Vocational discernment and the formation of a priestly identity: these are the fundamental objectives of the formation process at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary. Fr Concetto Occhipinti, the Rector, explains them in this interview with L'Osservatore Romano. Together with the community of formators and students, he will be welcoming Benedict XVI this evening, 8 February, on the occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of Trust.
What situation will you present to the Pope who is coming to visit you to celebrate the Feast of the Seminary's Patroness?
The Holy Father will be meeting his seminarians who, with their different formation courses, are preparing to become priests of the Diocese of Rome in the near future at our Diocesan Seminary, at the Almo Collegio Capranica, at Redemptoris Mater Collegio Missionario and at the Seminary of La Madonna del Divino Amore. The community of the Roman Major Seminary currently consists of 70 seminarians – 27 from the Diocese of Rome, 39 from other Italian dioceses and four from foreign dioceses – in addition to 16 young men who are doing the propaedeutic year, and 9 educators.
What is the vocations situation in the Diocese of Rome today?
The quantitative aspect certainly has its importance but must be secondary to that of quality. The vocations animation in which our Diocesan Church is investing excellent resources and energies is also yielding good fruits, with regard to the number of those who are entering the seminary, which seems to be slightly but constantly increasing.