I entered the Congregation of the Mission because I wish to offer myself to aid the formation of the next generations of priests and lay leaders in the Church. If there is any image of St. Vincent de Paul that truly inspires me, it is Vincent the reformer of the Church, the missionary, the seminary formator.

I was teaching sociology in the University of the Philippines for 15 years before I joined the Vincentians. I entered St. Vincent Seminary (SVS) in Quezon City, Philippines, in 2019. When I first heard the call to work for the formation of the clergy, there was a mix of fear and excitement in me. Fear, because the priesthood is a serious thing, a precious gift that Christ has given to the Church. Who am I to be called to form the next generation of priests? But there is also excitement, because, again, the priesthood is a serious thing, a precious gift that Christ has given to the Church. The formation of priests is definitely something that will give meaning to my own life. It is something I can commit to, with all my energies and resources. It is in embracing this call that I can become the best version of myself.

It was my exposure to seminary formation through St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST) that planted the seed of the Vincentian vocation in my heart. Having been given the opportunity to teach several courses and do research work in SVST in the past, I saw how important it is that aspiring priests be equipped for every good work they will be doing. Little did I know that, in all the years that I have been involved in the work of SVST, I was already being prepared to take on this task. It is a work that I feel most drawn to do, and a ministry that the Lord is asking me to lovingly consider.

I have, for a long time now, been asking myself: what kind of priests do we need for today’s Church? The world is becoming a more complex and difficult place to live in; if our priests are not prepared to face the challenges of the times, then our work of evangelization is stalled, and the whole Church eventually suffers. The Church of today needs priests who have a heart for the poor: they are zealous and disciplined in their work, humble and approachable in their disposition, and simple in their lifestyle. The priest of today needs to be both intelligible and industrious, a powerful preacher of the Word and an effective pastor. The Vincentian vision of priests on mission is as relevant today as it has been in the past. There is still much to be done. As Vincentians, we are being called to embrace this mission as our way of following the Lord.

Let us form the next generations of priests and lay leaders for our Church. Come and join us! Be a Vincentian missionary!

Sem. Manuel Victor J. Sapitula, CM
Second Year Theology Student
De Paul House – St. Vincent Seminary
Congregation of the Mission – Philippine Province