Redemptoris Mater Seminary

“In 1985 the founders of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández presented to Pope John Paul II a project for the evangelization of Northen Europe: sending whole families as missionaries. The following year Kiko suggested to the Pope to form the priests needed for the new evangelization with vocations born from the Neocatechumenal Way. This was the starting point for the creation of a diocesan and missionary seminary, and on February 14 1988, the ‘Redemptoris Mater’ College was born via decree. The seminarians come from all over the world and their vocations blossom within the Neocatechumenal Way. After being in their Dioceses for a while, they are ready to be sent either in Europe or in the rest of the world as missionaries. The Rule of Life and own Statutes govern the internal life of the College. Every seminarian is part of a Neocatechumenal community in a Parish: the Christian Initiation lived in the Neocatechumenal Way is the educational foundation of every candidate. For the formation of the seminarians, a very important role is given to the Word of God, especially through the practice of the Lectio Divina. After the completion of the first cycle of study, every seminarian goes in mission abroad for about two years, to experience evangelization and different church realities” (CLAUDIO STRAZZARI, Rector emeritus of the “Redemptoris Mater” College of Rome, La Gregoriana. Virtus et Scientia, Year XXIII, n. 53, May 2018, p. 47);

“The journey of priestly formation, beginning with the Seminary years, is described in the present Ratio Fundamentalis in terms of four characteristic elements of formation, understood as one, integral, grounded in community and missionary in spirit […] the vocation to the priesthood is a gift that God gives to the Church and to the world […] Such a vocation is discovered and accepted within a community, comprised of various members of the People of God […] Since the priest-disciple comes from the Christian community, and will be sent back to it, to serve it and to guide it as a pastor, formation is clearly missionary in character. Its goal is participation in the one mission entrusted by Christ to His Church, that is evangelization, in all its forms. The fundamental idea is that Seminaries should form missionary disciples who are ‘in love’ with the Master, shepherds ‘with the smell of the sheep’, who live in their midst to bring the mercy of God to them. Hence every priest should always feel that he is a disciple on a journey, constantly needing an integrated formation, understood as a continuous configuration to Christ” (CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation.” Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis, in L’osservatore Romano, Vatican City, December 8, 2016, § 3);

“I greet affectionately the priests from the Redemptoris Mater Diocesan seminaries of Europe and the more than 2,000 seminarians present here. You are a special and an eloquent sign of the fruits of goodness that can be born rediscovering the grace of your Baptism. We look to you with special hope: be priests in love with Christ and his Church, who can broadcast to the world the joy of having encountered the Lord and of being able to serve him” (BENEDICT XVI, Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Members of the Neocatechumenal Way, Jan. 17, 2011);

“There is another spiritual fruit that has matured in these 40 years for which I would like to thank Divine Providence together with you: it is the large number of priests and consecrated people which the Lord, as Kiko mentioned, has inspired in your communities. Many priests are engaged in the parishes and in other fields of the diocesan apostolate, and many are the itinerant missionaries in various nations. They are carrying out a generous service to the Church of Rome and the Church of Rome renders an invaluable service to evangelization in the world. It is a true ‘springtime of hope’ for the diocesan community of Rome and for the universal Church! I thank the Rector and his collaborators in Rome’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary for their educational work. Their task is far from easy but is very important for the Church’s future. I therefore encourage them to continue with this mission” (BENEDICT XVI, Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Members of the Neocatechumenal Way on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Its Origins in Rome, Jan. 10, 2009);

“It is meaningful and important that you have discovered the priestly vocation by following the Neocatechumenal Way, and that you now carry on your formative itinerary by adhering — as it is only right — to the guidelines that the Church indicates for all candidates to the priesthood […] This is the indispensable foundation of an authentic priestly formation and also the assurance of God’s blessing on this Priestly and Neocatechumenal, Neocatechumenal and Missionary, Missionary and Apostolic Way. Thus, I am glad to learn that, like yours, many other vocations are flourishing on the path of your spirituality, the Neocatechumenal Way, not only here in Rome but in several other places, in many other countries of Europe and the whole world. It is precisely the deepening of the spiritual life proper of this Way that finds, in the acceptance of the ‘evangelical radicalism’, even a more fertile ground for the blossoming of a vocation” (JOHN PAUL II, Mass for the community of the “Redemptoris Mater” Seminary in Rome: Homily, Oct. 31, 1993, § 3);

“The instruction of students is to provide that they have solicitude not only for the particular church in whose service they are to be incardinated but also for the universal Church, and that they show themselves prepared to devote themselves to particular churches which are in grave need” (CIC, Can. 257, § 1);

“The diocesan missionary ‘Redemptoris Mater’ Seminaries are erected by the diocesan Bishops, in agreement with the international Responsible Team of the Way and are governed by the current norms for the formation and incardination of diocesan clerics and according to their own statutes, in fulfillment of the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis. In them, the candidates for the priesthood find, in their participation in the Neocatechumenal Way, a specific and basic element of their formative itinerary and, at the same time, are prepared for a ‘genuine presbyteral choice of service to the entire people of God in the fraternal communion of the presbyterate’” (Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way, art. 18, § 3);

“The communities from which the candidate for the priesthood comes continue, albeit with the necessary detachment which is involved by the choice of a vocation, to bear considerable influence on the formation of the future priest. They should therefore be aware of their specific share of responsibility […] Associations and youth movements, which are a sign and confirmation of the vitality which the Spirit guarantees to the Church, can and should contribute also to the formation of candidates for the priesthood, in particular of those who are the product of the Christian, spiritual and apostolic experience of these groups. Young people who have received their basic formation in such groups and look to them for their experience of the Church should not feel they are being asked to uproot themselves from their past or to break their links with the environment which has contributed to their decision to respond to their vocation, nor should they erase the characteristic traits of the spirituality which they have learned and lived there in all that they contain that is good, edifying and rich. For them too, this environment from which they come continues to be a source of help and support on the path of formation toward the priesthood” (JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Pastores dabo vobis’ on the Formation of Priests in the Circumstances of the Present Day, § 68);

“Let Priests be imbued with a truly Catholic spirit which habitually looks beyond the limits of their own diocese, nation, or rite, and to help the needs of the whole Church, prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere” (JOHN PAUL II, Decree on Priestly Training Optatam Totius, § 20).