Home in Rome
These practical notes aim to help us make the most of our stay in Rome, aware that we have come not simply to earn an academic degree, but to become better and holier Priests, as we pursue an academic degree.
With this in mind, our enthusiasm for academic excellence bring us to an even greater enthusiasm for spiritual growth, through our prayers, the sacraments and spiritual direction. All this make us grow in Priestly fraternity, and more effective servant leaders of God’s people. The new Ratio Fundamentalis emphasizes that after the initial stages of formation in the seminary, each Priest is to embark on a life-long journey of ongoing formation:
FROM THE RATIO:
IV. Initial and Ongoing Formation
54. … formation – understood as one unbroken missionary journey of discipleship – can be divided into two principal moments: initial formation in the Seminary and ongoing formation in priestly life.
55. Initial formation concerns the time leading up to priestly ordination…
56. Ongoing formation is an indispensable requirement in the life of every priest and in his exercise of the priestly ministry… This implies a continuous conversion of heart, the capacity to see one’s life and its events in the light of faith and, above all, of pastoral charity, by way of a total gift of self to the Church, according to the design of God.
This being understood, it is overly simplistic and erroneous to view ongoing formation as a simple ‘updating’ in cultural and spiritual matters, relative to the initial formation of the Seminary…
In offering ongoing formation to the Priests, the Collegio solicits their active contribution as well. This way each Priest is not only accompanied at both the personal and community levels, as the Ratio underlines, but in turn also actively accompanies the other Priests.
The following summarizes in outline form the details found in our Knowledge Base. These points have been based on several decades of experience of life at the Collegio. If ever some points seem too basic for Priests doing further studies, please rest assured that they really need to be included here – because in fact, there have been many instances in which they have been overlooked (to the detriment of the community, or at least of some members).
May our stay at the Collegio always be a special opportunity to discover ourselves a bit more, as we live with new friends and under new circumstances, adapting to the realities of the Collegio and of Rome…
- In general, the prayers and Christian practices we learned at home and in the Seminary when we were young are even more necessary for us Priests. This is because we have greater responsibilitie and challenges, and more people depend on us for guidance.
- Fidelity to our daily Mass, Breviary, and Rosary, our mental prayer, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and spiritual readings, our frequent and regular Confession and Spiritual Direction, will all give us the necessary focus. Rather than a waste of time, they are “investments” in time, that in turn “multiply” our time needed for our personal growth, life in the community, studies and pastoral work.
- Please find a spiritual director as soon as possible. He may be the official Collegio Spiritual Director, or any other Priest of your choice (in the latter case, please inform the Collegio Spiritual Director of his name). You may also ask the higher years for their practical suggestions regarding spiritual direction.
- “A brother who is helped by a brother is like a strong city” (Proverbs 19: 19). Many are our manifestations of support for each other, for example, in terms of group studies, community or small group relaxations, simple excursions, etc.
- Perhaps one means of support that could be encouraged a bit more is fraternal correction. Since we have different backgrounds and sentiments, it would be best if fraternal correction is done in private, after having prayed over the matter and for the other Priest. A very brief conversation in private, regarding the observation and a possible way of improving, will often be sufficient.
- Being corrected by our brother Priest becomes part of our ongoing formation, and is something we thank him for. He has truly and courageously made towards us a concrete act of charity and service.
- In a special way, given their responsibility towards the Collegio and the Church, the Administrators would be very happy to receive your comments, suggestions or fraternal corrections. Please approach them personally anytime.
- On the other hand, gossip and rash judgments in a community are clear signs that fraternal correction and priestly fraternity in general are not being lived. Pope Francis often repeats the idea that “Gossipers are terrorists because with their tongues they drop a bomb and then leave, and the bomb they drop destroys reputations everywhere”. He says, “Don’t forget: to gossip is to kill.”
COURTESY TOWARDS OTHERS
- Please be punctual so we can start activities together, end on time, and save time. Punctuality is also a powerful sign of respect for others.
- Filipinos are requested to remind each other to speak in Italian or English when with non-Filipinos, especially at table, as a sight of courtesy as well.
- Not always sitting at the same table or with the same persons is highly encouraged, as meals are excellent opportunities to learn from each others’ rich experiences and the realities of the Church in the different parts of the world.
- While the Collegio is our home, it is also a Pontifical Institution, a showcase of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Outside the privacy of our rooms, we are reminded to consider the different sentiments of other Priests, the Sisters, Lay Staff and guests who may come anytime of the day or night. For this reason, for example, we observe a simple dress code (no shorts or sleeveless at the ground floor and basement; more presentable clothing during feasts or when there are special guests), avoid uncharitable topics or loaded jokes, or actions that could be strange for some (e.g., lying on the lobby sofa).
- Similarly, while the Collegio is our home, we also respect the Sister’s quarters, which is juridically set up as an Enclosure, a Convent (including their refectory). Access to the Sisters’ quarters requires the explicit permission of the Collegio Rector and the Sisters’ Local Superior.
