Monday, April 17, 2017

Formation Symposium Focuses on Communion and Church's Social Doctrine

Story by Phillip Shifflet and photos by Jesus Huerta

On Monday and Tuesday, March 13-14, 2017, Mount Angel Seminary hosted its annual formation symposium for faculty and seminarians. This year’s symposium focused on communion and global solidarity, an important principle in the Church’s social doctrine and a way of living the seminary's curricular focus on communion ecclesiology.

The seminary community was joined by Mikaele Sansone and Fr. Tom McQuaid, both of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS is the U.S. bishops’ official international humanitarian agency. Two years ago, Mount Angel Seminary formed a partnership with CRS, and this symposium is one of the fruits of that ongoing partnership.

Father Tom McQuaid speaks to the seminary community.

St. Paul illustrates the principle of solidarity well in his epistle to the church at Corinth when he writes, “If one member of Christ’s body suffers, all suffer. If one member is honored, all rejoice” (12:26).

Three workshops were held during the symposium, each of which engaged the issue of global solidarity in relation to all four pillars of seminary formation – spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral.

In addition to the presentations, faculty and seminarians had small group discussions during the two-day symposium, and they were encouraged to expand their own definition of solidarity, thinking of ways that they could put this issue into practice in their own lives and in the seminary. Seminarians also discussed practical ways that they live communion and global solidarity in the parishes they one day hope to serve as priests.

Formation and academic faculty discussing global solidarity.

Seminarian Benjamin Condon of the Diocese of Sacramento listens during a small group session.

Mount Angel Seminary began forming men for the priesthood in 1889 and is now the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States, and the only seminary in the West that offers both a college and a graduate school of theology.  Since its inception 128 years ago, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests, and many qualified religious and lay men and women as well, for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

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