Statutes of Priestly Formation Center in Rome OK'd

Open to Diocesan Clergy and Directed by Legionaries of Christ

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has approved the statutes of the Maria Mater Ecclesia center for priests in Rome, and appointed Legionary of Christ Father Javier García as its first rector.



A decree of approval of the statues was issued last month through the Congregation for Catholic Education.

A letter of notification, signed by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Archbishop Michael Miller, prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Vatican dicastery, was addressed to Father Álvaro Corcuera, director general of the Legionaries.

The letter expresses gratitude "for this successive center of priestly formation, destined for diocesan clergy, established by the Legionaries of Christ in Rome."

The new center for priests, which opened its doors in the past days, seeks to form and train diocesan priests who wish to study in Rome.

The center will give continuity to the work carried out by the international college Maria Mater Ecclesia, founded in Rome in 1991, and the seminary Maria Mater Ecclesia, in Campo Limpo, Brazil. That Rome facility has 250 seminarians from more than 80 dioceses. The Campo Limpo facility has 117 Brazilian seminarians from more than 20 dioceses.

Response to synod

Father García explained that "the different Maria Mater Ecclesia institutes were born in response to the desire of John Paul II and many bishops who attended the 1991 Synod on priestly formation."

"Its specific objective is to collaborate with bishops in the preparation of future formators of priests worldwide," he added.

Father McLean Cummings, a U.S. graduate of Rome's international college Maria Mater Ecclesia, was appointed spiritual director of the only Catholic seminary in Russia, located in St. Petersburg.

The Legionaries also run the Sacerdos Institute, which since 1991 has offered summer courses for more than 1,000 formators of priests from 500 dioceses and 90 countries.

Since last year, the religious congregation has directed the pontifical Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, which offers courses of spiritual renewal for priests in the Holy Land.