St. Victor’s Major Seminary is excited to announce the launch of its Maiden Theology Week celebration, which will be held from 27th – 30th March 2023. The week-long event will bring together students, faculty, and members of the community to reflect on the theme of ” For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”: A collective Mission of forming priests for the Church in the World today.
We are thrilled to have Very Rev. Dr. Dr. Camillo A. Bonsuuri as our Keynote speaker on the theme. Dr. Bonsuuri is a renowned pastor who has dedicated his life to studying and promoting the mission of the Church. His keynote address, titled “A Collective Mission of Forming Priests for the Church in the World Today,” will explore the challenges and opportunities facing the Church in the 21st century and how we can best equip our priests to meet these challenges.
In addition to Fr. Dr. Dr. Bonsuuri’s keynote address, Theology Week will feature a variety of other talks on various themes, including workshops, panel discussions, and student presentations. These events will provide opportunities for attendees to deepen their understanding of the theme of the week and engage in meaningful dialogue with one another.
We invite everyone to join us for Theology Week as we explore the importance of communion, participation, and mission in building a Synodal Church. Let us come together to reflect on our collective mission of forming priests for the Church in the world today and how we can best serve our communities and the wider world.
DAY ONE: Monday, March 27, 2023
Keynote Address – “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”: A collective Mission of forming priests for the Church in the World today. SPEAKER: VERY REV. DR. DR. CAMILLO A. BONSUURI Watch Live via Facebook
The Contributions and Impact of Small Christian Communities towards priestly formation and ministry in Ghana in the light of the Synodal Church. SPEAKER: MOST REV. VINCENT BOI-NAI ( Bishop Emeritus of Yendi Diocese) Watch Live via Facebook
Catholic Charismatic Renewal
We are ready to work with the Church.
Christian Mothers Association
Help Catholic who are in remote areas of our various dioceses.
Closing remarks by the Chairperson
I would like to reiterate that this program is very resourceful, I thank you for the opportunity. I would like to summarize my input in the following:
Firstly, the introduction of Philosophy week is crucial to the formation of our seminarians, as it will provide them with a deep understanding of the principles that underpin our faith.
Secondly, sending our seminarians to villages to learn about the realities of life for those in marginalized communities will not only help them to better understand the needs of the people they will serve, but also help them to develop the empathy and compassion that are essential qualities of a good priest.
Finally, we must recognize that boys are equally vulnerable and need our support to develop into strong and compassionate leaders of our faith. By providing them with the resources and support they need, we can ensure that our future priests are equipped to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.
DAY TWO: TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2023.
Chairman: Sir Knight Prof. Gabriel Teye (Immediate Past Vice Chancellor of UDS)
“We should be shepherds who are training to shepherd the flock of Christ”. We should not scatter the flock of Christ.
For a Synodal Church: Formation in response to the dwindling numbers in the Catholic Church in Ghana – The Laity’s Perspective. SPEAKER: LAWYER THADDEUS SORY (Managing Partner, Sory@Law)
- We are journeying together in the Synodal Spirit. The numeral strength of the Church is dwindling. Why so?
- 1. There is a decline in the Church itself. How dominant is the Church today? In years past, people congregated at mission houses and the Church for various reasons. We are no longer seen as the first group of people who must impact society. The church must come out with policies to reassert its dominance.
- 2. The quality of the Catholic Church. Jesus liked the quality. Jesus said, “on a day, they will say, I cast out demons in your name……. But he will say I don’t know you.”
- 3. There is a decline of spiritual nurturing. What does it mean to be a catholic?? We emphasize too much on knowledge of prayer, sacraments, doctrines and others, but what is the real meaning of them all? Is there something lacking in the Church? We must find ways of responding to the inner spiritual yearnings. We are fixed to static ways of doing things. We must be versatile like Jesus.
- 4. There is a lack of motivation in the Catholic to profess his faith. Priests in time past were hungry for souls. There is a lack of public display of Catholicism today. We don’t show love to one another, especially to the non communicants.
- 5. Lack of or slow dynamism in the Church.The Church develops too slowly than that of the world.
- 6. There must be a way to give practical solutions, especially in complicated marriage issues
- THE WAY FORWARD
- 1. We need a born-again Catholic. If we must reflect on the nature as Catholics, we must be born again. We must follow the life of Christ to the end. We must be able to say that we are incurably Catholics.
- 2. The Church itself must be born-again. How has the concept of Synodality impacted us as Africans? Watch Live via Facebook Video 1 Video 2
Empowering the future priests with the tools of Conflict Management and Peace Building for effective ministry in a Synodal Church. SPEAKER: REV. FR. LAZARUS ANNYEREH (Parish Priest, Martyrs of Uganda Parish, Bole)
Some seminarians and people have lost confidence in their priests due to conflicts they have had with them. Some of these conflicts have had disastrous consequences. Have we lost it all? Certainly not.
