Luke Silva and Shimmon Lezama have begun settling in at the Seminario Diocesano de la Santa Cruz (Holy Cross Diocesan Seminary) in Caldas, Medellin, Colombia to begin their training in philosophy. The two seminarians left Trinidad September 3. Archbishop Joseph Harris and Fr Matthew d’Hereaux accompanied them. Fr Juan Fernandez is the rector.
Fr d’Hereaux, Director of the Archdiocesan Pre-Seminary Programme told Catholic News via email that Rome requires two degrees for ordination, Philosophy and Theology. “The Archdiocese has opted to send these men to Colombia to study philosophy for both a practical reason and a pastoral reason. For practical reasons, we do not have sufficient seminary staff to teach philosophy at the tertiary level. Until we have people trained to teach philosophy, we will seek philosophy degrees approved by the Vatican outside the Archdiocese.”
He continued, “For pastoral reasons, Archbishop Harris has a vision to build a bilingual clergy who would be able to minister to the Hispanic community in the Archdiocese in the future.” Seminarians Lindsay John, Kwesi Alleyne, Kenwyn Sylvester and Stephan Alexander all studied at a seminary in the Dominican Republic before returning to Trinidad.
Fr d’Hereaux said men considering priesthood should not be deterred because of an “inability” to learn a foreign language since the Archdiocese will find for them “financially viable philosophy courses in English”. He said though, that studies for the priesthood in a foreign country are invaluable because it removes the candidate from their “comfort zone” which is extremely important for formation for ministry and mission in the future.