DIREZIONE GENERALE OPERE DON BOSCO
Via della Pisana 1111 - 00163 Roma
The General Councillor for Formation
Rome, 31 May 2011
Provincial Delegates for Formation
Dear Fr Provincials and Delegates,
I am writing to you about the fourth year of formation and studies for the students in the “Zefferino Namuncurà” Community for Specific Formation of Students of the UPS in Rome at the Gerini Institute, and in particular about the Diploma in Pastoral Theology.
The fourth year of specific formation for Salesian clerics, as in every formation community at this stage, envisages preparation for the priesthood, the exercise of the diaconate and a programme of studies. It is a full year which concludes the period of specific formation.
On 19 March 2010 I communicated to you the decision, taken by the Rector Major with the General Council regarding the fourth year for the students at Gerini: “At the end of the third year and after having obtained the baccalaureate, the “Gerini” students of Theology will undertake a year of pastoral Theology, which could conclude with a Diploma in Pastoral Theology. In ordinary circumstances after priestly ordination and after a period of practical pastoral experience they may pursue a qualification for a licence in ecclesiastical studies.”
To implement this directive the Faculty of Theology at the UPS, in dialogue with the General Councillor for Formation, has prepared the curriculum for the Diploma in Pastoral Theology for the fourth year, which I now attach. It has been approved by the Academic Senate of the UPS and then definitively by the Rector Major, the Grand Chancellor of our University.
I won’t repeat here the reasons regarding the needs of this year and its academic nature with the study of Pastoral Theology. You can find all of these in the letter of 19 March last year. We hope that with this curriculum our confreres will be able to have a better pastoral preparation, as GC26 expressed the hope.
This Diploma in Pastoral Theology will begin with the academic year 2011-2012. In the same year, as you already know, starting from September the deacons in the Gerini Community will remain in that same community without any longer transferring to “Saint Thomas” community in the “Mary Seat of Wisdom” Vice Province in Rome. That community will have the special care of the Salesian confreres of the Quinquennium.
Starting from September 2011, the communities for the students of theology in Messina and in Turin Crocetta, which have been linked to the community of deacons in the Vice Province of the UPS, will also begin a fourth year of formation and their own Diploma in Pastoral Theology.
This Diploma in Pastoral Theology from the UPS can be of help to all our Salesian Centres of Theological Studies, to be a basis for their programmes for the study of Pastoral Theology. It can be useful to us in the process of the assessment of intellectual formation being undertaken in the whole Congregation for the various phases of initial formation.
With best wishes, thanking you for your collaboration.
In Don Bosco.
Fr Francesco Cereda
1. The Apostolic Constitution “Sapientia Christiana” states in Art. 74: “§ 1. A Faculty of Sacred Theology has the special duty of taking care of the scientific theological formation of those preparing for the priesthood or preparing to hold some ecclesiastical office. § 2. For this purpose, special courses suitable for seminarians should be offered. It is also appropriate for the Faculty itself to offer the "pastoral year" required for the priesthood, in addition to the five - year basic cycle. At the end of this year, a special Diploma may be conferred.” (Sap. Chr. Art. 74.§1.2; cfr. St. art. 75.§3)
2. Starting in the Academic Year 2011-2012, the Faculty of Theology will begin the Diploma in Pastoral Theology mentioned in the St. art.75 §3.
3. To enrol in the Diploma in Pastoral Theology, mentioned in St. art.75§3, “it is required that an authentic declaration of all the studies undertaken in the first cycle and the results obtained in the individual examinations be presented. The final Diploma is conferred only on those students who have completed the first cycle of theological studies and obtained the relevant academic grade of Baccalaureate” (Ord. art. 150.§3).
4. The Diploma in Pastoral Theology has its own programme of studies, aimed at the integration of the studies in the first cycle, in particular with regard to the pastoral area (Ord. art. 151.§2).
The purpose of the Diploma in Pastoral Theology is to offer a serious basic pastoral theological preparation in view of the priestly ministry integrating it with some of the courses of specialisation in pastoral theological areas offered in the University, with special attention to the areas of: ministry, liturgy, spirituality, catechetics, pedagogy, communication. With this view of Pastoral Theology it is intended to prepare the future priest to be able to see in a pastoral perspective the situation and pastoral planning; this purpose is at the foundation of all the courses offered and is always kept in mind in them.
1. The students who complete their formation in view of priestly Ordination with the Diploma in PastoralTheology come to an agreement with the Dean of the Theological regarding a personal plan of study, following come compulsory courses, called basic activities, and other freely chosen complementary courses called particular activities, required for each semester, compatible with the timetable and not overlapping.
2. The basic activities consist in 28 ECTS; these present specific courses for the fourth year. The particular activities are taken at choice from the curriculum of the first and second cycle of various Faculties and have to amount to at least 21 ECTS.
3. During the Pastoral Year, as in the years of initial formation, there is practical pastoral experience, which gives special attention to the exercise of the Deaconate; this is carried out under the responsibility of the formation community in collaboration with the Faculty. At the conclusion of the year the student presents a written report of 15-20 pages, prepared under the guidance of a teacher, relating to the practical experience based on the courses attended. The course EB0660 on Pastoral planning, indicated among the basic compulsory activities, supports the pastoral experience and the written report.
4. The Diploma courses will have academic recognition in the later pursuit of a course for a Licence.
5. The Dean of the Faculty Theology has responsibility for the year of the Diploma in Pastoral Theology.