In the Catholic context, preparation for priestly ministry is guided by the Program of Priestly Formation. Theological educators of any denomination can benefit from reading this document, especially the section outlining the four elements of formation – spiritual, intellectual, pastoral, and human.

The concepts of spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation are easy enough to grasp; less so is the concept of human formation. In the Summer issue of In Trust, writer Julie Bourbon highlights the practice of human formation and interviews professionals who provide human formation counseling to Catholic seminarians.

Coincidentally, the Winter 2013 issue of Seminary Journal from the National Catholic Educational Association was just released and contains a number of articles on the topic of formation. Particularly relevant to the subject of human formation is an article by Father Robert Anello titled “In the Beginning Were the Bells: The Development of Human Formation for Priests.”

To learn more about human formation and how it can be used in any ministry training, read Bourbon’s “Apt Instruments of Grace” and Father Anello’s “In the Beginning Were the Bells.” You can also access other relevant articles in the Winter 2013 Seminary Journal online now.

And if you are currently applying the ideas behind human formation in your theological schools – whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox – we would love to hear from you.