Continuing education for facilitators in the Seminary
Priests who are responsible for the formation of future generations of priests have a great responsibility on their shoulders. For the sake of the young men under their care, they themselves must be living witnesses to Christ and to the Gospel. Yet they must also be qualified to a high intellectual level and be in possession of tremendous sensitivity psychologically, for the seminarians they teach.
One of the most important factors in their work is the discernment required for the selection of the candidates. Scandals in many different countries have demonstrated how disastrous it can be for an inappropriate kind of candidate to be admitted to the priesthood. Therefore, it is urgent and necessary to proceed in making a very careful selection—this begins even before the young man has entered the seminary.
It is essential for their future educators to form an accurate picture beforehand of the family situation of the candidates concerned, in order to discern whether there might be psychological or other problems in their early development. This requires the investment of a great deal of time and energy. For example, in Africa, there are more and more broken families, resulting in many young people suffering spiritual trauma, even at a very early age. Caring for them in such a way that they can still become strong and faithful priests is an immense challenge; as is the task of weeding out unsuitable candidates.
An additional challenge is the fact that many young men who enter the seminary have received an incomplete education, and consequently there are educational deficiencies which also have to be compensated for. And last, but by no means least, the foundations must be laid for a strong spiritual development. In fact, for a priest who is not profoundly rooted in his relationship with Jesus Christ and able to live it himself, can never be a suitable shepherd for the people of God.
The priests responsible for the selection and formation of these future priests face major and ever-increasing challenges in their work, and so the Douala ecclesiastical province has established a two-year long, ongoing training course for those working in the area of the vocations apostolate and in the minor seminaries, where young boys and youth study and complete their secondary education with a view to possible entry into the major seminary; as well as educators working in the major seminaries.