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Seminary Formators in Cameroon Undergoing Training to Weed Out “unsuitable candidates”

The Douala ecclesiastical province has established an ongoing training course for those working in the vocations apostolate and in the minor seminaries.

Priests in charge of formation in various Seminaries of Cameroon’s Douala Ecclesiastical Province are undergoing training to boost their skills in forming future Priests in the country.

The leadership of Catholic Pontifical Organization, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, which is supporting the capacity building initiative says that mistakes in selection and formation of young people into Priesthood have sometimes led to scandals in the vocation.

In the ACN report published Wednesday, April 7, officials of the Pontifical charity underscore the need to train formators who possess “great psychological sensitivity towards the seminarians.”

“Scandals in many different countries have demonstrated how disastrous it can be for the wrong kind of candidates to be admitted to the priesthood. Hence it is urgently necessary to make a very careful selection, which begins even before the young man has entered the seminary,” the leadership of ACN says.

According to the Pontifical Catholic organization, one of the most important factors in the work of formators in Seminaries is the discernment required for the selection of the right candidates. 

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The charity organization notes that it is essential for formators to form an accurate picture beforehand of the family situation of the candidates concerned, in order to discern whether there might be psychological or other problems in their early development. 

This, ACN leadership notes, requires investment of “a great deal of time and energy.”

“Those priests who are responsible for the formation of future generations of Priests have a great responsibility on their shoulders,” ACN has reported.

It adds in reference to formators, “For the sake of the young men under their care, they themselves must be living witnesses to Christ and to the Gospel. Yet at the same time they must be qualified to a high intellectual level and also be possessed of great psychological sensitivity towards the seminarians.”

In Africa, there are more and more broken families, the leadership of the charity foundation observes, adding that as a result of this brokenness, many young people suffer spiritual trauma from an early age. 

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In Seminaries, formators are presented with the challenge of caring for such Seminarians in such a way that they can still become strong and faithful Priests, “as is the task of weeding out the unsuitable candidates,” ACN leadership observes.

An additional challenge to Priesthood formation in Cameroon that the charity organization has found out is the fact that many young men who enter the Seminary have not had an ideal school education, thereby presenting educational deficiencies that have to be made up for. 

“Foundations must be laid for a strong spiritual development,” the leadership of ACN notes, adding, “For a priest who is not profoundly rooted in the relationship with Jesus Christ and able to live from it can never be a suitable shepherd for the people of God.”

To make up for the existing gaps, ACN leadership reports that the Douala Ecclesiastical Province, which comprises the Archdiocese of Douala and the Dioceses of Bafang, Bafoussam, Edéa, Eséka, and Nkongsamba, has established an ongoing training course for vocations promoters and those in the minor Seminaries.

The Ecclesiastical Province has established a two-year ongoing training course for vocations promoters and formators in the Minor seminaries, where young boys and youths study and complete their secondary education with a view to joining the Major Seminary.

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The Pontifical aid agency has announced a donation of 8,000 Euros towards the support of those responsible for the selection and formation of future Priests in the Cameroonian Ecclesiastical Province.