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Posted November 9, 2006

Considerations for Seminary Educators

Bishop Kicanas
Origins Oct. 26, 2006. Vol. 36. Num. 20

“Introduce your seminarians to the global and local struggles that strain peoples’ lives. Give them a passion for the poor and a heart that aches in the face of pain,” Bishop Gerald Kicanus of Tucson, Ariz. said in a Sept. 28 speech to the National Catholic Educational Associatiion’s Seminary Convocation in Chicago. Kicanas, a former seminary rector, discussed experiences he has had “as a bishop in the last few years that I think have implications for seminary formation.” Seminary educators should help seminarians “know the important, irreplaceable role they play in the church,: but should “help them never to see themselves as the church or that they alone are responsible for the mission of Christ. They are to be co-workers with their bishop, with one another and with all those who minister in the church.” Kicanas said. He encouraged seminary educators to “find ways to energize your seminarians and excite them about handing on the faith,” and he added: “Convince them that just telling or lecturing or pounding information into people does not inspire and is not persuasive. . . . Steadfast, clear teaching is necessary but in itself is not sufficient to engage a generation that is not convinced.” The bishop said also that “one of the greatest challenges. . . . is to teach in a way that instills lifelong learning.”

Excerpts from Article:

“The love and acceptance of people from my first assignment . . . taught me much about what people want in a priests: not a self-centered, aloof authority but someone who steps into people’s lives, walks with them and teaches them about the Lord.”

“Help seminarians to know the important, irreplaceable role they play. . . . Help seminarians to embrace laity . . .as those eager to lend their gifts and talents to build up the church.”

“It is important that the priests you certify for ordination be firmly grounded in the faith . . . But challenge them not to be self-righteous, strident or lacking in civility.”