Conflict is natural and inevitable. It belongs to life. It can be constructive and not necessarily destructive. We need to disagree to agree. First of all, conflicts have roots. It is difficult to understand and confront it. When it takes a negative dimension, it becomes counterproductive. We have types of conflict: intrapersonal (which can lead to suicide), interpersonal (between individuals), intergroup conflict (especially among theologians and philosophers) and intragroup conflicts.
Conflicts in themselves are not bad, they are natural, normal and neutral. It is only unfortunate when it takes a violent dimension. In the context of Synodality, there are various causes of conflict. These include different values, suppression, mistrust, anger different leadership styles, socio-economic marginalization, academic arrogance, and many others.
There are many conflict management styles. Conflict is not addressed by suppression, force and compromise. Compromise can come back to play in the future. The best is the problem-solving approach: mediation and arbitration.
Conflicts are not static. It comes very gradually. People begin to withdraw and coil back in. In such cases, it is necessary to ask whether people are together. When crisis begins it is difficult to control. The tools for Peacebuilding are negotiation, mediation (a confidential conference), arbitration (an impartial tribunal) and reconciliation. Reconciliation has four pillars: truth, justice, mercy and peaceful environment. Seminarians, religious and priests should be accountable, transparent, open and trustworthy. A community that cannot undergo reconciliation is a dead one. How effective can we be if we fight each other? it is our moral obligation to secure our future and that of the unborn.
In conclusion, there cannot be Synodality without all-inclusiveness in the formation programme. However, the facilitatory role of formators is of vital importance.
Chairman’s Closing Remarks
The laity has different training and therefore can participate in the smooth running of parishes. We are not expanding Christianity, we are only sharing members among the various denominations. We should give room for people to express their gifts, and to explore the appropriate channels for their expression. We must speak the ‘language’ we all understand; the language of unity, understanding and love. If the clergy do things and do not want the laity to know about it, how will they understand when we present issues of financial concern for them to address. Hence, this Maiden Theology Week Celebration would help in that regard. Seminarians must rediscover the church in order to better serve her.
DAY THREE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2023
Chairman: Rev. Fr. Dr. Daniel Saaka Fuseini (Vice Rector – St. Victor’s Major Seminary, Tamale)
Theme: Re-imaging Seminary formation according to the Ratio Fundamentalis Nationalis in the light of the Synodal Church
SPEAKER: VERY REV. FR. MICHAEL BOAKYE YEBOAH (Vice Rector – St. Gregory the Great Seminary, Parkoso, Kumasi)
Fr. Michael became the co-chairman of the production of the first Ratio Nationalis Institutiones Sacerdotales for Ghana.
The keywords of the theme: communion, participation and mission are Missiological terms that also point to Vocational Accompaniment. firstly, No. 41 of Pastores Dabo Vobis stresses that all members of the church have the duty to guide and accompany vocations. We must think of all those those in the informal sector in guiding vocations. In talking about communion, participation and mission, how can we leave such people behind? Our vocation is not only geared towards the priesthood, it is geared towards holiness of life, to be a symbol of grace to the world. However, they are not to force us to embrace this vocation, they are to pray for us and encourage us. Hence, we would make a very big mistake if we leave them aside in Vocational Accompaniment.
In the Middle Ages there were two forms of Vocational Accompaniment: apprenticeship and cathedral schools. The former were guided towards the mission for villages. The Cathedral Schools were set up purposely to train bishops and popes. The most famous one is the now Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Because of this, many priests were ill-trained and this cost the Church, resulting in the Reformation of Martin Luther (1483-1546). The Council of Trent (1545-1563) led the reform of the clerical order in terms of morals and doctrine. The introduction of seminaries was suggested at Trent by Reginald Cardinal Pole (1500-1558). this was taken up seriously by St. Charles Borromeo, the Cardinal Archbishop at the time.
Even with all that, we still have priests who teach their own ideas, especially in the age of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. in this light Pope Leo XIII wrote Aeterni Patris in 1879 to streamline the clerical line of thought in the light of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hence, the best of the best priests are sent to be Formators in the seminary in line with Vatican II’s Optatam Totius, also in Pope St. John Paul II’s Pastores Dabo Vobis. These days some vocations directors do not do enough background checks on candidates before they are admitted to formation. Formators should not rest their hopes on the vocations directors, who sometimes do not know the seminarians very well.
The Ratio Nationalis in 6 major points:
- The national identity and background of seminarians in Ghana. A priest of a country should know what is happening in his country, especially the economic situation.
- The socio-cultural situation of the country or diocese. This involves the ability to adapt to the cultures we work with, especially the learning of a local language.
- Preservation of the Minor Seminaries. Minor Seminaries should preserve their identity of nurturing vocations.
