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Vatican hosts international conference on clerical formation

Pope Francis ordains 10 men to the priesthood May 7, 2017. (Daniel Ibanez/CNA)

The Vatican will host the international conference on priestly formation, the proceedings of which will take place from February 6 to 10 at the Auditorium Conciliazione, directly underneath Vatican News' headquarters in Rome, according to Vatican News.

The conference aims to study the ways priests are formed for ministry, titled "Rekindle the Gift of God That Is Within You." The Vatican's Dicasteries for the Clergy, Evangelization, and Eastern Churches are sponsoring the conference.

Nearly 1,000 individuals are expected, who will come from different countries:  Brazil (with the greatest number of representatives), followed by Mexico, Italy, Poland, and the Philippines.

Priests, consecrated individuals, and laity from Iceland, Burundi, El Salvador, China, Guatemala, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and over 60 other countries will also be present, according to the news.

Diocesan, regional, and national coordinators for priestly formation are not the only ones limited to the conference. Still, it extends to those interested in the field, as it intends to initiate a process of collaboration with local Churches around the world.

A survey sent to all Episcopal Conferences in recent months, as well as the contributions made by participants before and during the conference, will serve as the starting point for the conference.

"The Gift of the Priestly Vocation (Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis)," a foundational document on priestly formation from 2016, will be a key text in the conference.

The document offers updated instructions for the proper formation of seminarians, which all seminaries must adhere to.

The conference observes the Synodal methodology. The Synod on Synodality is a three-year process of listening and dialogue beginning with a solemn opening in Rome on October 9 and 10, 2021, with each individual diocese and church celebrating the following week on October 17. The synodal process will conclude in 2024.

Vatican News stated that for each theme to be addressed in a workshop-like approach, they will introduce it with two or three short presentations, followed by sharing good practices and engaging in discussions in smaller language groups.

The conference offers the paradigmatic experience of ongoing priestly formation, increasingly conducted in a participatory and synodal style, among others. (MTV)


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