Seminarians from around the world in St. Augustin:
Sharing the Vision of SVD Internationality
For every seminarian from Europe who entered the St. Augustin Missionspriesterseminar in
recent years there are two corresponding seminarians from Asia. Since 1993 there are
more seminarians from Indonesia alone who entered the seminary than all the seminarians
from the different countries in Europe.
These are some of the astounding figures in the number of seminarians who went to
St. Augustin for religious missionary formation from 1993 to 2000. In 1993 four seminarians
were accepted, seven in 1994, eight in 1995, five in 1996, six in 1997, nine in 1998, eight in
1999 and nine in 2000.
There were a total of 56 seminarians who entered St. Augustin (for ESP, OTP or
ATP) since 1993. Fifteen of them from Europe, three from Africa, two from Latin America
and 36 from Asia. Of the 15 from Europe nine came from Poland, three from Slovakia and
three from Germany. From Africa, two came from Togo, the other from Ghana. From Latin
America, one each from Brazil and Ecuador. In Asia, seven came from the Philippines, six
from India, one from Vietnam and 22 from Indonesia. Hence, there are more seminarians
from Indonesia alone who entered St. Augustin than all the seminarians from Europe
combined: 22 to 15. Still, there are more seminarians from Indonesia than that of other
seminarians from other Asian countries combined: 22 to 14. Also, the number of fratres
from Asia, 36 is more than 50% than the number of seminarians from the different European
countries, 15. Is also important to stress that the number of diocesan seminarians from
China has also increased in the recent years, at present, there are thirteen priests and
fratres from China who are studying in St. Augustin.
What do these facts reveal? What is the implication of these figures in the reality of
religious formation in Germany and in Europe in general? What trends in formation can be
deduced from these figures?
The numbers reveal that indeed vocation in Europe, including Germany has drastically
declined in recent years. The situation in St. Augustin is a phenomenon that exists in many
seminaries in Europe, including in the different SVD seminaries. But the "religious crisis" in
Europe is contrasted by the vibrant and promising Churches in Asia. Many Churches in Asia
are growing despite economic, cultural and socio-religious pressures. Indeed, there is
always a reason to hope amidst the present religious crisis in Europe, the presence of
seminarians from Asia, Africa and America who are willing to share the uniqueness of their
culture in Dialogue with the German culture is a positive sign of the International character of
the Society, a glow in the dark night, a light at the end of the tunnel...