THE GUIDELINES FOR LIFE IN THE SEMINARY

FOREWORD:

These guidelines are based mainly on:

Pastores dabo vobis (PDV), a papal document on formation directed to the whole Church, and partly on:

Ecclesia in Africa (EA), a Synodal document offering the vision of the Church in Africa;

Pastoral Plan (PP), a SACBC document stating the vision of the Church in South Africa;

Priestly Formation (PF), a SACBC document on Priestly Formation in Southern Africa, and should be read in conjunction with them.

These sources serve as a motivation to the practical rules and guidelines that find concrete implementation in the three SACBC houses of formation. Their purpose is to help students towards integral development in their priestly formation1 consisting of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral development. They are intended to be a guide in the process of formation and it is hoped that each student will see them as such, and make the best use of them towards his formation which is ultimately his own responsibility.2

 

INTRODUCTION

Identity and Role of a Priest

The identity of the ministerial priesthood lies in its sacramental representation of the person of Christ3 It is important to see this sacramental representation in its service to promote the good of the Church and the priesthood of the entire people of God.4 In line with the threefold character of Christ as prophet, priest and king, ministerial priesthood is a call to the threefold ministry of the word, sacrament and service.

In the light of this, the priest can be described as a sacrament of communion, a sign and instrument of unity between Christ and the Church, of communion with God and of the unity of humanity. This communion is created through preaching and teaching the Gospel, the celebration of the sacraments

(especially the Eucharist), pastoral care and spiritual formation of the faithful, action of justice and peace, inter-religious dialogue and discernment of whatever is “true, honourable, upright and pure, good and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8)”.

The Synod Fathers affirmed that “today more than ever there is a need to form priests in the true cultural values of their country, in a sense of honesty, responsibility and integrity. They shall be formed in such a manner that they will have the qualities of the representative of Christ, of true servants and animators of the Christian community…solidly spiritual, ready to serve, dedicated to evangelization, capable of administering the goods of the Church efficiently and openly, and loving a simple life as befits their milieu.”5

 

1. SPIRITUAL LIFE

Each seminarian must choose a spiritual director, with whom he shall meet regularly and who is approved by the Spiritual Director of the Seminary.

(Refer to Guidelines for Life in the Seminary, No 4).

He is also to embrace the sacrament of reconciliation as often as he thinks necessary.

2. SILENCE

2.1. Silence shall be observed in the Seminary in accordance with article 6 of the Guidelines for Life in the Seminary.

2.2. A general atmosphere of quiet is to be observed within the house, particularly in the corridors and quadrangles. Where it is necessary to speak it should be done in a way that does not disturb other people. Absolute quiet is to be observed during the quiet times from 5.00 pm (17h00) until 6.30 pm (18h30) and after 10 p.m. (22h00).

2.3. Reasonable volume of radios, tape recorders and CD players means that the sound cannot be outside of the room in which the instrument is being used; headphones may be used to restrict noise levels. The use of cell phones in the corridors, chapel, dining room and in all community gatherings and activities is prohibited.

2.4. Since the staff corridor is a residential as well as a business area, students should restrict use of it to official visits to the offices.

2.5. The time for TV watching is from after supper to 20h30 during weekdays. Permission from the Formator or in his absence Dean of Students must be obtained to watch TV beyond 20h30 but never beyond 22h00. On Saturdays students may watch TV and movies beyond 10pm (22h00) but never beyond 12 am (24h00). The appointed porter locks the house doors and makes sure that all windows are closed every night at 10.00 p.m. (22h00). On Sundays the day is concluded by the night prayer all students are to retire into their rooms.

2.6. At all times, noise from TV’s, computers, radios, study groups etc. should be kept to at utmost minimum out of respect for those who wish to pray or study.

3. ROOM VISITING

3.1. When it becomes necessary for students to visit each other, consideration should be given to their rights of privacy, prayer and study. Care should be taken not to disturb neighbours.

3.2. No visitors from outside are to be received in the students’ private living quarters. The palour or the class rooms downstairs are to be used for this purpose.

4. PERMISSIONS

4.1 Permission for exceptions to the house statutes must be sought from the Dean of Students and in his absence the Vice-President or the Formator in the absence of the Vice-President.

