“FORMATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD: URGENT NEED FOR ONGOING FORMATION FOR FORMATORS”
There has rightly been so much emphasis on formation to the priesthood. Whenever a priest performs his pastoral duties properly, the formators in the seminary are applauded. But when a priest fails in his pastoral ministry, formators in the seminary are queried for why they did not identify the flaw in the process of formation. Formators of candidates to the priesthood are very instrumental to healthiness of the faith of the people. How is it possible that a seminarian who was always faithful to the Church’s teaching in the seminary suddenly becomes a priest who is almost like a “soothsayer” in the name of prophecy? How is it possible that this priest no longer sees the need to observe the liturgical rubrics? From ‘alter Christus’ to an ecclesiastical entertainer. How is it possible that the priest trained to form others in the faith is almost becoming an instrument of “deformation” of the faith of others? There is a strong connection between the formation received and the life lived in the priesthood. The capacity of formators to accompany the candidates in the seminary in formation to develop a healthy personality and spirituality goes a long way to impact the quality of the life of the priest in ministry. Our research will attempt to examine the formation of those responsible for the formation of these candidates. If the formators must discern and help in the conscience formation of the candidates to the priesthood, the formators also must be engaged in on-going formation to keep abreast with the new challenges facing priests in pastoral ministry. What are some of the areas of on-going formation that may be helpful to formators to enhance their efficiency? This research will draw insights from magisterial documents and psychological findings on the need to form the formators. Failure to form the formators leads to deformation of the candidates for the priesthood.