Friday, December 09, 2005

Major Seminaries
Optatam Totius 4 begins "Chapter 3" of the document, which deals with setting up major seminaries. Major seminaries are necessary for priestly formation. Here the entire training of the students should be oriented to the formation of true shepherds of souls after the model of our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher, priest and shepherd. Naturally, a list follows, a rather important three-fold focus of Scripture, liturgy, and pastoral ministry: 1. (Students) are therefore to be prepared for the ministry of the word: that they might understand ever more perfectly the revealed word of God; that, meditating on it they might possess it more firmly, and that they might express it in words and in example; 2. ... for the ministry of worship and of sanctification: that through their prayers and their carrying out of the sacred liturgical celebrations they might perfect the work of salvation through the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments; 3. ... for the ministry of the parish: that they might know how to make Christ present to men, Him who did not "come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45; cf. John 13:12-17), and that, having become the servants of all, they might win over all the more (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19). I like how carefully this is worded. It touches on the personal aspect for each priest in these three categories. That the Word informs one's good example, the connection of prayer and spirituality with worship, and the cultivation of a "servant" attitude. It links each of these in order with teaching, sanctifying, and serving. Especially notable is how Vatican II defines pastoral ministry; did you catch it? (H)ow to make Christ present to (people). Therefore, all the forms of training, spiritual, intellectual, disciplinary, are to be ordered with concerted effort towards this pastoral end, and to attain it all the administrators and teachers are to work zealously and harmoniously together, faithfully obedient to the authority of the bishop. And again, we see Vatican II's emphasis on teamwork: seminary administration and faculty with the bishop.

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