This has been a good year. During my pastoral formation I have been helping with a group of RCIA students. One day, when we where teaching about priests and how they help us as pastors, one person from the group asked me: What is the formation that you have in order to become a priest? This question is very common among people, but also quite difficult to answer with an adequate explanation. So I told him that I would answer him later. The next day, I went to look at the book of formation we have in the seminary to reflect and to prepare a response for him. Later, at the next gathering with the group I explained to him that the seminarians have four pillars of formation: spiritual, human, intellectual, & pastoral. I explained that each of them is very important in order to become a good priest.
In the book I found a passage that states “Spiritual Formation directs you in your sacramental participation in Christ, personal knowledge of Christ, and in embodying Christ’s love for others. Academic (Intellectual) Formation encourages you to become an open-minded person with a taste for learning, a desire for excellence, a sincere respect for truth and integrity in pursuing and communicating it, and a deep understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith. Character (Human) Formation assists you in becoming a generous man of service and communion for all people, a prudent man of solid moral character, an affectively mature person able to form mutually enriching friendships with men and women, one who exercises responsible stewardship of body, material possessions and the environment, and a man of integrity ready to assume public leadership roles. Finally, Pastoral Formation is that the whole training of the students should have as its object to make them true shepherds of souls after the example of our Lord Jesus.”
As seminarians we learn pastoral formation in many ways, one of them is to help with groups like RCIA. However, we have to prepare and grow in all four pillars of formation so that one day we can become true shepherds of people and servants of God.