The formula, a little hasty, made them smile or frown. However, the future priests of this “generation Covid “that The Cross met at the seminary interdiocesan of Orleans, readily acknowledge that the period, as unexpected as singular, the containment will remain etched in their memories.
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However, the most Orleans, almost all of the seminarians have lived scattered in the parish, closer to the daily realities that they are about to live, in embracing the life of a diocesan priest. Throughout their training, rather, it is the continuing revelation of scandals of sexual abuse in the Church that has marked harshly for their generation.
An indelible imprint ?
Then, this epidemic can have a profound influence on the next ministry of those who have been ordained the year, where a large part of the world was confined ? One thing is certain, it has had concrete consequences for Thibault Riès, 27, who will be ordained a priest for the diocese of Blois on 23 August, instead of Sunday 28 June.
Well-groomed beard, neck and roman sandals, the young man already seems perfectly comfortable in his future mission. If he has not discovered the life at the rectory during the confinement, he has proven for two consecutive months ; a first.
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“I felt more deeply my limits and my weaknesses “says Thibault Riès, speaking with a maturity that makes you forget his age. Sensitive to the attention exacerbated the most vulnerable and isolated during the confinement, he wishes to place this concern at the centre of his ministry.
Beliefs shattered or strengthened
Participating in the proposals of the parish of Blois with the parish priest and his vicar, he has experienced the absence of the community. “I knew that a priest could not be and act alone, but I have become more aware that it should not, provides the seminarian, joining the debate still current about the place of the laity, especially women. We can think of that alone, it gains in efficiency, but I have the conviction that the mission should be increased to several and it is not built anything lasting without the parishioners. “
This period has been able to shake a few, or strengthen the beliefs of some other. Large stature and long hair, Franck Valadier, 34 years, will be ordained a deacon to the priesthood, Saturday, July 4, for the diocese of Evry. This former boxing champion, who is very active in social action for the containment, has matured his own vision of the priest : the less a theologian, but more on the ground.
Confrontation with the reality of parish
The ordeal of confinement and the prolonged contact with priests, often much older than them, will, without doubt, as a developer or an accelerator to the discernment of the vocation of the seminarians, especially the younger people.
Jegani Arockiasamy happens to him, at the end of a long training he has began in India and continued at the seminary of Orleans. His ordination was to take place in early July in India, before he came to serve in the diocese of Saint-Claude (Jura), but the date was postponed because of the epidemic.
“During this period, I experienced a bit like a spiritual retreat, far away from my family, my country, my culture, I have become more aware of all that I had forsaken to follow Christ and become a priest in France “says he, rejoicing in his mission.
The confrontation with the reality of the parish was also made to reflect on Emmanuel Renault, age 31, who will be ordained on the 13th of September for the diocese of Limoges. Confined to the rectory of Saint-Junien, (Haute-Vienne) with the two parish priests of his parish home, the seminarian has appreciated the support of the lives of several.
“The question of loneliness has always been a concern as to whether I would be able to face, he says. This experience I reinforced the idea that I need a life community to regularly share meals, pray and just talk. “
“The experience of the actual conditions of the life of a priest “
Father Laurent Tournier, rector of the interdiocesan of Orléan
“About ten months a year on training, two months of confinement in the parish, it is far from being negligible. Without making too much of it, it is certain that our seminarians have lived a very strong experience of the actual conditions of the life of a priest.
They perceived that give themselves to Christ was not words, it’s no longer belongs : it is necessary to manage the funeral, the calls for help, the animation of the parish, but also make the races… They have experienced material poverty and human of the Church, without that this is a scoop, and at the same time its creativity and vitality. “