Bigard Organizes Her 2018 Formation Weekend

In her enriching exhortations on the formation of the candidates to the priesthood, PASTORES DABO VOBIS divided the formation of the priests into two: The initial formation (formation before ordination) and ongoing formation (formation after ordination). In an honest obedience to this papal call of St. John-Paul II, the Bigard family organised her 2017/2018 formation weekend in which both the students (as part of the initial formation) and the staff (as part of the ongoing formation) participated actively. The all educative programme began on the night of Thursday, 19th April, 2018, and was completed in the morning of Saturday 21st April, 2018, featuring four conferences, all held at the Seminary Auditorium.

The theme of the year’s formation weekend was INTERNALIZATION OF VALUES, facilitated by Sr. Theresa Eke of Daughters of Charity Congregation. In his introduction of the facilitator, Monsignor Anthony Eze pointed the persistent need to discover and internalize the priestly vocational values which serves as a sine qua non to true practice of the priestly virtues. Introducing the theme, Sr. Theresa stated: “The priestly ministry being a tasking vocation with an avalanche of demands, needs an internalization of values of catholic priesthood so as to achieve the intention of the Mother Church”.

Sr. Theresa spoke of the importance of exposing one of the basic structures of man which is a hinge for the internalization of values. This she identified as NEEDS.

NEEDS: She gave a classical definition of needs as “tendencies to actions arising from a deficiency in an organism. Thus you have the need for water when thirsty and need for company when lonely”. She went further to explain that NEEDS can also be natural potentials in an individual which seek to be fulfilled or actualized. She equally identified some basic features of needs:

  • Needs are important aspects of ego. They form part of the structure of the human person and help to explain the “why” of human action.
  • Needs are only tendencies and are not enough to cause actions. E.g. sexual intercourse is a need which must not be satisfied.
  • Needs do not determine a specific behavior or indicate the direction that behavior should take.

Nature of needs: Sr. Theresa recognized that the basic orientation of needs is inborn but the individual learns ways of behaving and satisfying of these needs. These ways of behaving is what is called attitude. Needs can also be molded by situations (environment) and learning (experience).

Types of needs: Sr. Theresa masterly discussed different types of needs and their meanings.

Abasement: to admit inferiority and to become resigned to fate.

Acquisition: to accomplish things that are meaningful.

Affiliation: Friendly alliance.

Achievement: to succeed in something difficult.

Aggression: to revenge an injury.

Autonomy: to get free and direct one’s life activity.

Need for change: to avoid routine.

Censure: to avoid failure.

Domination: to influence or direct the behavior of others.

Exhibition: to make an impression.

Harm Avoidance: afraid of physical pains.

Knowledge: to satisfy curiosity.

Nurturance: giving sympathy and coming to help those who are fragile.

Succorance: to be loved or caressed.

Sexual gratification: using the other as a means of one’s own pleasure.

Submission: to follow others.

Order: to place and organize things in a meaningful way.

Play: to act fun without further purpose.

Recognition: need to be appreciated

Conscious needs: needs that we are aware of and that are prompting our actions

Unconscious needs: needs that prompt and control our actions of which we are not aware of.

Point of convergence between needs and internalization of values in priestly life: In order to bring a correlation between Needs and internalization of values, Sr. Theresa in her classical dexterity stated that “human beings are always in needs both positive and negative and these needs lead to action but not every need leads one to act. Hence it is through the internalization of values that one through the power of God’s grace chisels out and responds to only the needs that are consonant to the priestly vocation”. She further observed that among the NEEDS mentioned above some are consonant with (promote) priestly vocations, while some are dissonant with (hamper) the priestly vocation.

Internalization of Values: Sr. Theresa defined value as “an abstract and lasting (enduring) ideas which refers to either an ideal state of existence (end goals) or ideal ways of behaving”. Moreover, she went further to explain what internalization of values is as a process whereby an individual accepts values and attitudes and makes them his own. The motive for adhering to such values is in itself and not the social presence of compliance. She explains further that no external force is needed in living such values.

She went ahead to propose some factors that will be of help in internalization of values.

  • Human integration: this is an interplay of physical, social and spiritual values. This is fulfilled when one is not serving his own needs but the needs of the value he upholds.
  • Vocational consistency: in priestly vocation one is said to be consistent when the person’s needs, values and attitude are consistent. Simply put, it is consistency in living the vocational values.
  • Vocational effectiveness: projecting Christ in vocational journey and avoidance of self-praise.

In her concluding words Sr. Theresa Eke admonished all the seminarians to try and internalize the values of priesthood in order to be happy after ordination. In her words: “ a seminarian trying to internalize values will have to assume some responsibilities that shows that he is making effort to live a good value. When he makes the proposed value his own, then he acquires the ability to give his life a direction and carries out the task of his seminary formation with conviction. By doing this, the individual has the greater opportunity of not charting different part for himself after ordination, but will be able to transfer knowledge from seminary into the ministry in order to live a value-oriented life and so become effective in his ministry”.

There were quite a number of critical questions from both priests and seminarians present, to which Sr. Theresa tendered intelligent and professional answers. The weekend’s program was brought to a successful end after the session in the morning of Saturday, 21st April, 2018.

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