Take Advantage of “time of your formation”: Vatican Cardinal to South Sudanese Seminarians

Pietro Cardinal Parolin with Seminarians from St. Paul Major Seminary after the Mass in Juba. Credit: ACI Africa

On the last day of his official visit to South Sudan, the Vatican Secretary of State has urged Major Seminarians in the East-Central African nation to take advantage of their years of Seminary formation. 

In his homily during Holy Mass at St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Juba Friday, July 8, Pietro Cardinal Parolin called on Major Seminarians in South Sudan to strive toward integral formation.

“This is the time of your formation; take advantage of this time,” Cardinal Parolin said.

He emphasized the need to take seriously years in Seminary formation, saying, “This is my suggestion, it’s my advice; it is my counsel to you. Take advantage of this time of your formation because it will not come back.”

“We speak today about the ongoing formation meaning that the Priests should continue with this formation otherwise they will not be able to perform their tasks ethically,” the Vatican Secretary of State further said.


He urged the Major Seminarians in South Sudan to remain focused in order to be formed in various dimensions.

“The profit of this time is to be formed in the human dimension, spiritual dimension, pastoral dimension, and academic dimension,” the Cardinal who arrived in the country Tuesday, July 5 said, and added, All these dimensions should be unified into one dimension which is to become a good shepherd to confirm ourselves in the heart of Jesus Christ.” 

Becoming good shepherds, he said, “is the aim of the formation and it’s the way how to unify our formation around one principle: to become the image of Jesus Christ and the good shepherd of his flock.” 

“You must be seen by your people in whatever ministry you will engage in, like Christ and a good shepherd,” the 66-year-old Cardinal told Major Seminarians in South Sudan. 

The Vatican official said, The Holy Father is always speaking about the importance and the necessity to be very close to our people to share their lives and comply with the mission entrusted to them.”

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“Our formation of the Seminarians must be focused on how to be ready and accept that we are going to a world that is not ready and willing to accept the word of our Lord,Cardinal Parolin said, and urged the Major Seminarians to “be ready to accept all the sacrifice which is linked to this reality.”

We are not looking for a good life because if we are looking for a good life meaning we are not in the right direction,” he said, and cautioned against the temptation to be lured by churches “preaching the theology of prosperity”.

“We know that Jesus promised us suffering. Today there are churches preaching the theology of prosperity – if you are Christian and disciple you will get everything like a good life, good car, and money,” Cardinal Parolin said.

He added, I know you are living with a lot of hardship in this Church because the life of Priests and Bishops is not easy in this country but we have to look for some elementary conditions of life, especially for your people.”

“Do your best to be a very good family, disciples of Christ because from you the new pastors, Priests, and Bishops will come to edify our Holy Catholic Church,” he further said during the July 8 Eucharistic celebration with Seminarians at St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Juba.


On the last day of his visit to South Sudan, the Vatican Secretary of State blessed the foundation stone of the new Apostolic Nunciature in Juba.

Cardinal Parolin also visited the Catholic University of South Sudan (CUofSS) as well as the Usratuna rehabilitation center in Juba, a place where people belonging to different religions collaborate for the integration of disabled children and the training of their families.

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.