One of the essential goals of the formation program is to discover and appropriate our Precious Blood identity. Some of the distinctive sources wherein members discover their identity are: the spirituality of the Blood of Christ, the missionary charism, the life of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, the official texts of the Congregation, and its history.
Some of the values to be developed during the formation process include: honesty and truth, the capacity for self-disclosure, an ability to listen and to value others’ perspectives, an ability to live in community, a deep appreciation of personal and communal prayer, a capacity to live a simple lifestyle, the evangelical counsel of the celibate life and love, self-denial, compassion, social awareness, solidarity with the world, concern for justice, endurance under difficulties, cross-cultural sensitivity, a capacity for collaborative ministry with laity and religious men and women, initiative in ministry, obedience and a respect for the Congregation’s traditions.
The formation program for the Missionaries of the Precious Blood begins once the applicant has been formally admitted. Initial Formation focuses principally on helping the student adjust to community life and introduces the student to a general understanding of the Congregation of Missionaries of the Precious Blood, with specific emphasis on the Atlantic Province.
The minimum duration for this level of formation is six months for all students who feel called to brotherhood or priesthood. Duration is based on the following criteria:
- age of the student
- the ability to live in community
- the recommendation of the Director of Formation and the Vocation/Formation Committee stating that the student has sufficiently met pre-determined goals with regards to personal growth, spiritual growth, and completion of the academic coursework.
- Students who feel called to the priesthood are required to complete a minimum of eight philosophy courses before they begin their theological studies. However, twelve philosophy courses are strongly encouraged.
This level of formation has a minimum duration of three years and a maximum duration of four years. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of specific goals regarding personal and spiritual growth, in addition to the completion of an academic degree. Brother candidates are encouraged to pursue an academic background, a professional accreditation, or a technical skill during the three year period of Special Formation.
Priesthood candidates are required to complete a course of theological studies resulting in a Masters of Divinity degree. Definitive Incorporation is celebrated on December 3rd, on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of the Congregation of Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
Brothers are assigned a ministry after the definitive incorporation. Candidates preparing for the transitional diaconate go on a five day retreat. The transitional diaconate is exercised for the duration of six months to one year. Candidates for the priesthood go on a five-day retreat. A candidate’s ordination to the priesthood normally takes place in his home parish if it is in the USA or Canada and then he is assigned a ministry of the Congregation.