The Program for Priestly Formation's expectations in the area of Pastoral Formation [280.d] can be summarized around three concepts: zeal for evangelization, justice, and Life; collaboration with all others who carry on the work of the Church and the Gospel; skills, those consciously acquired methods and patterns of interaction that allow the priest to be most effective in his work. These must be animated by the spirit of charity so that the pastoral work of the Church is understood to be truly a reflection of Christ's love for His people.
The program of Pastoral Formation at Mount St. Mary's seeks to provide opportunities for engagement and evaluation such that the seminarian develops an appreciation for the multi-dimensional pastoral work of the diocesan priest. It is important that the seminarian have an acute awareness that it is in his pastoral ministry that his development in the other areas of formation comes into contact with God's people and bears its fruit.
Pastoral Formation is not of secondary importance in the preparation of priests. On the contrary, the Program of Priestly Formation of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops notes that "All four pillars of formation are interwoven and go forward concurrently. Still in a certain sense, pastoral formation is the culmination of the entire formation process: 'The whole formation imparted to candidates for the priesthood aims at preparing them to enter into communion with the charity of Christ the Good Shepherd. Hence, their formation in its different aspects must have a fundamentally pastoral character." (PPF 236, citing Pastores dabo vobis #57).
The Field Education program of Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the West is designed to meet this essential dimension of priestly formation, fulfilling the requirements set out by the PPF in its Norms for Pastoral Formation, 242-255.