Pastores dabo vobis

MaryMatha Major Seminary Thrissur



The motto is quote from the book of Jeremiah. "I will give you shepherd after my own heart" [Jer 3:15]. Jesus Christ was supreme realization of this promise. "For god loved the world so much that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life" [Jn 3:16]. Jesus declared: "I am the good shepherd" [Jn 10:11]. The latest apostolic exhortation by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1992 is titled as "Pastores Dabo Vobis". It speaks on improving the quality of priestly life after in view of the third millennium. The program of formation of Marymatha has to draw inspiration from "Pastores Dabo Vobis". It needs to take into serious consideration of the rapid transformation that is taking place in the world today and wants to update and adapt the program of formation to the present ecclesial and cultural context.

(a) Priests after the Sacred Heart of Jesus

By taking "Pastores Dabo Vobis" as the motto, Marymatha major seminary has a basic vision of gaining formation for its priests after the sacred heart of Jesus, the good shepherd. A priest is one who is called to participate in the unique priesthood remains the same at all times. Priest, is "alter christus". Christ has revealed his priestly identity as a ministry of good shepherd. "I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep" [Jn 10: 11]. Jesus explained the glory of his ministry in self-immolation. "The hour has now come for the son of man to receive great glory. I am telling you the truth a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. Whoever loves his own life will lose it; whoever hates his own life in the world will keep it for life" [Jn 12: 24-25]. Christ explained his priestly mission through his passion, death and resurrection. The consecration of a priest configures him to Christ. Just as Christ as the good shepherd offered his life for the flock the priest must imitate Christ in self-giving.

(b)Convinced and Committed Pastors

Although the essential aspect of priesthood remains the same at all the times, the priests are called from different ecclesial and cultural situations and are sent out to in these contexts. The task of the program of priestly formation is to make the formation relevant to the pastoral exigencies. Hence the fundamental vision of Marymatha should be pastoral. Every aspect of formation should provide conviction and commitment for the candidates to be good pastors. Formation is to create in them love for Christ and His people.