New Rector for St John Vianney Seminary
By Obakeng Innocent Masetlha & Staff Reporter – Father John Masilo Selemela of Polokwane is the new rector of St John Vianney National Seminary.
Born at Magoebaskloof, Fr Selemela is an alumnus of the national seminary. He was ordained in 1999, initially for the diocese of Tzaneen. He holds a licentiate in dogmatic theology and a doctorate from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.
He was appointed a formator at St John Vianney in 2011, and then vice-rector before succeeding outgoing rector Fr Paul Manci.
In his first address as rector, Fr Selemela told the seminarians: “The seminary’s duty is to help its students to be formed into [and for] the priesthood that the Church wants. This can only be possible and effective if seminarians are open to formation that is provided by the Church…The seminary is here to help its students so that one day they become good priests.”
Seminarians need to reflect on the two examples that they come across: the example they get inside the seminary, and the example they get from outside the seminary, Fr Selemela said in his address, which focused on the theme of prudence.
“Lack of prudence is choosing a bad example over a good example. Prudence demands that we become souls that seek for perfection” he said.
He urged seminarians to take celibacy seriously, to be disciplined and to be open about how they deal with celibacy.
The seminary will now be open to the public. On Sundays, senior students will be given a chance to gain pastoral experience in nearby parishes.
Students who participate in these pastoral activities were advised to bring Christ to the people of God, to be merciful and to be just.
It is important that seminarians practise “pastoral prudence” in their pastoral placements, Fr Selemela said.