Lyon (Agenzia Fides) - " The work of evangelization cannot be carried out effectively without the help of priests, men and women religious, totally consecrated to this task. How to find these Priests, Men and Women Religious if the Church does not take care of their formation? How can it take care of their formation if the Society of St. Peter the Apostle fails to fulfill its role? How can this Society carry out its role without the contribution of all the faithful? How can the faithful support this Society if they do not know it?" These are some of the questions that Fr. Guy Bognon, PSS, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle (POSPA) posed in his annual report at the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies, currently being held in Lyon (see Fides, 13/5/2022 ).
"In the year 2021, with the decrease in collections caused by the world pandemic - highlighted Fr. Bognon - POSPA reserved to Seminaries most of the subsidies granted, to enable these institutions to survive and continue to guarantee native priests their mission of formation. Indeed, without these ordinary subsidies, many Seminaries would have been forced to close their doors". During the 2021-2021 academic year, POSPA sent Ordinary Subsidies to 431 Minor Seminaries, for a total of 45.815 Minor Seminarians, for which a total sum of 3.257.346,50 USD was used.
According to the testimonies of the Rectors, these Minor Seminaries are still today the main source of entry of candidates in the Propaedeutic Seminaries and Major Seminaries and even in Novitiates of religious life, highlighted Fr. Bognon.
POSPA also sent ordinary subsidies in the amount of $ 1,472,888.40 to 120 Propaedeutic Seminaries, for a total of 5,596 Seminarians. Finally, 220 major seminaries, which constitute the final stages of formation to the priesthood, received ordinary grants in the amount of 10,829,880.00 USD for 23,071 seminarians. The Secretary General pointed out that last year POSPA also received requests for subsidies for 4,500 female novices and 2,391 male novices, which it was unable to fulfill due to lack of funds. "Far from decreasing them, the Covid pandemic has rather increased the requests for extraordinary subsidies in favor of infrastructure and equipment construction projects for the proper functioning of the Seminaries. As the revenues did not match the demands, these projects were taken much less into consideration", explained Fr. Bognon, highlighting the decision to "favor the urgent before the useful, that is, to finance the Ordinary Subsidies that allow Seminaries first of all to survive in order to continue their mission".
In his annual report, the Secretary General also focused on the other aspects of POSPA's activity: the formation of formators, scholarships for diocesan priests (171) and to members of indigenous religious congregations (14), assignment of Mass intentions made available by some national Directions to Seminary formators. After some considerations on the budget and information on the work of the Society, Fr. Guy Bognon concluded his report by renewing his gratitude to all the National Directions of the Pontifical Mission Societies "who dedicate themselves to all kinds of initiatives and activities so that the mission of Formation of Native Priests and the PMS in general are known and supported". He therefore encouraged and invited to pray for those who encounter difficulties in their mission. "Blessed Pauline Jaricot and all the missionary saints are at our side for the triumph of the mission to the glory of the Risen Christ". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2022)