.- During a Mass celebrating the 80th anniversary of the St. Thomas Aquinas diocesan seminary, Bishop Mario del Valle Moronta Rodríguez of San Cristóbal, Venezuela, said the task of seminaries is to provide true formation for future priests. Cleary moved by the anniversary celebration, Bishop Moronta said, “The Lord has been great; He has looked upon us with love, on us who are here now and on those who came before us, weak earthen vessels yet strengthened by the action of his Spirit that has enabled us to carry out the mission of this seminary: providing formation for priests, helping young seminarians so that during their formation, they learn to be configured to Christ, the eternal and high Priest, on the day of their ordination.”
The bishop added, “The Seminary ought to be like the time Jesus lived with his closest disciples, whom He instructed and taught so that later they would become his Apostles and shepherds of the new Church.”
”This is what our beloved seminary has been and should continue to be: the place of grace where those who have been called to the priestly ministry receive formation, according to the norms of the Church,” Bishop Moronta said.
The mission of the seminary is to form priests, not “religious professionals,” he went on. “Priests should be the image of the Good Shepherd and should be capable of knowing and being known by their flocks and of giving their lives for their sheep. Priests should be direct witnesses of the Resurrection and their enthusiasm for following Jesus unconditionally should be contagious to others.”
He ended his homily entrusting “the protection of our seminary” to the Mother of God, “Mother of all priests,” and to the seminary’s patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, “that the light of wisdom, the commitment to the faith and the enthusiasm of the Spirit rein in our diocesan seminary.”