For five days the novice masters and postulancy directors of the Dehonian congregation are gathered at the Generalate in Rome. The purpose of their work is to reflect on the realities of formators and candidates. The starting point is the experience of the participants, the new Ratio Formationis Generalis, and the guidelines of the General Council. Reflection will also be done on collaboration in geographic entities.
The first day, the 30 participants shared their joys, difficulties, challenges and expectations of this important service. Above all there were many positive comments, though the directors did not hide the profound challenges that they face, including those in cultural contexts.
The work of the groups was not limited to looking at candidate numbers; attention was paid to human and material resources, to the maturity of candidates, and to the political situations. There was discussion on the possibility of a common style of direction for novices and postulants. In particular, participants looked at whether it is more opportune to place the novitiate before or after philosophy studies. It was agreed that the programs must be adapted to the situations of different countries; it would be difficult to create a uniform path throughout the congregation. It is necessary to take into account the different situations of each entity and the paths of the candidates.
All of this has an impact on internationality and interculturalism. The first is very important for us Dehonians, but there needs to be stable experiences in order to help the candidate mature both in the Church and in the civil context. Internationality must be shared from the very beginning of formation. It was in that mindset that Fr. Leopold Mfoukouet said the following in his homily: “A soul who is worried about having many goods loses sight of the quality of life. The latter needs not the impatience of having but the patience of being.”
In the coming days participants will reflect on the opportunities offered by migratory movements, adult vocations, the vocation of the brother, and the Bishops’ Synod on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment.”