- The Propaedeutic Stage. This stage in some parts of Ghana is divided into two years: one year of Post Senior High School in the Minor Seminary, and the Spiritual Year in the Major Seminary.
- The Philosophy Stage. This is the stage of grounding in reason and logic. This is to help to improve our thinking, but not to lose our Ghanaian values.
- The Theology stage. this is a stage of grounding in the truths of the Catholic faith and to help priests to be more committed and dedicated to the mind of the church
However, there should be ongoing formation for the clergy to be more faithful to their call to the ministerial priesthood and to handle it faithfully.
Theme: For a Synodal Church: Moral Agent of Evangelization in Ghana
SPEAKER: REV. FR. DR. ANTHONY NAAH (Chaplain – KNUST Chaplaincy)
“A little bit of fear is good for our souls”- Francis Cardinal Arinze.
Who is a moral agent? This is a human being with rational faculties and will, hence a free being. A person who is capable of free and voluntary actions. In the evaluation of a moral act, three things are considered: the intention, the object and the means to achieve the object. Typical of Africans and Ghanaians is the maxim ‘Ubuntu’. Good should flow naturally from us, but we should know that we are not the originators of virtue. There should be a yardstick of doing things in a cultural context where the collective is vital. We believe that there are certain actions that are objective.
We have the mission of transforming human beings and contexts in the right manner in the right direction and with the right. In the Ghanaian society we are becoming subjective, individualistic and materialistic. Hence, we must consider what goes into our formation, taking into consideration our cultural contexts, to better help us minister effectively. The priests are for the people of god and should serve everybody. We should be interested in every spirituality of the church.
These days, if Evangelizers are not firm, they may be changed by their environment rather than the vice versa. We must train and form our consciences, and not allow them to die. We need to be churchmen and women willing to sacrifice for our faith. The church is a communion that should shine in the world.
Some principles of the world:
- The end justifies the means.
- Pleasure is the ultimate goal
Moral dilemmas affecting us:
- Technology. It is good in areas of health, agriculture, artificial intelligence. The way it is handled can enslave us, which reaches its peak in liturgical celebrations. Technology is good, but it is creating addiction for us. “We must use liturgical books not liturgical gadgets”- Pope Benedict XVI.
- Organ donations.
- Birth control and advances in human molecular biology.
- Human sexuality. Sex is becoming fun, and many of us are becoming fun-seekers. Closely connected is the LGBTQI+ dilemma.
- Drunkenness and alcoholism.
- Power drunkenness.
- Money rituals.
- Materialism and consumerism.
Ours tomorrow is now! We must be grounded to make our future better. We are interested in saving souls, and so we must be sensitive to the needs of the church.
Chairman’s Closing Remarks
The priest has an identity as a steward of God’s people. A priest should have an active interest in his own salvation. We should not take our salvation for granted and become like mere functionaries. We must recreate this image.
It is also very important that we accompany one another. We are all responsible; no one should be left behind. As seminarians, we must go along with the seminary standards, in order to be well-formed for the future ministry. We must have a digital detox to help us detach from these gadgets that sometimes take priority over us.
DAY THREE: THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 2023
Chairman: Rev. Fr. Dr. Conrad Bayor (Formator and Lecturer of St. Victor’s Major Seminary, Tamale)
Theme: Self-Reliance and socio-economic development in priestly formation and ministry in Ghana. A practical Approach.
SPEAKER: DR. WILFRED AKAPANGA (Financial and Business Consultant)
Catholic priests are the most solid and well-formed religious leaders in Ghana, but when it comes to self-reliance issues, they often shy away. Hence it is important to discuss the issue of self-reliance. The need for this dimension of priestly formation is obvious and fundamental. Incorporating issues of self-reliance and socio-economic development in the formation of the priest is like putting oil in the lamps.
The priest must make self-reliance his target (George Kitoli). In order to be self-supporting, one has to think, to decide, to plan, to be confident, to act and to be responsible; not just to drift, postpone, hope and wish.
16 PRACTICAL STEPS TOWARDS SELF-RELIANCE AND SOCIO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1.Include entrepreneurship studies in the curricula of the seminary.
2.Re-engineer the mindset of the priest.
3.Make self-reliance your target.
4.Organize periodic business and socio-economic empowerment activities.
5. Reach out to parishioners in diaspora and develop them into unions.
6. See poverty as an opportunity.
7. Bond with your congregation.
8. Know your gift and make it practical.
9. Avoid conspicuous consumption.
10. Do not shy away from prosperity talk.
11. Beware that your congregation has alternative sources of information.
12. Nature and maintain productive human capital.
13. Be accountable and transparent.
14. Nature and maintain productive human capital.
15. Be intentional about the numbers.
16. Remember – ‘IT IS NOT EASY’.
Dean of Studies Closing Remarks
The Maiden Theology Week Celebration of St. Victor’s Major Seminary has been an great success