Our Lady of Fatima Novitiate (BRM Province) welcomed novices in 2020 from the Region of Venezuela and the other Brazilian entities: BRE Province, BSP Province and BSL District. Rubens Rieg, the novice master, tells us a little about this experience:
Fr. Rubens, in a year marked by Covid-19, how has this reflected positively and negatively on the novitiate community?
Novitiate is a time, we live the spirituality of the Heart of Jesus and the spiritual heritage of Father Dehon in a more intense way but at the same time, it is an intense experience of the community. So the pandemic helped, in a way, our community to face the challenges that are proper of a fraternity very quickly because we were deprived of going out for some kind of pastoral work and we were living very alone among ourselves.
On the other hand, it hurts the formation that people were not able to interact with the novitiate community through the celebrations and masses. Without a doubt, this was poverty.
What is it like to be a formator in this international and intercultural community?
Working in an intercultural community is great beauty and at the same time, equal responsibility. In such a reality there is greater openness to sensitivity toward the other. In an intercultural reality, there are countless situations to live all the pages of the Gospel, both those of joy and mercy.
How do you see the near future of the Congregation?
The near future of the Congregation will certainly be marked by religious who know how to die a little to themselves and their culture. And know how to welcome the other for the sake of the Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus. If we are not like this, we will be poorer as a Congregation and we will serve the Kingdom less.
Frater João Pedro Kubereski (BRM) was one of the 17 young men who made their first religious profession. We also talked with him to get a feel for this new generation that is joining our mission.
Frater, in a year when humanity stayed at home, how did you, as novices, experience this?
During this typical year, we have lived reclusively in the cloister of the novitiate. The stage of formation we have experienced already aims at seclusion in itself, but the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced even more the need for an internal life. During many exchanges among us novices, we emphasized that we were privileged to be safe inside the house, but at the same time we did not live so intensively the relationship with the civil society, which led us to question how we should help the faithful to face the drama of fear and insecurity when it was time to leave the novitiate in February, since we were recollected. Another aspect was the great concern for our elderly confreres who lived with us, because they are more likely to be infected, due to their fragile health. All this made for a different experience of the novitiate year.
How will your formation continue after your religious profession?
As the first mission entrusted to me by the BRM Province, I am residing in the Seminary São José, in Rio Negrinho/SC, which houses the stages of Minor Seminary (high school) and Propedêutico. My path to follow here is to live the practical training stage together with the religious community formed here, helping, as much as possible, with the formation of the young people who live with us in this house. I also intend to dedicate myself to some complementary studies.
What strikes you about the Dehonians? Why did you choose the Dehonians?
What impresses me about the Dehonians is the joy that shows on the face of each one, as well as the way of speaking about the things of God. I have had the pleasant opportunity to meet religious from other Provinces and different countries and they all have something in common: the joyful and captivating way of announcing the Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus, as if they had all gone through the same school, which they did, at the School of the Heart of Jesus.
I chose the Dehonians initially because these religious attend my parish of origin, Puríssimo Coração de Maria, in São Bento do Sul/SC. After I entered the Congregation, what strengthened my desire to continue in the Congregation was the breadth of its charism, which allows me to live Love and Reparation in all kinds of works and missions, whether in parishes, schools, houses of formation, social works, ad extra missions, among others.
What are your hopes for the Congregation?
I hope that the Congregation will continue to live the legacy left by Venerable Father Leo Dehon: to bring Christ to the heart of the world and to bring the world to the Heart of Christ. This undertaking will only be carried out if we, religious, live an intense experience with this most Sacred Heart, who loved us and gave himself up for us. This project is worth living and proof of this are the many testimonies of confreres who knew how to live and work for the Kingdom with untiring dedication, being our everyday saints. We must cherish the memory of so many who have gone before us in this great Dehonian family of ours so that, with the firm certainty that the road has already been travelled, we can move forward in our mission.