4.1.1 In the case where a student has to accompany a Formator, it is the student’s responsibility to sort for permission from the Dean of students. Formators are prohibited from seeking permission on behalf of students.

4.2. Permission to be away from the Seminary must be obtained from the President. The procedure to be followed is as follows:

4.2.1. A student contacts his Vocations Director, explaining in detail his request to be absent from the seminary for a few days.

4.2.2. After careful consideration of his request, taking into account the real necessity for the student’s presence at the occasion, the Vocations Director gives permission or not in the name of the Bishop. When permission is granted, the Vocations Director writes a fax or e-mail to the President. The following information would appear on the letter: the name(s) of the student(s), the event and the reason for the student’s presence there the fact that permission is hereby granted, the dates on which the student will leave the seminary and on which date he is to return.

4.2.3. Upon receiving the written communication from the diocese, the President makes the final decision, taking into account the explanation given by the Vocations Director. With the Dean ofstudents he also considers the student’s personal situation in the seminary regards to academic abilities and the like. He then informs the student of his decision.

4.2.4. Once permission has been granted by the President for a student to be out overnight, the student must inform the Dean of Students and his Formator.

4.2.5. Under no circumstances is a student permitted to sleep out without the express permission of the President.

4.3. Permission requiring the spending of Diocesan money should be obtained from the President.

4.4 Students who wish to bring their vehicles to the seminary must get Permission to do so from the President. Once permission has been granted the student shall be assigned a parking place by the Vice President.

5. PROPERTY

5.1. Students should be cost-conscious in their use of electricity (Lights, heaters) and water (showers, laundry).

5.2. All damaged items requiring repair should be reported to the Maintenance Manager as soon as possible.

5.3. Starting with their own rooms, students must maintain a clean and tidy appearance of the Seminary. They are to tidy up after using the lounge, T.V. Room, gym and other public areas and dispose waste paper, cigarette stumps and fruit peels into the appropriate rubbish bins.

5.4. Tools from the garden tool shed or the Maintenance Manager’s workshop are to be signed by the student taking them out and duly returned after work.

5.5. Students are expected to clean their corridors.

6. INTEREST GROUPS

6.1. The existence and activities of interest groups are governed by nos. (1.8.) and (1.9.) in the Guidelines for Life in the Seminary.

6.2. No interest group may take initiative in the name of the seminary nor enter into joint activities with other Seminaries or student houses of religious or other groups or bodies without prior permission of the President.

6.3. Full attendance by the student body is required at meetings addressed by outside speakers, which have been approved by the President.

7. RECREATION

7.1. Private parties maybe held on free days, e.g. in case they are held in the seminary premises permission of the Dean of Students must be obtained.

7.2. The permission of the Dean of Students is required for parties, birthdays, social evenings with Vocation Directors celebrations, diocesan gatherings etc. that will extend beyond 10.00 p.m. (22h00). Noise must be kept to a minimum.

7.3. Students’ post should be addressed to the Seminary’s street address (179 Main Street, Waterkloof, 0181) and not to the post office box, which is too small for the amount of mail we receive.

8. LAUNDRY

8.1. Bedspreads, night frills, dressing gowns etc. should be washed during the holidays only.

8.2. Coats, raincoats, anoraks and cassocks should be dry cleaned and not sent to the seminary laundry for washing.

8.3. Washing of socks, shoes and underclothes must be done in the students’ laundry room, not in the basins.

8.4. The structures set up by the Student Council and laundry staff for the efficient taking and collection of clothes to and from the seminary laundry must be adhered to strictly.

8.5. Sheets and pillowcases must be used on beds and pillows and regularly laundered.

8.6. Sacristans are to take dirty altar clothes and albs to the laundry every Friday.

9. BEDROOMS

9.1. Under no circumstances should “Prestick” be used on the walls.

9.2. Furniture must remain in the room where it is found. Bedroom furniture and curtains are not to be interchanged without the permission of the Housekeeper.

9.3. Maintenance required in bedrooms must be written on a form available for the Student Council and put in the Maintenance Manager’s box for his attention.

