“[Through study] the future priest assents to the word of God, grows in his spiritual life and prepares himself to fulfil his pastoral ministry” Pastores Dabo Vobis n.51
It is fitting that the seminary begin the academic year at the Catholic Institute of Sydney (CIS) with Mass on the 1st Sunday of Lent. CIS is the academic institution where most of the seminarians will study philosophy and theology throughout the year. This intellectual formation is one of the four areas of priestly formation. However, as Pastores Dabo Vobis emphasises, intellectual formation is not done in isolation from the seminarian’s spiritual, human, and pastoral formation. In fact, the intellectual is necessary for growth in the other areas.
Bishop Richard Umbers, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney and Deputy Chancellor of CIS, reiterated this in his homily when he said that “seminarians will draw upon everything that they have learned to be effective in their priestly ministry.” Reflecting on Jesus’ temptation in the desert, he explained the temptations that a future priest may face in “parish-land,” and the great need for priests to be looking after their spiritual, human, intellectual and pastoral formation together so that he can give himself fully in true service to the people of his parish.
Please pray for all seminarians and staff as we begin our studies for the year. May God give us the grace to grow closer to Him through these studies!