Distance learning doesn’t change formation of future priests — archbishop

Distance learning doesn’t change formation of future priests — archbishop

A seminarian and his family watch a Mass led by Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz on a computer inside their home in Roxas City Aug. 11.

By CBCP News

August 13, 2020

Roxas City

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing shifts in the usual conduct of seminary formation, Archbishop Jose Advincula Jr., of Capiz stressed that the goals of training future priests remains to the same.

Speaking during traditional “Holy Spirit Mass” on Tuesday to formally open the academic formation year of the Sancta Mater et Regina Seminarium (SMMRS), he reminded seminarians of the necessary dispositions in nurturing their potential vocations to the priesthood.

SMMRS, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Capiz, has adopted distant online and modular learning methods in keeping up with state protocols forcing seminarians to stay at home.

“The essence of your formation remains the same despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic,” Archbishop Advincula said, addressing seminarians through the online Mass from the seminary’s oratory.

“You are to be formed as integrated persons in view of the priesthood of Jesus Christ,” he pointed out, naming that such is the “goal” of seminary training.

Archbishop Advincula, a seasoned seminary formator himself before being elevated to the episcopacy, also reminded seminarians to maintain the appropriate conducts expected of young men in formation.

“You may not be in the seminary but always bear in mind that wherever you are, you are seminarians,” the prelate said.

“Please bring and live with this identity of being continuously formed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, the High Priest wherever you are,” he added.

Recognizing the tendency for seminarians to be distracted in the present set-up, the archbishop advised seminarians to seek for the Holy Spirit’s help to keep them focused.

“The Holy Spirit is and has always been your formator… We should always listen to him, for he speaks to us everyday,” he said.

“The Holy Spirit is that little voice that invites you to pray every day- to pray with your rosary and breviary. The Holy Spirit is that little voice that asks to stop playing Mobile Legends and attend to your online class, do your reading assignments or study. The Holy Spirit is that little voice that continues to invite you to the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Confession. The Holy Spirit is that little voice that invites you to shun mediocrity and to do your best,” he said.

Archbishop Advincula also exhorted parents and as well the rest of the Christian community, to play the role of formators in taking good care of future pastors.

“Let us always be mindful of our important and unique role in their formation,” he added. “Let us draw strength from the creative power of the Holy Spirit in forming future leaders of our Church.”