10. KITCHEN

10.1. Crockery, cutlery, glasses and dishtowels must NOT be removed from the dining room and when food has been brought to sick people they must be returned to the kitchen.

10.2. Students should not invite guests to the dining room without asking the Vice-President of the Student Council or in his absence the President, who will get approval from the Dean of Students and the Supervisor. The Supervisor should be given 24 hours’ notice. Prudence should be exercised with regard to the number of guests and frequency of their visit.

10.3. No student is permitted in the kitchen except the Vice President of the Student Council and the group leader of the group on duty.

10.4. Meals are regarded as community activity which all students must attend. Students are expected to mingle freely in the dining room.

10.5. Reservation of seats in the dining room for students who have not arrived is not allowed.

10.6 The group on duty should dish up so that all students receive their share.

10.7. Special diets will be considered on presentation of a medical certificate from the Seminary’s doctor.

10.8. No food will be kept for students who for personal reasons miss meals.

11. PUBLIC HOLIDAY

11.1. All public holidays of the country are normally observed.

11.2. Public holidays are to be treated as Saturdays, in terms of the house timetable.

12. VACATIONS

12.1. Students are to pack their belongings before leaving for the holidays. Room keys are the property of the Seminary and should be returned to the Formator and his absence to the Dean of Students on the day of departure at the end of the semester. Missing keys will be charged against the student concerned.

12.2. Students’ rooms are to be properly cleaned before departure.

12.3. Students are to return to the Seminary on the day stipulated. Special arrangements should be made in advance with the President if a student is to come later or earlier that the stipulated day.

12.4. Students staying in the Seminary during the Easter and Michaelmas breaks are obliged to attend daily Mass.

13. FINANCE

13.1. Money required by students (e.g. for pocket money, transport to go home, clothing, stationary etc.) should be obtained directly from the Diocese.

13.2. A cash request form is to be completed by the student and faxed to the Diocese if money mentioned in 13.1 is given through the Seminary.

13.3. The Seminary is not responsible for financial transactions and debts incurred by a student prior to coming to the Seminary and while in the Seminary.

13.4. The borrowing of money be a student from another student is a matter between the students concerned and does not involve the Seminary.

13.5. Students are NOT allowed to use the Seminary telephone at reception.

14. MEDICAL PROCEDURES

14.1. Permission to consult a medical doctor on the Seminary account must be obtained from the Dean of Students who will liaise with House Manager to make proper arrangement for the student to consult a doctor.

14.2. For any extraordinary medical undertaking, such as operations, spectacles and dental treatment, special permission is first to be obtained from the student’s Bishop or Vocations Director.

15. ALCOHOL

15.1. The use of alcohol is the choice of a person. Those who do are expected to practice moderation; a continuous failure in this regard could lead to dismissal.

15.2. No alcoholic beverages shall be kept and consumed in the students’ rooms or on the Seminary premises.

16. DRESS CODE

16.1. Every student is to maintain a neat and clean appearance. His clothes are to be in keeping with the occasion.

16.2. Every student is to dress appropriately for services in the Church.

16.3. Informal pants are inappropriate at all times in the Chapel and in the class room.

16.4. Slippers are inappropriate footwear for common activities in the chapel, classroom and other public areas in the Seminary.

16.5. Students are to wear cassocks on Sundays, Seminary Feast days and for pastoral purposes. They are not be worn by anyone outside this context without prior permission of the Dean of Students.

17. RELATIONSHIPS

17.1. Students are to maintain friendly and healthy relationships among themselves that transcends cultural and language differences.

17.2. Verbal and physical abuse among students is a grave offence that could lead to immediate dismissal.

18. PERSONAL HYGIENE

18.1. Students are to maintain good personal hygiene daily.

19. LANGUAGES

19.1. The language of instruction at the Institute is English.

19.2. The institute offers for the first and second students an intensive module in English that lasts a whole year. This is designed to enhance written and spoken skills.

19.3. In addition, many of the students live in international residences in which English is the medium of communication.

19.4. The Seminary strongly encourages its staff and students to be bi-lingual. Students and staff whose first language is English are expected to use all available means to learn an African language.

