MOSAIC Spring 2017 - Page 16

YOUR SEMINARIANS Stepping Out in Faith Field education gets students out of the “sanctuary” and into the “drama of the human condition.” Daniel Gallio T here is a common perception that life at a seminary is like living at a cloistered monastery. Think of the idyllic image of robed monks with head bowed in silent prayer, with Gregorian chant echoing through the halls. Of course, seminarians spend consider- able time each day in liturgical and person- al prayer. But Sacred Heart is a place of en- gagement and activity: the men participate in sporting competitions, stage theatrical performances, march in prolife demonstra- tions, make overseas pilgrimages, not to mention enjoy the lively give-and-take that goes on daily in the classroom. There are many opportunities for “pasto- ral” engagement, as well—learning to reach out with compassion and Christian hope to the greater community. One opportunity is through a new lineup of field instruction courses, designed to develop the pastoral di- mension of a seminarian’s priestly character. Theory into Practice Two years ago, Sacred Heart’s formation team, led by then-vice rector Bishop Gerard Battersby, revised the second year of the graduate-level Field Education curriculum by adding a course in the “New Evangeliza- tion.” The first-year program, in turn, be- came “Clinical” Field Education. The focus of the courses is practical: seminarians gain experience ministering in real-life settings, such as at a hospital, youth detention cen- ter, or college campus. The goal is to better 14 prepare seminarians to be effective lead- ers of their flocks and brave witnesses of Christ’s saving grace to the secular culture. “Part of the reason we want to train our men through courses such as Field Educa- tion,” explains new Vice Rector Fr. Stephen Burr, “is that we have in our culture those who do not know God or only have a periph- eral knowledge of God, those who are un- churched, those with no faith in Jesus. There needed to be an opportunity for seminarians to learn how to speak to all types of people.” “Students at Sacred Heart receive a lot of theoretical instruction about the Church’s teaching on the new evangelization,” says Fr. John Vandenakker, CC, who oversees the Field Education curriculum. “However, the goal of the field education course is to give students practical experience.” Where Catholics “Are At” They certainly get significant practical experience through the revised Field Edu- cation courses. During the fall term, for ex- ample, the men of Theology 1 are required to attend an Alpha parish renewal program (alphausa.org) held at a local parish. “The men attend in cognito,” Father Van- denakker says. That way, he explains, the Sacred Heart Major Seminary | Mosaic | Spring 2017 seminarians do not become the center of attention or perceived as representing “the Church,” which might suppress small-group discussion. Alpha’s fifteen weekly sessions present the essential gospel message to at- tendees so they may experience Christ in a deeper way. Parish members are encouraged to invite friends and family members who are distant from the practice of religion. “The benefits of seminarians attending an Alpha course are many,” Father Van- denakker says. “It allows them to see, as future pastors, what a parish-wide program of evangelization would look like.” Atten- dance at Alpha “puts a finger on the pulse of where Catholics ‘are at’ with the faith,” he explains. As such, seminarians begin to develop “pastoral wisdom.” “They see ɕٕͥ́)ٕ役ݡ́ѡɽ՝͕́)х݅䳊tѡȁYȁ̸ͅ)QЁՑ́5ѡ܁]Ȱ͕)啅ȁѡȁѡ͔]+q$չ͕݅эѡ͔)ݡѱȁѠɕЁ)ݡѡ䁍ձɽ́)ٕͼȁ́ѼI %Ѽ)ձ ѡt5ѡ܁ѕ̸q%)ձ݅́ɕɥt+q]Ё ձ$Aͥ=t)Qݼ͕ɥ́ɔ͕́ѕɹ)ѥٔѼѕѼݕ䁵)Ё]幔 չ)ٕѕѥ)ɽиQ́ݽɬɍ䁥́əɵ)չѥݥѠѡ=eѠ5)䁽ѡɍ͔ɽи+q%Ё́ݽɬمѥ)ɕЁ݅䳊tѡȁYȁ̸ͅQ)͕ɥ́əɴͥѕ)Ѽѡх̰)́ѡѕѡɽ՝ѕݥѠ)Ȱɽ̰ѥ+q Ёѡٕѕѥ)݅́ձЁȁ%Ёɕ䁍)Ѽٔ役ѡչɥ́䁍ɔ)ձ䁍ձѥمѕе齹t́ͅ) Ѥѡɐ啅ȁѡݥѠѡ) ́ ɥЁɕ́Դ)七q%ЁЁͼɕѡЁ$)ݽɕݡЁ$ձͥ䁽ȁѡ͔)́ݡ՝ͼՍ