‘It’s logical,’ bishop says on women’s role in seminary formation

‘It’s logical,’ bishop says on women’s role in seminary formation

By CBCP News

May 16, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Philippine Catholic bishop has echoed a Vatican official’s call for more women involvement in priestly formation in seminaries.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said that having more women on seminarian formation team has always been “necessary”.

“For me it is most logical and important for a more integral human formation,” said Alminaza, who formerly chaired the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries (ECS).

A former formator himself for nearly two decades, he said the practice of having women and laypeople in seminaries has been done in dioceses that he served.

Alminaza served as seminary formator in the Diocese of Bacolod for 13 years and in the Jaro archdiocese for five years.

“I had couples (husband and wife) serving as lay companions of seminarians in college seminary, as professors and counselors, and as facilitators in our human formation programs,” he said.

When he was head of the ECS, Alminaza also sent some women counselors in Jaro’s regional seminary to join the Assisted Intense Renewal for Seminary Formators.

“Here in San Carlos, we now have a woman belonging to a secular institute who had prior training in this field as in charge of our human formation program,” he said.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, earlier said that the Church needs more women involved directly in priestly formation in seminaries.

In an interview with the Vatican’s women’s magazine, Ouellet believes that “the experience of collaborating with women on an equal level helps the candidate [for priesthood] to envisage his future ministry and how he will respect and collaborate with them.”

Fr. Gregory Gaston, Rector at the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome, also stressed the important role women play in seminary formation.

He said that Jesus himself, “the high priest and our model”, involved women in his work.

“So I think this has to be present in the priestly formation in the seminaries with this idea that women are not only our collaborators but we can also learn a lot from them,” Gaston told EWTN News on May 13.

He said that women should not just be treated as an “additional” but are vital to seminary formation “because of the complimentary roles and characteristics of men and women”.