Rethinking the priestly formation of St. John Vianney Seminary: A critical practical theological analysis

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Mokone, Puseletso Clementina
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University of the Free State
St John Vianney Seminary was established in response to the requirements made by Pope Benedict XV in 1919 to have indigenous priests trained and formed in their own countries. He emphasised that European missionaries train and value indigenous clergy so that one day they can be able to take spiritual leadership of their people. However, in South Africa, the apartheid laws brought in racial formation. This is why St John Vianney Seminary initially was established for white priest candidates only. But later on, when the political climate was conducive, in 1978, it merged with St Peter's Seminary, which had been for black candidates only. In its history, St John Vianney shared the sufferings, struggles, and liberation of South Africans. Since democracy in 1994, formators and seminarians have dominantly been black, and this has encouraged and enriched Inculturation. The encouragement of Pope Benedict XV, therefore, has borne fruit because today African priests get adequate faith formation to be missionaries of accepted quality. To enrich their pastoral ministry in taking the laity seriously in the Church, recent priestly formation documents encourage the holistic integrated priestly formation aimed at empowering priests for the fulfilment of their mandate in the mission of the Church and formation of the laity. The findings of this study revealed a gap between formation of parishioners, priests, and formators, implementation, and involvement in the mission of the Church in South Africa. In their position within the structure of the Church, participants were asked to define their call as parishioners, priests, and formators to locate their role in the mission of God and the mission of the Church. Participants provided suggestions to be considered for change in priestly formation to enable priests to fulfil their mission and ministry efficiently in the multicultural democratic South African society. For the Church to be relevant and practical in society, all her members are called to participate in her mission. Priests are responsible to see this realised and the mission of the Church accomplished.
Thesis (Ph.D. (Practical and Missional Theology))--University of the Free State, 2022
Vocation, Roman Catholic Church, role of the church, curriculum, rethinking priestly formation, laity formation, St John Vianney, missionary discipleship, missio Dei, missio Ecclesia