The post-synodal apostolic exhortation PASTORES DABO VOBIS (PDV) echoes the importance of continuing formation or renewal of the clergy. In chapter VI, it says “…ongoing formation is an intrinsic requirement of the gift and sacramental ministry received; and it proves necessary in every age. It is particularly urgent today, not only because of rapid changes in social and cultural conditions of individuals and peoples among whom priestly ministry is exercised, but also because of that ‘new evangelization’ which constitutes the essential and pressing task of the church at the end of the Second Millenium.” Furthermore, PDV, #17 states that the aim of the ongoing formation “cannot be the inculcation of a purely ‘professional’ approach which could be acquired by learning a few new pastoral techniques. Instead its aim must be of promoting a general and integral process of constant growth, deepening each of the aspects of formation – human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral – as well as ensuring their active and harmonious integration.
It is in this spirit of PDV that this program was conceptualized to be a live-in experience. As such, it is hoped that the deepening of all aspects of renewal that is necessary for the whole process would be achieved.
3. Descriptions of the 5 Components
A. COMMUNITY BUILDING (FIRST WEEK)
The whole process of renewal is community building. Thus, the first week is devoted specifically to make the participants become aware of the need for a community among themselves in order to arrive at the fruitfulness of the whole process. “The community of believers was of one heart and one mind…everything was held in common.” (Acts 2, 32)
To facilitate this objective, human relations training on self-discovery, stress and conflict management, effective communication skills, problem solving and teamwork among others are made part of the module.
To highlight the experience of the week, a more dynamic and creative liturgy is hoped to evolve and shall overflow during the whole experience of renewal. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instructions and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and prayers.” (Acts 2, 42)
B. HUMAN FORMATION (SECOND WEEK)
The second week continues what the first week has begun, that is for the participants to look into the humility of Jesus vis-à-vis one’s own humanity. This week, therefore, deepens the discussion and processing on human formation and dynamics with emphasis on issues and concerns about the priest being first and foremost a person, a human being. Topics on human development, affectivity, intimacy and sexuality, among others, are given the focus.
Furthermore, this week provides the participants with psycho-spiritual paradigms and development models to help them make sense of their experiences up to this point of their life.
C. CHRISTOLOGY (THIRD WEEK)
“With the sacramental outpouring of the Holy Spirit who consecrates and sends forth, the priest is configured to the likeness of Jesus Christ…In this bond between the Lord Jesus and the priest…is the foundation and likewise the power…to which every priest is called today and which is fostered by ongoing formation in its spiritual aspect.” (PDV #70, #72)
D. ECCLESIOLOGY (FOURTH WEEK)
“The priest should grow in awareness of the deep communion uniting him to the People of God: he is not only ‘in the forefront’ of the Church, but above all ‘in’ the church.” (PDV #74)
The church takes the focus during this fourth week of the renewal program. The participants are now challenged to broaden their visions as Servant-Leaders within the Church as viewed from the perspective of current church teaching and documents like PCP-II.
E. INTEGRATION (FIFTH WEEK)
The fifth and final week of the renewal program aims to synthesize and integrate the whole process by giving the participants the basic principles in pastoral leadership and management in ministry as they are about to go back to their respective ministries. They are also given the moments of prayer and solitude in a holy retreat as they continue their journey into a more faithful response to the life and ministry for which the Lord called them to. Some final activities for meaningful reaching out and brotherly support for one another are undertaken in the form of re-entry and planning for concrete follow-up.