This grace of the new covenant embraces all who have joined themselves to Jesus Christ in faith and baptism. Moved by that grace, however, we make ourselves available to God's work of transformation. The apostle Paul marvels at the work of the Holy Spirit who transforms believers into the very image of Jesus Christ, who himself is the image of God. Furthermore, we will support our priests by informing the entire people of God that the prayer and study of their priests is not something added on to their work but rather is integral to their ministry. We will encourage them in their efforts, and we will call them to accountability in the name of the Church.
We invite those responsible for the ongoing formation of members of religious congregations to study this document and to make useful applications where possible. From the Gospel comes the light and fire of God's love.
We hope that the episcopal conference will periodically renew this plan. At the beginning, it is important to identify the intended audience for a basic plan of priestly formation. In the first place, the audience includes bishops and presbyterates who want some guidance in the formation of a holy and effective presbyterate, and holy and effective priests.
We are grateful to many people for their work in developing this document. The audience will also include directors of ongoing formation and continuing education who can use this document to organize and review their efforts.
We are mindful that the majority of those who will make up our presbyterates in the next ten years are already priests, and thus, will benefit from the directions in this document. A comprehensive plan describes the wide range of priestly ministry and life, noting the possibilities of grace and the shadow dimensions of temptation and sin as well as the challenges and resources that are available.
We recognize the special and unique formational needs of members of religious congregations. Consultants to the committee are the following: Very Rev. A systematic plan organizes the particular elements in ways that connect them together.
Seminary formation directors and seminarians can use the plan in preparation for priestly ministry.