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Philippine priests need improved formation

CEBU CITY (UCAN): Beniamino Cardinal Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, said priests should “undertake, in a unique way, ongoing human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation” in his message to four-day National Conference of Seminary Formators on the Promotion of the New Ratio held in Cebu City, the Philippines, at the end of January.
The cardinal said Filipino priests need to discover wider horizons in their evangelisation work.
At least 400 seminary formators and rectors attended the meeting at which they discussed the implementation of new guidelines for priests issued by the Vatican in 2016.
The meeting was part of the observance of the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.
Cardinal Stella said priests will also benefit attending courses “on the practice of priestly formation” that are often held in Rome.
“They will help them … to deepen their own vocation,” he said, adding that priests will acquire “better formational skills and educational methods” to help young people.
The cardinal said priests are ideal guides for young people discerning their vocation, for seminarians, and even to “accompany their fellow priests.”
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, head of the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the meeting also drafted updated standards for the formation of future priests.
“As disciples of the Lord, we never stop learning. We should nurture and maximize the gift of priestly vocation,” the bishop said.
At the Plenary Assembly of CBCP on January 27, Archbishop Caccia, papal nuncio to the Philippines, urged the 85 bishops gathered to provide seminaries with the best formators.
“All our efforts in the formation in faith will ensure good results not only for the seminarians themselves but for the Church at large,” he said.
“It is good to stress the necessity of the ongoing formation and renewal for all priests, including bishops,” he said, adding that the Year of the Clergy in the Philippines “presents us an occasion for the renewal of our life and ministry.”

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