- To allow our staff to work efficiently and to rest, and to maintain order, cleanliness and hygiene, the Kitchen and Laundry areas, as well as the Personnel’s Quarters, are normally off-limits to Priests. Please coordinate with the Economus if there is a special need to enter these areas.
- This Collegio website is constantly updated. Suggestions and pointing out errata are most welcome.
DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION FROM OR FOR THE RECTOR
- The Rector is legally required to keep a copy of some of your documents. While you have sent him most of these upon application, kindly make sure you send him updated scanned copies by email (not printed or via celphone) as soon as possible.
- If you need any document from the Rector, please email him your request anytime. This way he can work on it when he is at the computer, and email you the document or leave it in your pigeonhole.
- As for some forms such as letters to the Embassies where you need to put in certain data such as dates, places of stay, etc., you may normally download a sample from this website. Put in the needed information, and leave a printout outside the Rector’s Office, which he can sign and put in your pigeonhole. Kindly email him a copy of the letter as well, for his files (not a photcopy or via celphone).
- The Bishops have entrusted to the Rector the care for his Priests. For this purpose, the Rector asks each one to inform him via email each time you spend a night or more outside the Collegio, even for regular pastoral work, including the dates that you are out, and the name, address and celphone of your contact person or residence at your destinations. This way the Rector could easily reach you in case you become incapacitated to personally respond to your celphone or email, especially in an emergency. Aside from being a sign of courtesy to the father of a home (in the same way that we do not simply enter or leave our homes without informing or greeting our parents), it is also a manifestation of the Rector’s concern for the Priests. (In other words, if the Rector does not care whether he is able to contact the Priest or not in case of an emergency, what kind of Rector is he?) Besides, this is necessary for the Rector to perform the task entrusted to him by the Bishop, and hence, disregarding this will be considered a serious matter.
CARE FOR OUR FACILITIES
- Please return the furniture and their components (chairs, tables, sofas, throw pillows, etc.) to their original positions, ready for the next persons to use them.
- Switch of unnecessary lights, faucets, electric fans, etc.
- To keep the room and building less warm during summer, lower the blinds and close the windows where the sun hits the building. Sunlight will heat the floor and walls, keeping the building warmer and for a longer period.
- Since labor and materials to do repairs in Europe cost a lot, kindly take care not to scratch or damage the rooms’ surfaces, especially in moving furniture or luggage. Do not use nails, tacks, pins, tapes, etc. on any concrete, metal, wood, tile or other surfaces, whether in the bedroom or bathroom, as doing so will damage or scratch the surfaces, or leave adhesive substances that will accumulate dust difficult to remove. Electrical or water lines embedded in the walls might also be hit, causing short circuits or leaks.
- Unlike with wooden walls back home, which do not easily get stained, our painted cement walls can easily be smeared and scratched. For example, please take care not to mark them with your shoes or sweat (from arms or back of shirt), or rub them with with your rag when cleaning your study table.
- The doors have been intentionally left free of hooks, as their hinges tend to misalign if loaded. Besides, their surfaces have a special heat-treated lamination, and just to patch up scratches or nail or screw holes, they need to be brought to a laboratory, probably costing hundreds of Euros for labor and materials.
- Creating an atmosphere of serious study at the Collegio is an immense service to the Church.
- You are most welcome to invite your Priest classmates to the Collegio for group studies. Please coordinate with our Economus with regards to meals.
- Summers and other breaks are great opportunities to rest while still studying a bit at one’s own pace, free from the pressures of exams and deadlines. Starting to work at an easy pace with the thesis or thesina outline, previously conferred with the moderator, will help lessen the burden of the coming school year. This could be an option as to how to spend the three long summer months well (with minimal pastoral work in the US, for example).
- Pastoral work is part of our holistic ongoing formation at the Collegio. Masses with Filipino or Italian communities could always be made compatible with our other tasks, and will allow us to be solidly connected with the practical realities of our faithful, even as we study the different lessons and theories in our respective fields.
- Calendars for Masses at nearly Sisters’ Convents are posted weeks or months ahead. Unlike perhaps in some previous assignments, here at the Collegio there is no one to remind us of our schedules, which fall under our personal responsibility. Masses have been missed in the past, causing a grave inconvenience to the Sisters, who have an intense daily schedules. Kindly note your schedules in your personal electronic calendar and set a reminder to go off perhaps the night before. Please look for a substitute if you are not available, and make sure to review your Mass assignments before going on a break.
- During summers, newcomers will be requested by the Administrators or a delegated Priest to minister to the Filipino communities, which mostly have Masses in the different Filipino languages. This is done on a rotation basis, so that each one could experience the realities of the different communities.
- Anytime during the year, in case some groups (in Rome, or the rest of Italy or Europe) request you to celebrate Mass, kindly check first with the Rector, who will in turn confer with the Sentro Filippino Chaplaincy in Rome or in other dioceses. This is out of respect for the Filipino Chaplaincies primarily tasked with the pastoral care for Filipinos.
- Each priest should experience the realities of different Filipino Communities in different countries, rather than be immediately attached to one. In this regard, consult the Rector or the one he delegates first, before you make long-term pastoral commitments.