The Scholastic Theologate is the post novitiate formation period towards the priesthood leading to final commitment in oblate religious life and to the priesthood. At the scholastic they purse heir philosophical and social studies whereas at the scholastic theologate they pursue their theological and pastoral studies. The goal of the Scholasticate is to form mature apostolic men deeply committed and capable of taking their places in the Church, society and the Oblate Congregation (OMI CC66).
To see that the candidates are adequately accompanied and grounded in wholistic spirituality and regular spiritual direction, deep sense of prayer and commitment to Oblate mission.
To create an atmosphere of freedom where the candidates can use the freedom to grow with responsibility, accountability and they may be guided towards self-formation.
To create an atmosphere for mutual challenge, fraternal appreciation and correction and for fostering healthy community living.
To see that the candidates acquire sound education in social sciences, philosophy and theology and are rooted in Asian realities such as plight of the poor, ecological issues cultures, religions, media, etc. and also in methods for research studies.
To see that education, training and competency in areas such as liturgy, mass media, effective public speaking, preaching, liturgical singing and oblate studies are provided.
To see whether the candidates are capable of committing themselves to a permanent vowed life of voluntary poverty, chastity and obedience.
To see that meaningful exposure – immersion programmes are given during Scholasticate formation and to encourage the candidates to have regular pastoral evaluation not only share their experiences but also to evaluate and monitor what happens in their personal life.
To see that the religious and missionary dimension of the oblate congregation receive adequate attention. Emphasis to be laid on sensitivity to the issues of justice, peace and integrity of creation.
To see that the Scholasticate is a place where all the members with their different socio-cultural background feel at home.
To prepare assessment report of the candidates for renewal of vows, final vows, diaconate and for ministerial priesthood which includes the important aspect s of religious and priestly life be forwarded to the provincial and also communicate to the provincial certain matters that demand s special attention.
Means – Programmes
Course on theology (four years)
Asian Institute of theology (AIT), pastoral field work education programme for one year to promote a theological programme that resonates with the lived-reality of the people.
Oblate study club to expose the scholastics to topics which re meaningful and relevant for the religious which are generally not touched in the academic course of philosophy and theology.
And also expose the scholastics on oblate life and history, Oblate tradition and customs
Pastoral work on every Saturday, the scholastics will follow the course on Theology are exposed to basic social realities while those who follow the courses of theology are exposed to parish ministries.
Evaluations are done at the end of each semester
Major vacation programme: pastoral programme in different parishes
Shramadana in the community, promotion of earth care
Sports activities with outsiders
Participation in Tamil and English academies at the major seminary
Orientation programme at the beginning of the academic year
Annual retreat and monthly recollections
Reading in the refectory on the history of the Oblates in Sri Lanka
Publication of the Scholasticate annual magazine “Zeal” and monthly magazine “Naan”
General evaluation in twice a year.
Role of the Scholasticate Superior and the Formation Team
Team of formators appointed by the provincial with the approval from the superior general will create a suitable environment in which scholastics will experience freedom, for their self-formation. However they will also guide them to grow using their freedom responsibly to become mature self-disciplined and educated persons loving one another in the community and poor especially the most abandoned following the example of Jesus. The superiors and the formators will work as a team in a spirit of solidarity and continue also their on-going formation in order to bear witness to Jesus and his gospel values. The superior will exercise collaborative leadership such a leadership ill demand sharing of information and consultation and decision making with the team of formators and also sharing of responsibilities.
Accompaniment of the scholastics requires the presence and availability of the superior and formation team. There should be a sufficient number of competent formators to accompany the Scholastics especially giving quality time for the accompaniment of the scholastic and for the betterment of the Scholasticate community.
The formators may undertake pastoral ministry outside or related studies in view of formation without hindering the formation process. Creative fidelity to the Charism of the Oblate congregation and to the magisterium of the church should be maintained.
Life style of the Formators
“Preach always; when necessary use words (St. Francis of Assisi). The formator should have the capacity to live in creative and on-going fidelity- his personal commitment to Jesus Christ, while serving the church and the Lord’s kingdom. The personal life of a formator has a great impact on the formandi (negative and positive). Formator must assume an interior total commitment to his work as formator. There should be no contradiction between what he says and what he does. Example is belter than precepts and policies. No one should become a formator before having had a sufficient amount pastoral experience with people (MTW 163). Even as a formator he should have an appropriate involvement in pastoral ministry.
