Fr. Mark Payton shares his experiences at the Formators' Conference in Rome.
I recently spent a month in Rome at a Formators' conference organised by the Legionaries of Christ. This conference focused on the Church document “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation” by the congregation for the clergy. The course included around 70 priests, involved in formation, from around the world. The course began with a week long retreat on the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius. This was a wonderful way to begin the conference as it prepared us spiritually and bonded us as a group. The academic side of the conference covered a variety of topics including: the identity and spirituality of the diocesan priest, formation challenges, spiritual accompaniment, discernment, integral parts of formation, human maturity and psychology, and many other topics. We also had some excursions, visiting the Vatican museum, the Basilicas of St Peter and St Paul’s Outside the Wall, the catacombs and Assisi.
I found the conference to be personally fulfilling. As we discussed topics about formation, it was a renewal of my own priesthood. It was interesting to talk to different priests from around the world and hear their joys and struggles in the ministry of priestly formation. I return to St Charles’ Seminary refreshed and look forward to implementing some of the points discussed at the conference.
~ Fr Mark Payton
Spiritual Formator and Vice-Rector