"Be gentle towards your servants because Jesus was so gentle towards his disciples," said Felipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI).
The cardinal was addressing the participants of a refresher course on "Psycho-Spiritual Integration in Propaedeutic Formation”, for all India propaedeutic formators organized by the Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy, and Religious (VSCR) Commission at Shanti Sadan, CCBI Secretariat Extension, Benaulim, Goa, western India, on September 25.
The Archbishop of Goa and Daman emphasized the importance of synodal participation and the integral aspects of seminary formation like accompaniment, commitment, and pastoral sensitivity.
He reflected the gospel of Luke 24:13–35 as likening the formees to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who were emotionally disturbed, distressed, perplexed, annoyed, and troubled.
Jesus was so gentle in listening, which helped them get rid of all discomforts. The Emmaus disciples became relaxed and normal people, he said.
There are 16 participants from 14 regional diocesan propaedeutic formation houses, and Jesuit Father Jeyaraj of Andra Province is the resource person for the course.
Dr. Aleixo Menezes, the former Rector of Patriarchal Major Seminary, Goa, inaugurated the course, and he exhorted the participants to mold quality seminarians with rich human and intellectual dimensions, not excluding the spiritual dimension in any way.
“We need to accompany the seminarians while cautioning them ‘not to spoon-feed’ them, which would undermine their ability to be mature persons in the pastoral field,” he said.
The sessions are more interactive and based on a group work process for learning and sharing their concerns.
Father Charles Leon coordinates the whole program, and Father Duming Gonsalves and Holy Cross Father Arul Gali extend their guidance and support for the fruitful completion of the course.
The sharing of best practices in the different propaedeutic formation houses helps the participants set new directions for future planning. The refresher course will conclude with a pilgrimage to Old Goa on September 30.
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