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Bishop Andrew Chan on three aspects of theological education

Publish Date: 17-Jun-2019

In the leading up to Theological Education Day on 30 June, Echo continues interviews conducted by postulants with bishops about views on theological education and their experiences. This week, postulant Mr Ryan Cheung interviewed Bishop Andrew Chan of the Diocese of Western Kowloon.

Mr Cheung asked “All HKSKH priests have to receive formal theological training at the seminary before ordination. How does such training shape them?”

Bishop Chan said, “We train seminarians in three aspects. The first is equipping them with knowledge. Hong Kong is a knowledge society. Parishioners are highly educated. Priests need to be always ready to answer their questions about theology and life. Thus it is desirable to increase their theological knowledge. The second is the shaping of their spirituality. If priests are knowledgeable but shallow in spirituality, their pride would cause alienation from the others. It would not help enrich their own and other people’s lives, and in the worst scenario, it could reject the others. Our seminarians participate in morning and evening prayers together, and teachers provide guidance to nurture their spiritual growth. The third is education on providing pastoral care. We often mistake that pastoral care is limited to activities such as visiting the needy, caring for the weak and delivering sermons. In fact, pastoral care is multi-dimensional. It can be seen that all functions performed by a cleric are related to pastoral care, even Eucharistic service. Clerics are priests who officiate at sacraments and act as a bridge between God and humankind. They are also shepherds who walk with others; and are teachers who guide parishioners. To play these three roles, clerics need to be equipped in all the three aspects mentioned above.”


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