The Four Pillars of Priestly Formation are not just for seminarians!

Some weeks ago, when we visited the Vatican Office of the Congregation of the Clergy, Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patrón-Wong commended the ICTE priests for taking personal responsibility for their own on-going formation as priests. After all, he observed, only a very small part of our lives was spent in the seminary. Our most important formation doesn’t necessarily happen while one is in the seminary. More than likely, our most formative experiences happen after we are priests he observed. “We must never forget how important it is to continue formation throughout our lives,” he said. Indeed, our most recent sabbatical experiences have highlighted the four pillars of priestly formation: Intellectual, Spiritual, Human and Pastoral.

Intellectual Formation

Fr. Daniel Fitzpatrick (second from right) Rector of the Scots College presented on Biomedical Ethics.

Fr. Craig Morrison, O.Carm., Dean and Ordinary Professor at the Faculty of Ancient Near Eastern Studies of the Pontifical Biblical Institute presented on how to introduce Lectio Divina in a parish.

Continuing formation at ICTE offers the unique opportunity of learning at religious and cultural sites significant to our faith. ICTE participants recently had an enjoyable day at the Abbey of Farfa and learned a lot about Medieval Church History in the process.

At the Abbey of Farfa

Former Abbot of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Fr. Edmund Power, O.S.B. (center) talks to ICTE participants.

Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Spiritual Formation

An indispensable part of on-going formation as a priest, of course, is spiritual formation. We recently had an incredible pilgrimage to Subiaco, the monastery of Saint Benedict. It was a day full of prayer and fraternity in an amazing place.

ICTE Priests in front of Sacro Speco, the upper monastery at Subiaco,
Saint Benedict’s cave.

Abbey of Subiaco

Human Formation

Fr. Liem Nguyen is smiling because his brother-priests on Sabbatical treated him to a meal for his birthday.

It is an amazing thing about priests. Even though they often live alone while serving a parish, they alway remember how to live communally. At ICTE, as well as experiencing a different culture, participants most appreciate the opportunity for priestly fraternity, which is, itself, formative.

Priestly Fraternity

Pastoral Formation

Priests are always interested to experience parishes other than their own, especially on Sundays–though that it is a rare opportunity. We recently had a unique opportunity to experience another parish in a foreign country and in a UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site. The Pastor and people of the Parish of Sant’ Appolinare in Classe, Italy gave us a warm generous welcome and we experienced a vibrant faith community.