A Critical Assessment of Ministerial Formation in Roman Catholic Seminaries in Nigeria in the Light of the Pastores Dabo Vobis: A Case Study of Claretian Institute, Owerri
Keywords:Ministry formation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, Spirituality, theological education, community.
AbstractSince the last few decades, spiritual formation has been receiving attention in theological education literature. An increasing number of theological educators have observed how easily this important objective of ministerial formation gets crowded out by the academic and ministry emphases. Others have called attention to the problem of fragmentation pointing to the need for integration in the work theological institutions do. Thus, it has become common to hear institutions boast of how integrated their programmes are and how much emphasis they place on spiritual formation. It is, however, not that common to see studies dedicated to finding out how these claims are actually realized in practice. The purpose of this paper is to assess to what extent Roman Catholic Seminaries in Nigeria comply with the emphasis in the Pastores Dabo Vobis (PDV) on spiritual formation. The PDV is the dominant Roman Catholic document on ministerial formation since Vatican II. The PDV has been influential in highlighting the importance of spiritual formation in theological education globally. The paper gives a brief overview of the PDV’s portrayal of ministerial formation and then examines one Roman Catholic Seminary in Nigeria (the Claretian Institute, Nekede, Owerri) to see to what extent spiritual formation is carried out amongst other objectives. The paper concludes with salient lessons other theological institutions can learn from Claretian Institute’s effort at provision of holistic and relevant theological preparation for ministers.
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