Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 11, 2002
Seminary team collaborates
Structured, caring process supports St. Joseph seminarians
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
St. Joseph Seminary formation team has undergone a revamp following Bishop Luc Bouchard's appointment to St. Paul Diocese.
Aside from Sulpician Provincial Father Lionel Gendron taking the rectorship temporarily, two Sulpicians joined the team at the beginning of the winter semester.
Father Shayne Craig, and Father Marco Antonio Forero became two of the six directors that help the rector in running the seminary.
This is the third time Craig has been part of life at St. Joseph. He attended the seminary from 1986 to 1991 and became a member of the formation team in 1996.
"It's like coming home again," the priest from Victoria Diocese told the WCR.
His assignment is to serve as leader of the intermediate group of seminarians. (The seminary has three groups of seminarians - beginners, intermediate and senior groups.)
This means he helps the seminarians "look at issues in formation and facilitates discussion and reflection in the group."
Craig also teaches a reading course in liturgical theology and expects his role will increase in the next school year when he becomes one of the seminarians spiritual directors. He has a licentiate in dogmatic theology from Gregorianum University in Rome.
"Spiritual direction, of course, is the heart of Sulpician formation in the discernment of God's call," said Craig.
Although the Victoria Diocese needs more priests, the clergy saw Craig's coming back to St. Joseph as a way of giving back to the seminary because they "believe the diocese has received so much from the seminary in terms of formation of priests over the years."
Craig said the approach in seminary formation has changed since his time as a seminarian. The variety of age range, background and experiences of the men coming to discern their vocation prompted these amendments.
"Such reality brings certain richness and different challenges, so the formation has to have a different approach," Craig explained.
During his time, the person responsible for their formation was mainly the rector. When the two Sulpicians came, a collaborative approach was adopted. A group of priests works together with other personnel together with Newman College.
Formation at the seminary involves different facets. Spirituality - the core - is completed by human, academic, pastoral and community life. Aside from spiritual directors and academic advisers, human and pastoral formation directors also guide the seminarians.
The pastoral year happens when a seminarian is sent to a parish to be with an experienced pastor who acts as his supervisor.
Seminarians are exposed to different pastoral settings and gain experiences they can reflect upon and use in their future ministry.
Sulpician Father David Brabant is the seminary's director for pastoral year. Brabant visits seminarians in their placements and talks and consults with the people working with the seminarians. As part of his ministry, Brabant facilitates the evaluation of seminarians' internship in the parish.
Sulpician Father Gerry Gaudrault and Father Paul Terrio are two of St.Joseph seminarians' spiritual directors.
In the technical sense, spiritual direction is that function of the sacred ministry by which the Church guides the faithful to the attainment of eternal happiness. In the seminary setting, spiritual direction is specifically designed to help seminarians discern their vocation through the help of a person with whom they can divulge absolutely everything.
The office of the spiritual directors is in the internal forum and enjoys confidentiality like the seal of confession. This means any information given to them by the directee cannot be used in evaluating the seminarians. So spiritual directors do not participate in the evaluation of seminarians they are directing.
Terrio is also the director of the philosophy department of the seminary.
Teaching moral theology at Newman College is another ministry of Gaudrault's.
Sister Frances MacDougall, a sister of Notre Dame, is St. Joseph's human formation director. At the beginning of the year, MacDougall helps each seminarian draw up a personal growth plan.
She also gives talks on a variety of topics such as transition, family system, boundary issues, celibacy, inclusive language, etiquette - things that relate to human formation.
MacDougall's background is spiritual direction and counselling. "This background helps me to see the importance of rootedness of spiritual life in healthy human formation."
Forero will also act as a spiritual director next year.
The head of the formation team is the rector, who oversees the whole seminary operation and reports directly to the bishops.