Thursday, January 10, 2008

A priest has to be a gentleman

~From the St. Louis Review in an interview with Archbishop Burke (hat tip to Marcus)
The archbishop stressed the importance of good priestly formation, which he said is "multi-faceted."

First is human formation, Archbishop Burke said. "A priest has to be a gentleman with the virtues of a gentleman. Otherwise his human failings will get in the way of his fulfilling his duties as a spiritual leader."

A priest must be holy, to lead people in their pursuit of a holy life, and knowledgeable about the faith, the archbishop said.

"And he has to be pastoral," the archbishop said. "Not only does he know the faith very deeply and know the Church very deeply, but he has a way to bring all of that to people as a real spiritual father. He has a heart for the people and shows that in the way he interacts with them."

The archbishop said he views himself as the seminarians’ "spiritual father." His own fatherly support of them — which includes regular visits and one-on-one walks in Forest Park or around the seminary grounds with them — is modeled after his own experiences with his parents and priests he knew as a boy in rural Wisconsin.

"As the years pass, more and more I realize the tremendous influence of my parents (Thomas and Marie Burke) with regard to the priesthood. And Father (Owen) Mitchell, our parish priest when I was a boy, who had a very strong, positive influence on my vocation. They were models for my approach to the seminarians.

"The way my own father and the priests I knew growing up interacted with us children in a particular situation gave me a good example. They were encouraging and gave good counsel when you went to them with questions."

The archbishop praised Msgr. Wojcicki, the faculty at the seminary and Father Michael T. Butler, director of the archdiocesan Vocation Office, which is located at the seminary.

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