Oblate Juniorates are generally not considered as seminaries. As it is, it is not meant to train students for priesthood, but as a hostel or a youth centre which provides the students with an appropriate place and a healthy environment conducive to grow as human beings, Christians and oblate aspirants. They may also provide with necessary academic preparation for the candidates who have no proper educational facilities in their home environment. Our R153 encourages us to establish and maintain such centres as they are considered useful for awakening and nurturing vocations.
“Such institutions are able to create an atmosphere in which a Catholic young man can freely search out his vocational choice in life. They broaden the horizons of their students; bring them to awareness of the multiple life-choices that are open to them. They help them to question and discern God’s Will regarding religious life and priesthood and life as a committed lay person and the married state.” (GNOF 91)
The shape and running of the Juniorate may vary from one situation to another, but “the important thing is to accompany personally any interested candidate and help him discern what the Lord expects of him”. (GNOF 92)
The Juniorate in the province of Jaffna is situated at Colombuthurai where students from many backward villages of the different parts of the country are brought together to live in a suitable and conducive environment. They go for their academic studies at St. Patricks college, Jaffna from grade 10 to A`L. students who complete their academic studies at the college and the other students who join us after completing their AL from other schools will remain in the Juniorate to improve their knowledge of English until they are ready to sit for their National Seminary English (NSE) exam.
Thus our Juniorate provides a suitable environment and atmosphere in which a Catholic Youngman can freely grow as a human being and a Christian and search out his vocational choice in life. It helps them to treasure and discern God’s will regarding religious life and priesthood and life as a committed lay person and a married state.
Requirements from the students to be admitted to the Juniorate
- Good family background
- Student of average intelligence
- Desire for learning
- Capability to live and work with others
- Desire to serve God and His people
- Having right intentions to follow Christ
- Finding joy and making sacrifices for the sake of others
- They must be free from family obligations
- A report from the director of vacations
- Recommendation letter from the parish priest or a religious
- Original birth certificate from the government department
- Baptism and confirmation certificates
- Marriage certificates of parents (Church and civil)
- Other certificates (academic and educational etc.)
- Medical report (physical and psychological)
- A letter of recommendation from the particular seminary, if the student had been already in another.
- To help the candidates to grow in human and Christian maturity
- To make the candidates aware of their dignity as human being as children of God and also hold others in respect and reverence.
- To help the candidates to live and to work in the community
- To know the motivation of the candidates and purify it and to assist in the process of discovering their vocation.
- To enable them to have a desire of prayer, meditation and to participate actively in the Eucharist celebration.
- To introduce the candidates the practice of spiritual direction and regular practice of sacrament of reconciliation.
- To help them to understand their physical and psychological development
- To help them to understand the importance and the necessity of self-discipline and good manners
- To instil in the candidate the importance of acquiring academic knowledge and developing their God given talents
The Juniorists are prepared for the GCE OL and AL examination. They have to be successful in both these examinations and also at the NSE examination. Every effort is taken to help them progress academically and facilities like private tuitions are provided within the seminary for the subjects in which the students are generally weak. Make use of the Fr. Adrian literary association to improve their knowledge of English and Fr. Gnanapragasar Tamil academy to advance in Tami language.
Basic catechesis from the Holy Bible, sacraments and church teachings are given.
Daily prayers morning and evening and night prayers and rosary are said every day.
Eucharist is celebrated in a community daily.
Days of recollection are conducted every month.
Every student is advised to have a spiritual director and meet him once a month.
Through conferences and instructions effort is made to make God as centre of their life and conversion to the person of Jesus Christ.
Simplicity of life style and love for the poor are emphasised.
Devotion to our Lady to the Sacred Heart and our Blessed Founder are held once a month.
Respect for the dignity and worth of every candidate, spirit of generosity, sharing, collaboration and service will be promoted. Studies, sports, cultural activities, community manual work will provide opportunities for the students to love and work together and experience community spirit. The student will maintain a garden and keep the house neat and tidy. Weekly conferences will be given to educate the students about the community responsibilities and guide them to live with ecological concern. Talks on good manners, social etiquettes and on the art of living as a community will be given. The students will be exposed to life situations to sensitize the candidates to the pains and needs of people and the natural environment.
Role of the Formators
“Lead them to act human being first of all, and then like Christians, and finally we must help them to become saints” (St. Eugene de Mazenod). The formators should be aware that the Juniorate has to provide the students with an appropriate place and conducive environment to grow human beings, Christians, and as the Oblate aspirant. They do their best to create an atmosphere in which a Catholic young man can freely; search out his vocational choice in life. Formators should open their minds of the students to the awareness of multiple life-choices that are open to them. Because they have come to the seminary does not mean they should become a religious or a priest. The formators personally accompany them who are interested in and help them to discern what the Lord expects of them. They should be good Christian before they hope to become good religious priests. We need to be quit close to the students, share with them, adapt ourselves to each of them, accept them as they are and help them to grow by the example of our lives, prayer life, our observation and daily; behaviour “example is better than precepts”. We are rather brothers and friends to them than person invested with authority. We need to be patient, continent and loving if we are persevere in our task. There is no formation if there is no love. The formators will therefore foster good disposition in the students for the growth of genuine human and Christian values, attitudes and will form them in virtues. They will also help the students to acquire a desire for learning, and motivate them towards value education. Today the young people are being tempted by consumerism, militarism, hedonism and unethical mass media. Therefore the young candidates at the Juniorate need to cultivate the spirit of self-discipline and sacrifice in order to live a life worthy of human dignity and as children of God. Accompaniment of these candidates requires a loving and caring presence of the formators. Such a ministry requires that the formators be qualified to accompany the candidates. They will be also models bearing witness to genuine human, Christian and Oblate values and customs (meeting, recitation of breviary, days of recollection etc.).