Appendix 3 – Plan of Studies

Appendix 3
Plans of Studies


1. Presentation

Our formandi pursue their studies in Claretian and non-Claretian academic centers of different sorts: seminaries, theological study centers, institutes, faculties and universities. They all have study plans governed by the norms of the Church’s universal law, such as the Code of Canon Law, the “Ratio Formationis Institutionis Sacerdotalis” and other Church documents[1], or by their own civil norms, as the case may be.

Here we offer some contents for the different stages and moments of Claretian formation. Except for the novitiate, which has its own complete plan of studies, the contents for the other stages concern academic and complementary pastoral formation, either because they relate to the charism of the Congregation or because they emphasize elements that enrich our missionary formation[2].

In its own formation plan, each Major Organism and zone of the Congregation should add themes and contents that are proper of them[3].

2. Methodology

—    Active and participative method.

—     Yearly programming.

— Complementary formation can be adequately channeled through commissions and departments of: liturgy, audiovisuals, music, culture, sports, library and others.

3. Moments

— Systematic conferences by the formator or formation team[4].

— Courses organized by the formation community: during the school year or in peak times in vacations.

— Courses organized by other institutions: normally during longer vacation periods.


As a general criterion, for the admission of those aspiring to the priesthood, the norm of universal law is to be followed, namely, that candidates have the same training in the humanities and sciences that young men of their own country need in order to go on to higher studies[5].

1. Human Formation

— The meaning and development of human life.

— Basic notions on maturity and personal adjustment.

— Values and counter-values. A critical sense.

— Emotions and sexuality.

— Analysis of contemporary culture.

— The communications media.

— Methodology of study and intellectual work.

2. Christian Formation

— The person and message of Jesus.

— Systematic catechumenate on the creed and the sacraments.

— A summary presentation of Christian spirituality.

— Foundations of morals.

— Notions on the liturgy.

— Introduction to the reading of the Scripture and prayer (meaning, methods).

— Mary, mother and model.

3. Claretian Formation

— The religious vocation in the Church.

— Introductory knowledge of our Founder’s life and of the Congregation.

— A summary knowledge of the Claretian charism.

4. Specific Concepts of Law

— Requisites for admission. Preparation.

— Admission to the novitiate.

— The law on admission to the novitiate.

— Basic personal qualities for admission.

— Impediments to validity of admission.

— Denials of admission addressed to the superior.

— Testimonials and reports.

   5. Other elements

— Musical preparation (song and instruments) and plastic arts.

— Linguistic preparation.

— Technical preparation.


The plan of studies for the novitiate takes into account what is required of novices in the universal law of the Church[6] and in our own law[7], as well as the guidelines of the General Assembly of Costa Rica[8].

1. Introduction to the Novitiate

— The novitiate: nature, objectives and presuppositions.

— Exposition of the formation plan (contents and experiences).

— The novice-novicemaster relationship.

2. Vocation in the Church

2.1. Introduction: calls and following

— The figure of Jesus in the Gospels.

— The mystery of Christ and of the Church.

— Manifold calls and responses in the mystery of salvation.

— Forms of life in the Church. Articulation between charisms and ministries.

2.2. Religious vocation

— Biblical-theological aspects of vocation.

— Anthropology of vocation.

— Psychopedagogy of vocation: motivations and attitudes.

3. The Claretian Religious Life

3.1. The religious life as consecrated life

— Biblical foundations of the religious life.

— Brief history of the forms of religious life.

— Essential elements of the religious life in a biblical, theological, Claretian and psychopedagogical perspective:

– Vocation.

– Consecration.

– Evangelical counsels or “charisms” (poverty, chastity,


– Following Christ.

– Charism.

– Community.

– Mission.

3.2. The Claretian missionary life

— The figure of our Father Founder, especially as seen through his Autobiography.

— History of the Congregation: founding, co-founders, first steps, development up to the death of our Founder. Succinct history of the Congregation, of its members and most characteristic works. History of the Blessed Martyrs of Barbastro. Most important documents of the Congregation.

— The Claretian charism and spirit: the charism in our Father Founder; the charism in the Congregation.

— The Constitutions and the Directory: the Constitutions as Claretian project for following Christ; genesis and contents.

— The Claretian missionary virtues.

— The three ways of living the one Claretian vocation (priests, deacons, brothers), and the different institutions that make up the Claretian Family.

4. Introduction to the Spiritual Life

4.1. Anthropological foundations of the spiritual life

— The human person, open to God.

— Human process and Christian realization.

— “Spiritual experience” and personal dispositions.

