MANILA, June 8, 2013—Some 24 diocesan seminarians from 15 dioceses of the Philippines and China participated in a seminar on New Evangelization organized by the Theological Centrum in Latag Study Camp in Lipa City last May 20 to 23.
The seminar discussed topics on the formation of seminarians and the contextualized challenge for seminarians as evangelizers, well-timed for the observance of the Year of Faith.
Resource speakers and guests during the seminar include Archbishop emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Rev. Msgr. Carlos V.G. Estrada, Ph.D., some priests from the Prelature of Opus Dei and members of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.
The speakers emphasized the significance of studies, interior life and human and Christian relationships in the life of priests in-process.
Cardinal Rosales said that seminarians must give emphasis to all aspects of formation but reminded them that the best place for formation is where God is.
Faithful to the teachings of St. Josemaría Escrivá, Fr. Jimmy L. Liao, Executive Director of Theological Centrum, mentioned at the start of the seminar that, “work is an activity where God is.”
In addition Fr. Russell Bantiles of the Archdiocese of Davao stated that “work makes us more of a human being.”
Msgr. Alfredo Madlangbayan, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lipa, also challenged the seminarians to reflect on how they can sanctify their work, how their work can make them holy and how they and their work can make others and others’ work sacred.
Participants were later asked how to walk their talk or how can they translate their seminary life into apostolate or work in the ministry, timely to Pope Francis’ call to seek out those who needed help the most.
Speakers also stressed on seminarians not to think and act as if they can change the whole world but rather simply live the life that Jesus lived. That way, they were told, Jesus and His message of love can be shared with others, given the fact that we as a Church are not merely following a set of rules or doctrines but a person.
Seminarians found the instruction as quite practical since they were reminded that each one must reach out to the many Catholics whose faith knowledge and practice have eroded. All these must be done by appealing to the reason of the people, they were told.
Participants were also reminded that they are not the same, but they are not different. It means that each seminarian has different personalities with different capabilities and apostolate but they share one thing in common, one spirit, and one mission, to love and serve the Lord.
Cardinal Rosales and other speakers also stressed on the seminarians to become professional and full-time Christians even in simple ways. Simple as they may seem, still they are expressions to achieve holiness especially when they are done with charity.
Seminarians were asked to become the living testimony of the faith they profess by striving to become holy in simple ways, by reaching out to others and through fidelity to prayer.
Themed “The Seminarian and New Evangelization”, the four-day seminar was spent in the climate of prayers, conferences, talks, pilgrimage cum excursion and sports.
The Seminar for Seminarians is an ongoing program of Theological Centrum for diocesan seminarians. (Sem. Khervin B. Domingo)