The Aparecida bishops tout the value of those who form priests and religious. But the true marker of their value is the welcome they provide to lay people and the extent they are involved in the formation of baptized disciples.
The third bullet point is a value, but I would question the qualifier “periodically.” All aspects of the Church, individuals and communities, parishes, dioceses, special organizations and groups–should be oriented to the mission of Christ. Our day-to-day tasks: means to that end.
316. Seminaries and houses of formation are no doubt a special setting, the school and home for the formation of disciples and missionaries. The initial formation time is a stage where future priests share life following the example of the apostolic community around the Risen Christ:
- they pray together, celebrate the same liturgy culminating in the Eucharist;
- from the Word of God they receive the teachings that gradually illuminate their minds and shape their hearts for exercising fraternal charity and justice;
- and they periodically provide pastoral services to different communities, thereby preparing to live a solid spirituality in communion with Christ the Shepherd and in docility to the action of the Spirit, becoming a personal and attractive sign of Christ in the world, according to the path of holiness proper to the priestly ministry.(Cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis 60; OT 4; Congregation for the Clergy, Directory for the ministry and life of priests, n. 4)
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.