ROME, Italy, June 29, 2019–Dozens of Filipino formators attended a week-long convention on the updated instrument for the formation of priests in Rome.
Organized by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, the conference on the “Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis was held at the Pontificio Collegio Spagnolo’s Casa San Juan de Ávila on June 20 to 28.
About 57 of the 97 delegates are from the Philippines, including six student-priests from the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome. Other delegates came from the United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, and Australia.
In his keynote address, Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong, Secretary for Seminaries of the said dicastery, stressed the urgency and importance of the “Ratio” and its connection to daily priestly witnessing.
Wong explained that formation does not end in the seminary but it is a life-long process. He said this was also the reason why the concern for seminary affairs from the Congregation for Catholic Education was transferred to the Congregation for the Clergy.
Aside from Wong, among the speakers were Fr. James Corkery, SJ, the celebrated Theology Professor of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Fr. Cairán O’Carrol, a Church Historian and Rector of the Pontifical Irish College; and Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, the well-known Papal Preacher;
Other resource persons include Fr. Gregory Ramón Gastón, the Rector of the Pontifical Filipino College, Fr. Stefano Bitassi, SJ of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Sr. Karolin Kuhn, SSND of the Institute of Psychology of the same university.
On June 26, the delegates were greeted by Pope Francis during the general audience at St. Peter’s Square.
The convention ended on Friday with a Holy Mass for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart presided over by Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
In his homily, the cardinal exhorted the participants, “The formator is required to have a special care for the seminarians entrusted to his care; he is asked to accompany them with the tenderness of the merciful Father…he must have the capacity to welcome the personal and vocational story of each of his children…to bring them out, like the Good Shepherd did to His flock, to open spaces of ecclesial life and mission.”
The new “Ratio” was promulgated in 2016 to give direction for the formation of future priests, preparing them to face the challenges of the contemporary time. It is the third version of the document since it first came out in 1970 and updated in 1985. (CBCPNews)