Formators commitment comes down to being open willing and making the effort to learn his ministry of formation as a professional. He makes effort learning new skills which are basic and necessary for his ministry. Formator is called to influence through communication in order to accompany the formandi in the process of internalizing the gospel values, religious life and the Charism of the congregation. Formators should be always available to the formandi to accompany them in their journey calling and challenging which help the formandi to grow until they are mature religious capable to carrying the oblate mission.
Assessment Reports, Recommendations and Approval of the scholastics
Assessment report of the candidates for the renewal of vows, final vows, the ministries, diaconate and priesthood should be submitted ahead of time to the provincial by the superior of the Scholasticate in consultation with the formation team at least two months before the meeting of the Oblate provincial council. The assessment of the candidates should include an especial talents and skills of the candidates and areas for further growth. The provincial in council admits the candidates to make the profession of temporal vows, ministries, diaconate and ministerial priesthood.
Assessment report of the candidates for final vows written by the superior of the Scholasticate in consultation with the team of the Scholasticate should be more comprehensive and it should be forwarded to the provincial who in his council twill admit the scholastics to the profession of the final vows and obtained confirmation for the same from the superior general. This reports underlies what is typical of religious consecrated life the vows community life etc. another report will be submitted for the diaconate underlying hat is typical of ordained ministry, example the qualities necessary pastoral and missionary activities, leadership, preaching, administration of sacraments, ability to guide people etc. if possible the two reports may have common elements.
The renewal of vows, final vows, diaconate and priesthood
Each candidate will write a formal letter to the provincial requesting a positive response to his request for the renewal of vows, ministries, final vows, diaconate and priesthood. The scholastic brother will make a retreat (at least one full day before the renewal vows. The superior of the Scholasticate can delegate an oblate to receive the vows of the scholastics. The final vows will be preceded by an intense period of at least one month (R60d). admission to – for exclusion from final vows require for its validity the confirmation of the superior general (CC61) before the profession of the final vows the candidate will write his last will which should be civilly valid one regarding property and of its usufruct. Candidates promoted to the diaconate will make the profession of faith.
Presentation for the ministerial priesthood
Assessment of the scholastics for the ministerial priesthood written by the superior of the Scholasticate in consultation with the formators will be sent to Fr. Provincial. Each oblate will write a personal letter and send to directly to the superior general before receiving the first obedience. In it he will describe his experiences and growth since entering the oblates and mentions his apostolic desires (Kind of ministries). He will mention also his wish and reason to remain in his home province or work in another oblate unite.
Register of names
The names of the candidates who renew their vows or make their final vows, and those who receives the ministries, and those who are ordained as deacon and as priests, will be entered in the register signed by the candidates and the priests who receive the vows or by the bishop who ordain them and two witnesses (R61a)
The formula of oblate of the candidate who makes the profession of vows will be signed by the candidate, by the one who receives the vows and by two witnesses. The ordaining bishop will sign in the register which is kept in the Scholasticate.
Copies of the assessment reports and copies of the renewal vows and a copy of a final vow singed by the provincial or his delegate will be sent to the general secretary oblate general house, Rome.
After the oblate has made the profession of final vow and after the ordination to the priesthood the Superior of the Scholasticate will inform the priest of the parish where oblate concerned was baptized.
The ministry of lector will be conferred at the end of the second year of theology, and the ministry of the acolyte at the end of the third year of theology.
Taking “time out”
The Scholastics may take time out for one year with or without vows during the formation period at the Scholasticate in consultation with their spiritual directors. Those on vows will be attached to an oblate community (CC 665,666).
Duration of the time out will be determined by the Scholasticate formation team. He should have a spiritual director and a contact person during the stay outside of oblate community
They should have frequent contact with the oblate or a priest or a religious recommended by the superior of the Scholasticate and his team. The contact person should submit an assessment report to the provincial. The following conditions must be fulfilled for re-entry.
- A letter of application by the candidate addressed to Fr. Provincial
- Assessment report regarding the candidate from the contact person.
- Fr. Provincial and in council will thereafter act with discretion.
- After the time out and in the case the temporary vows have expired and the former scholastics wants to return to the oblate congregation, he required to apply Fr. General. If and when he is admitted such a candidate can apply for final vows after spending three continuous years in temporary vows.
Faculty examination: The Scholastic who is ordained to the ministerial priesthood will be examined by the competent senior priest in matters relating to pastoral and sacramental practice.