20. MANUAL WORK

20.1. Manual work is conducive to good health. All students are obliged to engage in manual work as stipulated in the daily timetable of the house.

21. DISCIPLINES

21.1. Punctuality is a kind of asceticism as well as courtesy which each member of the community owes to others.

21.2. Students should be punctual in attending all the community exercises, such as gatherings, games, meals, manual work, recreation etc.

21.3. If one happens to be absent from such exercises he should report the same to his Formator or the Dean of Students at the earliest

21.4. All should faithfully follow the daily timetable of the house.

22. VEHICLES

22.1. GENERAL RULES

22.1.1 The use of Seminary transport is a privilege and as such students must take good care of vehicles at all times. Abuse of Seminary vehicles could lead to dismissal.

22.1.2 Seminary transport is not available for private trips. No Seminary vehicles shall be used for diocesan outings.

22.1.3 The Seminary vehicles are for Pastoral work and and the Seminary purposes.

22.1.4 There is no more driving programme in the seminary.

22.1.5 The Student Council shall propose to the Dean of Students the names of house drivers for his approval.

22.1.6 No student with less than two years licensed driving experience can drive the Seminary vehicles, except when it becomes necessary and the expressed approval of the Dean of Students.

22.1.7 Every trip is to be recorded in detail in the vehicle logbook. The specific destinations are to be given e.g. Main Post Office Pretoria, Brooklyn Shopping Centre etc. “Pretoria” is not sufficient. The driver should clearly and legibly print his name and affix his signature.

22.1.8 The Transport Manager must check and sign all logbooks monthly and report any anomalies to the Dean of Students.

22.1.9 Vehicles must always be parked in a secure place and all locks and safety devises are to be used.

22.1.10 All traffic laws are to be adhered to at all times. Should a student be fined for the infringement of traffic regulations he will bear the cost of the fine himself even if he was in the course of doing Seminary business.

22.1.11 A driver is to report any damage, mishap or accident to the Transport Manager and the Dean of Students immediately upon his return to the Seminary.

22.1.12 Failure to report damage or accidents will lead to disciplinary measures being taken against the driver.

22.1.13 The Transport Manager is to ensure that drivers complete maintenance checklists at the required times, and submit a written report to the maintenance manager.

22.1.14 Each driver, prior to using a vehicle is to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy.

22.1.15 Each driver must carry his driver’s license with him and contact numbers of the Seminary. He must never deviate from the trip he is authorized to undertake.

22.1.16 No driver may drink and drive.

22.1.17 Vehicles are smoke-free zones.

22.1.18 Regular meetings are to be held between the drivers and the Dean of Students.

22.1.19 The Transport Manager in consultation with the Dean of Students coordinates the use of vehicles and will keep the keys.

22.2. OTHER VEHICLES FOR OCCASIONAL STUDENT USE.

22.2.1. When students need to use any vehicle they get a permission slip signed by the transport manager and the Dean of Students. In the absence of the Dean of Students, permission should be sought from the President or the Vice-President.

22.2.2. For the benefit of everyone in the house and facilitate the smooth, fair and economical running of the transport, priority of use is to be in the following:

 Pastoral work

 Post collection

 Medical appointments

 Official Seminary duties

 Official Seminary activities (such as sport)

22.2.3 The Dean of Students authorizes all trips according to art. 22.2.1.

22.2.4 The Transport Manager will organize the washing of the vehicles.

22.3. STAFF CARS

22.3.1. Staff cars are NOT available for student business.

22.3.2. The Staff will see to the washing of their own cars.

23. STUDENT SUPPORT SYSTEM

All the students are training for Catholic Priesthood, there is continuous formation provided and counselling for students available when they request it or when it is deemed necessary for the human and spiritual formation. Those students with learning problems are assisted by their specific lecturers with extra classes and or tuition, as well as by their Formators who reside on the premises with the students. As this is a house of formation, the integral formation of students is paramount, hence the particular problems of students are always conveyed to them and they are continuously assisted to become integral persons.

1. EA 2.

2. PDV 69.

3. PDV 12.

4. EA 73.

5. EA 1 / 73.