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PROGRAMME  OF  FORMATION  -  CURRICULUM

   The Formation that is given to our students is very much holistic and best analyzed as physical, human intellectual, pastoral and spiritual as expressed, especially by the Church Documents on Priestly Trainning, Optatam Totius and Pastores Dabo Vobis
The wholistic priestly formation of Seminary of All Saints has an academic content which are in three phases and that lasts for eight years.  The First Phase is Philosophicum and it lasts for four years.  The Second Phase, which is Pastoral.  One Year and the Third Phase, which is Theologicum of three Years, make it Four Years of Theology after Philosophy. 

It is necessary to describe our Academic Formation Programme as Integral.   This is because the Philosophicum is broadly based:  it consists of humanistic, natural and social sciences as well as linguistic disciplines.  The greatest feature of this system is that Theological elective courses are taken concomitantly with Philosophical courses and particularly in the fourth and Final Year of the Philosophical Programme.  In fact, the fourth Year when examined closely is seen as a Confluence Year when both Philosophical and Theological courses meet and discuss harmoniously.  The Fourth Year is both the End of the Philosophicum and the Beginning of the Theologicum, especially as there are courses on Theological Method, Basic Elements of Christian Theology, Catholic Social Doctrines, Missiology, Theology of Orders, Christine Religious Education, Theology of Liturgy, Issues In Contemporary Nigeria Church and Sacramental Theology. etc.  In fact, by the time that Philosophicum is ended the student would have obtained Credit/Units that amount to one year of Theology.  This makes Theological Studies Four Full Year and fulfils the Academic Requirements for Ordination and Final Exams of the B.Th. Degree.

The Pastoral Year is the fifth Year of formation.  It is practical in content and it is the year that the student begins to see the priestly life and realities concretely.  It is an effective year of decision to be or not to be a priest!  Theoretically, also, we call it the first year of Theology as it were.  If the student returns to the Seminary after the Pastoral Year, it is believed, and at least, up to a certain degree, that he really wants to be a priest.
From the following, the Theologicum of three years is the third and final phase of our Formation.  It consist of purely theological courses.  The focus is strictly on the Priesthoods and nothing more and trains the student ad altare Dei.

Human Formation

     As expressed in Pastores Dabo Vobis, “The whole work of priestly formation would be deprived of its necessary foundation if it lacked a suitable human formation.” (no. 43)  This human aspect provides the basis and ground for all the other dimensions of formation.  It is an essential dimension, for it is precisely the human which is transformed by grace and brought into the fullness of life in the Trinity.  It is our human nature which is sanctified by the very fact that the Son of God himself chose to share it with us.  Far from understanding a priestly vocation as a suspension or denial of our humanness, or as some form of aloofness from or superiority over the rest of men, the Council Fathers had already noted in Presbyterorum Ordinis: “Priests, while being taken from among men and appointed for men in the things that appertain to God that they may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, live with the rest of men as with brothers[...].  They are set apart in the midst of the People of God, but this is not in order that they be separated from that people or from any man, but that they should be completely consecrated to the task for which God chooses them[...].  They would be powerless to serve men if they remained aloof from their life and circumstances.  Their very ministry makes a special claim on them not to conform themselves to this world; still it requires at the same time that they should live among men in this world.” (no. 3) 
Maturity in human formation entails a two-fold demand; namely increasing knowledge of oneself in all his humanness as a creature with particular strengths and weakness and also understanding this within the framework of the relationships which form the context of the priest’s life.  As the priest grows both in his knowledge of himself and in his relationships with others, he will be more deeply formed into his priesthood.  For the priest, the process of coming to know himself is in many ways one with the process of knowing others.  There is need therefore to keenly tend to an effective program of human formation for the more effectively priests live a mature human life, the more fully enriched will be their pastoral ministry to God’s people.  Precisely, human formation involves: Discipline of life, asceticism, silence, manual work, sports, education in a sense of responsibility and forms of co-responsibility, formation in affective maturity, of conscience and judgment.  

Spiritual Formation

     The spiritual life component enjoys priority in the total formation process of the seminarian.  It has as its goal the seminarian’s continual growth in his personal relationship with Christ and his commitment to the Church and his vocation.  Spiritual formation sets the foundation for the attitudes habits and practices of the spiritual life in a lifetime of priestly ministry especially as regards priestly celibacy.
The Spiritual Director gives a weekly conference on subjects pertinent to the spiritual life, the virtues, the means toward spiritual maturity and different aspect of priesthood.  The Director of Spiritual Formation is available to all seminarians and concerns himself with the spiritual welfare of each seminarian.  Every seminarian is also required to meet at least monthly for spiritual direction with a priest approved for this ministry by the Rector, who guides him, helps him establish sound habits of personal prayer, and play a key part in vocational discernment.
The daily Seminary schedule includes community Eucharist, praying of the Rosary, holy hour of adoration and the communal recitation of Morning, Midday and Evening prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours.  In addition, the Seminarian is encouraged to avail himself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation through regular confession, which is available weekly.  Both internal and external confessors are always available to the seminarians on a daily basis.  Special penitential services are also held each month and the annual Seminary Retreat provides a concentrated period of time for the seminarian to reflect on his Spiritual life.
It is a tradition of the Seminary to hold in the highest esteem the devotion to the Mother of God.  This is part of the Seminarian’s spiritual growth.  The communal and private recitation of the Rosary, the Legion of Mary and the Blue Army Presidium foster this devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Intellectual Formation

    The aim of the intellectual formation programme is an understanding of the faith professed by the candidate.  The programme is based principally on the study of Philosophy and Theology.  The study of Philosophy leads the seminarians to a deeper understanding and interpretation of the individual and his freedom and his relationship with the world and with God.  Theological study in turn leads the seminarian to a complete and unified vision of the truths, which God has revealed in Jesus Christ and of the Church’s experience of faith.

Pastoral Formation

    Seminarians are introduced to the apostolic life by hands on experience is such areas as parish and campus ministry, counseling, parish religious education, diocesan tribunals and vocation offices, hospital ministry, social ministry to the poor and the disadvantaged, ministry to those in prison and correctional institutions and ministry to the elderly.  In addition some seminarian work with secondary school children.
On site supervision and evaluation is complimented by regular small group theological reflection at the Seminary.  In addition to fieldwork, classes and workshops regularly emphasize the practical, pastoral and priestly dimension of the study of theology.  Practical field education and theological reflection are an integral part of the requirements for ordination.

   The pastoral formation programme puts the seminarian’s commitment to a realistic test.  Through field experiences, the seminarian better understands the apostolate and is prepared to make a more mature commitment to the priesthood of Christ.  It helps develop a sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of people and exposes the candidate for priesthood to different ways of life and the circumstances and problems peculiar to each.  He also experiences working within the structures of the Church, in which there is a hierarchy of mission and authority.

 
   

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