4.2. The newness of Christian existence

— Jesus Christ, the New Man, reveals the mystery of God and of humankind.

– Grace as the Father’s “unconditional love” manifested in Jesus Christ.

– Human beings created in the image of God. Dignity of the person.

– Sinful condition. Meaning and consequences.

— The renewing action of the Spirit in the believer, in the Church and in the world.

— Dynamics of the life of grace: the theological virtues.

— Growth in the spiritual life: freedom, responsibility, discernment.

   5. Introduction to Liturgy

— Nature of Liturgy and of the Church’s worship.

— Liturgical year, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Hours. Place in the Constitutions.

— Practical questions on sharing in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and of the Hours.

6. Introduction to Prayer

— Biblical and theological foundations.

— Prayer in the overall picture of the spiritual life.

— Prayer in the Claretian charism.

— Personal prayer and community prayer.

— Methods and techniques of prayer and meditation (prayer with the Word, meditation).

    7. Introduction to Cordimarian Spirituality

— Mary in the mystery of Christ and of the Church.

— Marian elements in Christian spirituality.

— Mary, model of consecrated womanhood.

— Cordimarian spirituality: the Heart of Mary in the Claretian’s missionary life.

— Updating expressions of Marian spirituality and means for intensifying it.

   8. Introduction to the Claretian Mission

— The evangelizing Church.

— The mission of religious in the Church.

— The apostolic mission of the Claretian (MCT, CPR, SW).

— Practical orientations for the apostolate.

— Apprenticeship in some techniques of the apostolate.

  9. Special Themes in the Law

— The outline of Appendix 2 can serve as a basic program.

— It should be complemented with other elements, such as: CIC 662-672, 673-683 and 684-685, 686-687.

      10. Other Elements

— Musical formation.

— Manual skills, practical offices and domestic services

— Information on the current state of the Congregation and of the Province: General Government, formation, apostolate, economy.

— Other circumstantial themes that ought to be determined.



Plans for this stage of formation take into account the indication of the universal law[9], the Second Vatican Council[10], of the “motu proprio” Ecclesiae Sanctae[11], and of our own law[12].

     1. Philosophical, Theological and Pastoral Formation

Philosophical, theological and pastoral formation is regarded as included in the plans of studies followed in the different academic centers where our members study. In case they do not figure in these plans of studies, the subjects mentioned next should be imparted in our own formation centers.

— Mariology.

— Missiology.

— Communications skills.

— Specialized pastoral ministry.

— Techniques for the analysis of reality.

2. Specifically Claretian Formation

2.1. Deepening our knowledge of our Founder

— Critical study of his life and works.

— Different monographic themes, such as: his martyr-witness, the presence of Mary in his life and missionary action, his missionary style, Claret’s apostolic creativity, his promotion of the lay apostolate, his role in the Spanish Church.

2.2. Broadening our knowledge of the history of the Congregation

— Period of consolidation.

— Period of expansion.

— Present situation.

2.3. Deepening our study of the Constitutions

— Historical development of our Constitutions.

— Renewal of the Constitutions after Vatican II.

— Interdisciplinary analysis of our Constitutions.

— Study and comparison of the great themes of Claretian life: religious vows, community life, mission and apostolate, etc.

— Inculturating the Constitutions.

— Reading the Constitutions in a lay, diaconal or presbyteral key.

2.4. Study of the renewal documents of the Congregation

— General Chapters of 1967 and 1973.

— The MCT: the major themes of the mission of the Claretian today.

— The CPR: the Claretian person in renewal.

— The SW: Servants of the Word.

         3. Other Elements

— Studies in economy and administration[13].

— Artistic formation (musical, literary and plastic arts).

— Study of languages.

— Audiovisual techniques.

— Manual skills and practical offices.

— Other circumstantial themes that ought to be determined.



1.     As a point of departure, the missionary brother should, whenever possible, complete the primary and secondary secular studies proper of each country.

2.     His pastoral and technical training should be aimed at obtaining, in appropriate institutions and centers, the preparation and titles needed in line with our mission, in keeping with the qualities of the formandus and the needs of the Major Organism and the Congregation[14].

—    Among pastoral specializations one might list: catechesis, liturgy, youth ministry, psychology, pedagogy, professorship in religion, missiology, humanities and others.

—    Among technical specializations one might include: secretarial studies and skills, administration, hostelry, social welfare, mechanics, infirmary and apprenticeship in other manual offices useful for mission.

3.     The theological formation of the missionary brother should aim, depending on the qualities of the formandus, at achieving one of the following possibilities:

—    Studying the complete course of theology to receive the corresponding degrees.

