For the fourth time, a formation course for Dehonian formators has been organized in Rome by the Congregation of Priests of the Sacred Heart. Nineteen Dehonian confreres from all over the world are taking part in the course, which just got underway. Fr. Zeferino Policarpo, SCJ, of the Portuguese Province, has worked to ensure that everyone feels welcome and can prepare for future service in formation. The first course was organized in 2005-2006 with 20 participants. Over the years, the various editions of the same course saw the participation of 53 Dehonians, of whom, 40 work in formation. “The course has always been desired by the successive General Chapters and by the various international meetings. We realize that the time in which we live requires us to have a well-trained formation staff to accompany the candidates in the houses of formation,” said Fr. Zeferino, who organized the course on behalf of the General Councilor responsible for formation.
The course is divided into two interesting and different parts. The first part, just begun, includes lessons held at the International College of Rome by over 40 different teachers, both Dehonian confreres and professors from Roman universities. The program covers not only strictly Dehonian or consecrated life in general, but also themes of discernment and spiritual accompaniment. Beyond the basic issues, there will be time for the study of concerns surrounding sexual abuse, and communication.
In the second semester, the participants will take part in a course at the Salesian University in Rome.
“First of all, it is a wonderful opportunity for personal growth for me. I hope to be able to deepen some aspects of Dehonian formation and of consecrated life that make me useful for the young men of my entity in accompanying them in discernment,” said Fr. Nelber Rodriquez, SCJ, from the Brazilian Province of Sao Paulo. He is the fourth confrere of his province to participate in the course.
Fr. Joseph-Thien Dinh, SCJ, of the US Province, is very enthusiastic about the program: “It will be an interesting year, but at the same time, very demanding with much material to read.” Among the challenges to be faced is use of a new language: Italian. Fr. Joseph said that the professors will need patience as the students speak Italian at the “level of an Italian child.”
The course will end with a pilgrimage to the Holy Land scheduled for the month of July, 2019. More on this trip, open to all confreres involved in formation, will soon be available on the website: www.luoghidehoniani.org/terra-santa