The Diocese of Manzini is blessed with a good group of seminarians, young people called to be diocesan priests in our country. They do their formation in South Africa, a first year in Cape Town and the following ones in Pretoria.
Twice a year they come home on holidays. They spend their time between staying at home and serving in a parish.
They also spend a morning and lunch with the bishop. I see each one of them briefly, they read the reports sent by the seminary and we comment on them.
Then, we all come together for general issues of their live in the seminary and the journey of our diocese.
I normally try to do the same thing twice while they are in the seminary. In fact, they pointed out they missed my visit during the second semester.
The rector of the seminary would like to know from the bishop what kind of priests our diocese needs. He is right. Though there are common guidelines for the formation of seminarians, it is always important to try to prepare them for the context in which they will be working.
I believe the answer cannot just be mine but from the Church in our country which means involving not only the priests but the religious and the laity too.
During the time of "internship" (when a seminarian stays for six months in one of our parishes) a team of lay people meets the seminarian once a month. This would be a good opportunity for the laity to have a word on the formation of those who will be their priests.
I hope to listen to them in the coming months.