Running header: THE PRIESTLY FORMATION
Over the years, the Catholic Church has been consistent anddistinctive in the way it follows the Christian teachings. Inparticular, the selection of leaders such as the Pope, Bishops,priests and teachers have all gone according to some predeterminedregulations. Also, the theological education is without any doubtbased on the Holy Book, as United States Conference of CatholicBishops (2006) affirms, the Catholic Church highly values priestlyformation as it is directly connected to its mission, more so thehuman evangelism. Just as Jesus mandated his disciples to “Go,therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), so doesthe Catholic Church. This paper purposes to examine the reasons whymore good men would try to become priests especially at thesetroubled times and a look at what need to be added in the process andrequirements of priestly formation.
The priesthood has its basic foundation on the humanformation, where serving God brings a wholesomeness in Christianity.The formation of the priesthood is not similar to a secularorientation of education and employment training. The candidates haveto prioritize their corporation with the grace of God (USCCB, 2006). Paul marvels in 2 Corinthians 3:17, how the Holy Spirit changesChristians into the embodiment of Jesus, the image of God. A God’sminister has a human character, aping the way of Jesus Christ. Inhim, the priest has a good example of a fully developed humanity,actually free to dedicate himself for the salvation of the worldthrough Gospel teachings. Priesthood makes a man develop a solidmoral character of prudence, humility, patience, of communion andable to growth in practicing the Christian virtues. Additionally, itinstills the sense of living a simple life, observing body respect asfound in the education chastity.
Secondly, a good man has a reason to choose priesthoodlife to live in intimate and unceasing union with The Creator throughJesus in the Holy Spirit. This surety makes it a worthy cause, asbelievers always pray to develop a person relationship with God. Thegrowth of spirituality fostered through the Holy Eucharist, personalmeditation, reading the Bible, the Sacrament Penance, and Liturgy ofthe Hours (USCCB, 2006).
Thirdly, priesthood brings intellectual growth in theword of God. Spirituality opens vistas of understanding in thebeliever. USCCB (2006) argues that the formation of intellectualityis an essential demand of the intelligence of man. It makes aChristian participate in the light of God’s mind and expands wisdomwhich translates into knowing and adhering to God. All the doctrinestaught for intelligence formation serve to foster faith, loyalty, andauthenticity in teaching the Gospel.
The missing component of priestly formation
The Seminary system should be field oriented so as tokeep in touch with the ever-changing societal, cultural, andreligious realities. Isolating the priest candidates from the peopleand situation makes it difficult to justify its existence before God.The suggestions that training the priest based on their regionsshould be practical. Additionally, the training misses thecultivation of spirituality that humanizes. This has a mixture ofprayer and living. It is measured by the fruits of the Holy Spirit.Also, there is a lack of proper screening at the family level whenpicking the candidates. The values that the young man internalizedduring childhood are important in determining what priest he becomes.
Priesthood in the troubled times
God invites His priests from particular human and ecclesialsituations that affect them but are sent for the service of theGospel of Jesus. The troubled times sets a renewed sense of mission,a new evangelism in the Church. The problems are there to rekindlethe beginnings and allowing the priests the impetus of ardor of theapostolic preaching that came after the Pentecost.
In the U.S for instance, there is a weak ethical standard,an overriding secular ethos and the paradox of widespread hunger forspirituality (USCCB, 2006). Many citizens are not affiliated with anydenomination, yet open to evangelism. Therefore, more priests wouldbe vital in charging the wandering souls back to God through thepreaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The New International Version Bible
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2006), Program ofPriestly Formation (Fifth Edition), Retrieved fromhttp://www.stbasilseminary.com/wa_files/ProgramforPriestlyFormation-U_S_A_.pdf/Accessed on December 13, 2016