Some Thoughts on the Future Formation of Priests
In recent months there has been a discussion on priestly formation. One of the suggestions put forward was that the basic locale for the process of priestly formation should be the parish rather than the seminary.1 It seems to me that the idea that students for the priesthood need real exposure to parish life is good. However, that does not mean that the whole formation process needs to be parish-based. I think the seminary still has a role to play.
I have some experience of the formation process, having received my own formation in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and having been a post-graduate student at the Pontifical Irish College, Rome. I also spent a number of years on the staff of St John’s College, Waterford, which gave me an experience of the process from the angle of those providing it. All of these experiences were positive. I do not claim to be an expert, but I have some ideas that I would like to share on the topic. I hope these may be a useful contribution to the present discussion.