The Centre specializes in providing training for nuns, brothers and priests who are or will be involved in the formation ministry. Basically it helps those who are appointed by their bishops or superiors to accompany the candidates for priesthood and religious life. The course I am undertaking at the moment in Manila is called Orientation to Spiritual Direction for Formators and it is composed of two units: Introduction to Prayer and Spiritual Direction in Formation Context.
As you may sense a priest or a religious isn’t just doing prayers and various services with and for people but he or she needs to be a person who is deeply rooted in prayer. During the morning sessions we learn how to guide a novice who joins a congregation or a diocese into a personal prayer which flows from the love of Jesus and nurtures this love for Our Blessed Lord.
The afternoon sessions are focused on Spiritual Direction which give us some tools how to accompany a candidate in his personal spiritual growth. I find it very fascinating to be able to recognize the movements of the Holy Spirit in another person and constantly draw a prayerful attention of the candidate to this activity of God within him or her. Spiritual Direction (individually accompanying a person) cannot be appreciated without a strong conviction that Jesus is present in this world very powerfully, that he is involved in our personal story as well. Just think, how much good can a priest or a nun do if she can see Jesus working in others. In this way the good already accomplished by the Lord can be relished and savored by the person but this awareness won’t happen if the nun or the priest cannot see the hand of Christ in their own life. That’s why we are learning during the course how to develop in our future nuns, brothers and priests this attentiveness to God manifesting himself in different events of their own lives.
We are very blessed to have Eva and Francisca, lay women, whose deep faith in Christ and solid psychological background make the whole seminar a thrilling experience of God present in people’s stories. Both of them have also got an extensive expertise in giving Spiritual Direction as they are “employed” as Spiritual Directors in a number of Seminaries here in Manila.
In regards to participants, there are 15 of us: 3 nuns, 3 brothers, 8 priests and a lay woman who will be working for EMMAUS Center. It is a very international mixture but what unites us is JESUS CHRIST and openness to do the job which is very crucial for the Catholic Community training our future leaders. An interesting thing I have found is that nobody has applied for this job. Our common experience is that we were asked by our superiors or bishops to undertake this ministry of formation.
If you would like to learn more about EMMAUS Center that their website