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Formation year returns to Sydney seminary

Sydney's Archdiocesan seminary has restored the formation year for first year seminarians, following an overseas trend and at the request of Archbishop George Pell.

The year will include courses and in-house lectures on various aspects of priestly life, including spirituality and celibacy.

Fr Julian Porteus is also in his first year at the Good Shepherd Seminary, as rector. He says the formation year "is a year of a certain withdrawal, a year to discover your vocation more fully. It is a year of reflection and prayer".

Even "mundane" questions of diet, recreation, order and discipline in personal lives, expressed in personal deportment and maintenance of houses, are canvassed in the formation year.

The changes are consistent with concerns outlined in Pastores Dabo Vobis (I Will Give You Shepherds), a 1992 Apostolic Exhortation on the formation of priests, which notes a priest's identity as being beyond function and rather a way of life.

The changes are modelled on those introduced at a Parisian seminary under Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger although not universal, they are being adopted elsewhere.

Texts of bishops' pastoral letters
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