—    Studying a general three-year program of theology to receive a specific diploma.

—    Studying special themes, in keeping with what was indicated above[15].

4.     Specifically Claretian formation will have the same program indicated above[16].

5.     Other elements

—    Musical and artistic formation.

—    Study of languages.

—    Audiovisual techniques.

—    Economic concepts: budgets, balances.

—    Manual skills and practical offices: typewriting, using computers, bookbinding and domestic services.

—    Other circumstantial themes that should be determined.


From a normative point of view, besides the norms of universal law contained in the CIC, in the RFIS and in other Church documents that must always be taken into account, the points of reference of our own law are as follows:

— For perpetual profession: Dir 239.

— For the formation of deacons and priests: Dir 240, 244.

— For specialization: Dir 243, 245.

  1. Program of Preparation for Perpetual Profession

1.1. The program of review and preparation for perpetual profession, which includes the principal aspects of religious and Claretian life, must have a markedly experiential aspect in keeping with the life led during the stage of temporary vows.

1.2. Program of review and preparation for perpetual profession:

— The personal Claretian vocation of the formandus. Origin. Signs of vocation. Personal vocational itinerary.

— Balance sheet of the formative period. Positive and negative experiences.

— The fundamental perpetual option. Characteristics. Personal situation facing the perpetual option. Foreseeable outlooks.

— Personal living of the Claretian project. The Constitutions and their personal assimilation. Balance sheet of the following aspects:

– Biblical bases on which it is grounded.

– Radical following of and conformity with Christ.

– Claretian poverty.

– Claretian chastity.

– Claretian obedience.

– Claretian community.

– The Claretian mission: MCT, CPR and SW.

– The Congregation at present: persons and works.

— Personal project looking toward the future.

  2. Programs for Ministries and Holy Orders

2.1. Program for ministries

— Knowledge of the functions of lector and acolyte.

— Knowledge of the demands of lector and acolyte.

— Study of the liturgical norms proper to the functions of lector and acolyte: proclaiming the Word, serving at the altar, distributing the Eucharist.

— Study of Paul VI’s “motu proprio” Ministeria Quaedam and of the ritual for the conferral of ministries.

2.2. Program of immediate preparation for the diaconate

— History of the diaconate. New Testament data. The diaconate in the primitive Church. The diaconate in the first ecclesiastical writers.

— The sacramentality of the diaconate. Diaconal offices. Claretian dimension of diaconal functions.

— Current situation of the diaconate. Restoration of the permanent diaconate. The Claretian deacon. The new deacon in the Church of the future.

— Some norms on the diaconate: Paul VI’s “motu proprio” Ad pascendum.

— Study of the liturgical ritual: rite of ordination of deacons, of celebrating the sacrament of matrimony, on celebrating the sacrament of baptism and eucharistic worship outside of Mass.

— Liturgy of the Hours. Theology, spirituality and liturgical norms.

2.3. Program of immediate preparation for the priesthood

— Theological section:

– The ordained ministry in the biblical sources of the Old and New Testaments.

– The ordained ministry in the process of development of the faith of the Church.

– The priesthood in Vatican II. Functions and demands.

– Religious life and priesthood. Charismatic characteristics of the Claretian priest.

— Spiritual section:

– The priest’s calling to holiness.

– Spiritual demands on the priest.

– Means of priestly holiness.

— Liturgical section:

– Celebration of the sacrament of orders.

– Celebration of the sacrament of penance.

– Celebration of the anointing of the sick.

– Celebration of confirmation. Conditions for its being administered by a priest.

– Celebration of the eucharist. Study of the ritual and of liturgical norms.

— Pastoral section:

– Summary and practical review of moral and pastoral criteria regarding the sacrament of penance.

– Pastoral and pedagogical guidelines for confession.

– Guidelines for spiritual direction.

[1] Cf. Appendix 1.

[2] Cf. Dir 235.

[3] Cf. CIC 255-258; Dir 244.

[4] Cf. CC 68, 77.

[5] Cf. CIC 234 2.

[6] Cf. CIC 650 1, 652 2.

[7] Cf. CC 61; Dir 195, 196.

[8] Cf. Annales 56 (1976) 466-467.

[9] Cf. CIC 255-258, 659, 660.

[10] Cf. PC 18.

[11] Cf. ES II, 33-38.

[12] Cf. CC 72, 74, 75, 77; Dir 233, 235.

[13] Cf. Dir 543, a.

[14] Cf. Dir 236.

[15] Cf. Appendix 3, III, 1.

[16] Cf. Appendix 3, III, 2.