Message From The Director of Pastoral Ministry
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share with you about the Pastoral Ministry programs here at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary.
I am truly delighted to serve here as the director of this diverse, interesting, and crucial component in priestly formation. Our seminarians are richly gifted men with many talents to share and much eagerness to serve. Their professional backgrounds and life stories prior to entering seminary demonstrate how much it means to them to have real access to on-the-job learning. They enthusiastically desire to gain practical experience working directly in the field.
The Catholic Church rightly expects its priests to have developed both competence and confidence in generous ministerial outreach and compassionate pastoral care. Newly ordained men are prepared for this by effectively honing their skills in celebrating the liturgy and sacraments, catechesis and preaching, evangelization, pastoral counseling and parish administration. God's people deserve a new priest who not only knows what's in the books... but also who knows them well as his people, to care for them, and to willingly serve their spiritual needs with Christ's own heart.
Our program consists of two coordinated components: academic courses in pastoral studies and supervised ministry experience.
The coursework features psychology, pastoral counseling and parish administration. Actual field placements provide an opportunity for each seminarian to do significant Church work with trained and caring supervision. This experience helps them to learn pastoral skills, to deepen their growing vocational identity, and to contribute to the on-going mission of nearby parishes, health care settings, and other venues for ministry.
The Pastoral Ministry program also includes an emphasis on theological reflection so that each new priest has the opportunity of looking at his work through the prism of personal faith in Christ the Shepherd. The ultimate goal of the program is to help each seminarian understand ministry as a participation in the care of the Good Shepherd for His beloved people. We sincerely hope that this formation process prepares the new priest for a lifetime of generous and joyful service to God and to the Church.
I am very happy to share with you both what we do and why we do it. Please join us in praying for God’s abundant blessings.
Rev. Michael A.J. Alfano
Director of Pastoral Ministry