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DIS PhD F36 D56 2003 (COL)
Families of model priests : a phenomenological inquiry
by Dimaranan, Vitaliano S.
xii, 381 leaves: col. ill.; 28 cm.

©2003 Published by The Author
Dissertation (Doctor of Philosophy in Child and Family Studies) -- Miriam College, 2003.
ABSTRACT:  The study described the phenomenon of priests' families being instrumental in the rise, growth, and continuing development of their priestly vocations through narratives of their experience in fostering, helping or supporting them as them as they pursued, and continue to traverse the path of catholic priesthood. Using a systems' perspective to family psychology and development, the study sought to clarify the essence, form and structure of these families' experiences. Empirical Phenomenological Psychology was the approach use to procure rich and vivid accounts of the family members, in order to unveil the essence and meanings of their experience of supporting a son or a brother in his journey towards priesthood. A modified integrated Existential-Phenomenological Psychological method was used to analyze and interpret the data. Eight secular and religious priests and their families of origin from the Archdiocese of Manila, and its neighboring dioceses, excepting one who worked in southern Philippines, were purposively selected, based on the following loose criteria: 1) priests are considered by and large by their respective communities as relatively good role models and who are reputed to be in good standing; 2) families with al least one parent still living; 3) priest are within the first fifteen years of priesthood, excepting one, who had been in ministry in 19 years. The selection of co-researcher priests' families was done through the assistance of nominators from the clergy and lay people alike, who were either peers, mentors, or students, or close associates of the priests. The depth phenomenological interview was the sole technique of data generation. A total of 29 family members participated in tape-recorded interviews wherein they were asked to narrate the circumstances and details about the origin of the priest' vocation, and to describe their experience of being supported by, or giving support, as the case may be, to the information, training and on going perseverance of the priest in active ministry. Serial interviews were undertaken in most cases in order to verify the accuracy of the transcript and to allow them to share additional insights. A highlight of the interview was what image co-researchers would compare their experience of supporting a vocation with. The co-researchers' experiences embedded in text were analyzed using the primary researchers' own modified integrated hermeneutical cycle based on Karlsson's Existential-Phenomenological Psychological Method which entailed a continuous moving in and out of the text, alternately focusing on whole and parts, and employing recurrently the researcher's empathic and interpretive understandings of the same, thus moving from naïve or textural to structural expressions of meaning. The process involves 1) epoche or bracketing; 2) entering into and empathic dwelling on the text; 3) searching for psychological constituent themes and meaning; 4) identifying comprehensive constituent psychological theme, expressed in terms of situated structures; and 5) an overall synthesis of themes expressed in terms of general structures of meaning. The eight families experience of the overall support structure for vacations to the priesthood of their relative revolve around five main thematic clusters: 1) the family system as the main and basic structural framework of support; 2) I the individual person and his or her role in this framework; 3) extra-familiar and extra-personal sources of structural support for vacations; 4) religious and spiritually themes that are indispensable elements of this support structure; and 5) other elements that help make for a broader and deeper understanding of the meaning of the experience. The first cluster refers to the family as the root and foundation of priestly vocation. The main supporting beams of this family support are: 1) family culture, 2) family traits, 3) family relationship, and 4) family history. The second cluster includes the person of the priest himself, the father, the mother, siblings and role model or mentors. Under the cluster of religious and spiritually themes are: 1) the understanding of the meaning of vocation; 2) the aspect of a Divine-human cooperation in support of vocation; and 3)t5he individuals moral virtues and their roles. Family supports for vocations, the last and fifth main cluster has as sub-themes the following: 1) varying dynamics and levels of family support for vocations; and 2) the theme of mutuality in the support that family and priest give to each other. As summative expression of the general structure of support, the eight priests' families provided six graphic analogies and compared family support for vocations with: 1) the3 vocation-tree image; 2) the vocation-bridge analogy; 3) the vocation-tower description; 4) the vocation-garden representation; 5) the vocation-home comparison; and 6) the vocation-mother symbolism. All six points to two sides of the same coin: tenderness and nurturance on the one hand, and solid stability and strength, on the other. Binding elements of the two sides are the twin concepts of mutuality and movement, which stand for life and love within the family supportive of priestly vocations. The findings of the inquiry point to significant implications both on the level of theory and practice in both the human and the sacred in sciences. O the theoretical plane, most significant is the affirmation of the family systems' approach to family psychology and counseling. The study also has some implications on the dogmatic and moral theological disciplines, in particular, the theology of the family and the priesthood. On the practical plane, the study recommends: 1) pastoral theology and practice ought to consider family and vocations ministry as inseparable from each other, and 2) the Church ought to dialogue more with the human sciences in order to put to good use vocation promoters and seminary personnel appreciate fully the import of the family background of the candidates for the priesthood. Formation programs for families of seminarian, ought to be integrated in the seminary programs and pastoral planners and ecclesiastical leaders ought to formulate holistic programs based on the family systems approach. On the methodological plane, the modified integrated hermeneutical approach used, showed the importance of making clear mental distinctions between all six stages, thus highlighting, too, the circular, spiral nature of the hermeneutical interpretive cycle. True to its nature as an appreciative, phenomenological inquiry that seeks to honor the full breadth of human experience, the study ends where it began- the family, the nestle and cradle of priestly vocation. The family is part of a bigger schema called the oikonomia of priestly vocations, which. Like a big household, consists of many role players: the individual persons of the priest himself, the family system, the clan, the community, and the church. The limitations of this study, should serve as an invitation for other researchers to try to find out which families would most likely produce uncommitted, unfaithful and otherwise less than ideal priests.
Book ID 1000082083
Priests -- Philippines -- Personal Narratives
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