A brief information about the Two-day meeting for the Formation for Formators held in Dehon Vidya Sadhan, Aluva.
Dear conferrers, greetings and prayers to all. We are very glad to share with you about the gathering of the formators, which took place on December 9th & 10th. There was a good participation as there were representatives from each of the formation houses in our District. The participants who represented their respective formation communities were:
Fr. McQueen (novitiate, Sacred Heart Ashram), Fr. Martin, Fr. Ravi (Minor seminary, Dehon Bavan); Fr. Vimal (seniror aspirancy, Dehon Jyothi), Fr. Rinu (Postulancy, Dehon Vidya Sadan), Fr. Christy, Br. Sajeevan, Br. Harish (Philosophy, Dehon Vidya Sadan) Fr. Michael Augustine (Theology, Christu Dehon Nivas), Fr. Praveen (Minor seminary, Dehon Prema Nilayam).
Two resource persons were invited, namely Sr. Preetha (sisters of Nazareth) and Fr. Tomy (Diocese of Chenganachery), the graduates from the Institute of Psychology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. They gave us the inspirational, practical and meaningful inputs to improve the quality of our current formation system.
First day, sister Preetha spoke about the importance of “Human affective Maturity”. Each person in formation is a gift and given to the formators as such to open and to enhance. The task of a formator is to open the given gift with patience and to deal with it with utmost care and concern. To meet this end, each formator should be disposed to accompany the formees in their vocational journey. She mainly emphasized that an affective maturity exists when one’s energy is not taken up by defending and gratifying the self. Therefore much time and energy must be given by the formators to the candidates in order to observe their conscious, pre-conscious and unconscious levels. She also spoke about the qualities of a good formator, such as: to be a person of holiness, a person of experience, a person of learning, a person of discernment and a person who allows the Spirit to guide and inspire.
Second day, Father Tomy dealt with the present day challenges in priestly formation mainly those concerning the Priestly Identity and one’s relationship with others. Currently, our priestly identity is becoming more and more secular and the secular status over-turns it. There is a famous saying, “when the clergy became secular, the faithful sought their religiosity elsewhere”. Therefore the responsibility of a formator is to help develop the candidates’ self-esteem (make them to feel proud to be a religious). It implies that the candidates in formation need to grow and mature in the esteem for the self, owning their family roots which help them to grow as mature religious. Fr. Tomy also mentioned three significant characteristic traits of the genuine priestly vocation namely: capacity for insight; growth in self-esteem; and a capacity for authentic interpersonal relationships.
Besides these input sessions, the formators have also had the opportunity to share their experiences and challenges emerging from their role as the formators. The formators feel that there should be a regular collaboration between the District administration and those engaged in formation to achieve the goals of formation; and they also felt that those engaged in formation should be in touch to mutually exchange and express their views concerning formation, to promote and to maintain the continuity and constancy from one stage of formation to the successive stages. There has been also a suggestion to prepare and invest confreres to assume this important task as formators, as the future of the Church and the Congregation depends on the quality formation. We cannot expect to have good fruits without having formidable roots.
The two day gathering came to an end with a visit to the neighboring Dehon Bavan formation community, Kumbalanghy. Our confreres over there extended their hospitality and made us to feel at home. They also offered a special meal followed by couple of cultural programs from our young seminarians. We the participants of this two day meet, extend our gratitude to our District Administration who made this gathering possible, the formation commission for their initiative and the Dehon Vidya Sadan community for fraternally hosting this gathering.