselves to be priests as missionary disciples!" At the end of the day the Cardinal presided at the Eucharistic concelebration with the seminarians and their formators. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 16/11/2018)