Formation for Priesthood
In 1992, Pope St John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Exhortation on the Formation of Priests – Pastores Dabo Vobis – which focused on four essential areas of priestly formation: human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral. These areas are developed during the Seminary course – the average length of time being six years – which includes a pastoral year in a Parish in the seminarian’s home Diocese in Year 4.
Seminaries do not do whatever they want as far as the six year formation course is concerned. Rather, all Seminaries are closely directed by the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, which has the responsibility of determining the overall formation requirements in Seminaries throughout the world. In 2016, the Congregation published the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis (The Fundamentals of Priestly Formation) with the more user-friendly title - The Gift of the Priestly Vocation. The Ratio requires that priestly formation is taken very seriously, as the Church has a duty to prepare its priests as best it can – and the People of God have a right to the best prepared priests possible (and priests who will then continue to be formed after ordination).
It is on Parish life, and on the service of the People of God, that all formation at Wonersh is focused. The seminarian is formed to acknowledge and to respect the priesthood of all the Baptised, while being aware of the distinct character of the ordained priesthood… and the gift of the priestly vocation with its call to service.