Debates on Faith Related Issues

This practice is more than merely a brain storming enhancement. I would like to share with you how we organise it.

About the practice: Seminarians (all or selected individuals) are divided into three groups. Two groups must have the same number of members. Each group may have one to three members. It is not advisable to have more than that.  The first set will defend church’s position, the second set should be against the stand of the church (based on scientific, atheist or other perspectives) and the third set will be composed of a panel of journalists, jury and tv animators which will conduct the discussion.

Themes or Questions are from various current issues or challenges that the church is facing. It could also be any dogma or popular issues. For example, Sexual issues, Relevance of religious life, NTIC, Vows, African concerns, Community life, Inculturation etc.,

Method and guide lines: Once a theme is chosen, seminarians enrol freely in any of the groups depending obviously on their personal interest or on their mastery of a given topic.  However, it can happen that the organizers assign students to any of the groups. They (each group) must have at least three preparatory meetings by topic before the open debate. Before the start, panellists should give some instructions or guide lines. Time should be set from the beginning (for example, 30 minutes). Each one is invited to be clear and precise in their arguments to persuade and convince the audience.

Goals: To be clear and systematic on the position of the church about various issues; to defend one’s arguments on the issues; to learn how to handle critical and useful discussions / debates; it helps to become aware of emotional arousals of seminarians, to learn ones self control and to deepen one’s faith and learn discernment.  

Fr Jean Baptiste Makilandi, Cameroon

Faith Sharing and Journal Writing

Faith sharing

once a week  the students gather in small groups to pray rosary creatively and share their faith journey of that week. It is based on their personal reading, reflection and experiential level in day today life.  Through this practice they are able to know each other more deeply and the relationship among themselves and the community is strengthened. It helps them to personalize and assimilate day to day experiences.

 Personal journal writing

 At the end of each day the students write briefly about their day especially the prevalent feelings and thoughts during that day. Now and then they go back to read and appreciate their growth process seen through the journal. It is also very helpful on the day of monthly recollection to do an evaluation of the month. They say that this helps them to keep steady and be conscious of their growth at all levels.

– Sr. Rani Machael RMI

Experiencia formativa

Desde que me comunicaron el destino como Prefecto de Estudiantes en el Teologado de Granada se despertaron en mí dos grandes sentimientos, uno de agradecimiento por la confianza que la Congregación depositaba en mí ante tal ministerio, y, por otro lado, de inseguridad ante las dudas de estar a la altura que demanda. Recordaba la sabiduría y la talla humana y cristiana de los formadores que me acompañaron en el proceso de iniciación y maduración en la vida claretiana, y veía el “listón” muy alto. Una vez comenzada la misión que el Señor me encomienda en esta etapa de mi vida he podido sentir de forma muy palpable la gracia de Dios por la asistencia de su Espíritu y la ayuda inestimable de los otros dos miembros del Equipo Formativo, con los que suelo tener una reunión mensual en la que valoramos la marcha de la vida formativa, hacemos propuestas de mejora e informamos de nuestros calendarios.

                Tengo que seguir agradeciendo al Señor y al Corazón de María el enriquecimiento que dicha tarea me ha supuesto en este tiempo, a nivel personal pues dicho servicio me exige estar en una continua tensión de hábitos y costumbres que no desedifiquen a los muchachos, y a nivel formativo pues me ha introducido en un estudio de contenidos en la Vida Consagrada y espiritual que de otra manera hubiese desplazado para otro momento de esos que nunca terminan por llegar.

                Cuando contemplo el grupo de formandos puedo constatar, por otro lado, el hermoso colorido de la Congregación por la variedad cultural de sus miembros y por la forma que tiene Dios de desplegar nuestro carisma claretiano con múltiples carismas personales que lo matizan y dinamizan.

                Destacaría siete grandes momentos en los que se desarrolla el trabajo formativo:

  1. En la vida de oración comunitaria y personal. Destacaría en este momento el lugar privilegiado que ocupa la celebración de la eucaristía como momento de comunión y de compartir la vida iluminada por la Palabra de Dios.
  2. En la formación teológica, tanto a nivel académico en la Facultad de Teología de Granada como a nivel de estudio e integración de contenidos en la casa.
  3. El desempeño de alguna actividad apostólica que ayude a adquirir destrezas para la misión y a abrir el corazón a la misión para la que un día están llamados. Esta actividad apostólica la desempeñan de forma ordinaria en las parroquias y de forma extraordinaria una semana durante el curso con el Equipo Misionero o con el Equipo de Pastoral Juvenil; este curso nos hemos iniciado en la participación en uno de nuestros Colegios para una campaña vocacional que ha dado un magnífico resultado tanto para el Colegio como para los dos estudiantes que han participado.
  4. Los encuentros formativos de una hora y media a la semana para seguir profundizando en el carisma, la vida espiritual y consagrada, y aquellos aspectos que puedan ser útiles para el ejercicio del ministerio y la vida misionera. Además de esto dedicamos un tiempo para la formación musical los sábados.
  5. Los momentos de recreación y esparcimiento comunitario: comidas, juegos, deporte, excursiones, rutas de senderismo…
  6. Trabajo manual.
  7. Y, por supuesto, el tiempo dedicado al acompañamiento personal para ayudar a seguir respondiendo desde la fe a la vocación a la que el Señor les llama e ir integrando de forma armónica el interés que todos tenemos de una formación integral.

En definitiva, para mí está resultando una tarea apasionante de sembrar con cariño en el corazón de nuestros estudiantes la semilla del Evangelio y no estorbar mucho la acción del Espíritu de Dios.

P. Juan Antonio Lamarca Carrasco cmf (Granada)

Fraternal Feedback

Fraternal Feedback

This is a practice that is done in many formation communities. But they can have different formats. I would like to share a format we tried last year.

fraternity Practice: Seminarians sit in half circle. All have enough sheets of paper and a pen. The prefect is present and animates the session. For 10-15 minutes a seminarian sits in a chair kept in a place where all others can see him. When the prefect gives a signal, after a pause all begin to write first about the strengths of the seminarian in point. Then they also list things/areas they would like the seminarian to improve. All this is done in silence. Soft, soulful music can be played. When others write about him, the seminarian in the chair does the same on himself. He lists his strengths and areas to improve as he sees himself. The practice comes to an end when everyone has had a chance to sit in the chair in the middle.

 What follows: the prefect collects the papers and he creates a template with three columns: 1) Strengths; 2) Points for consideration; and 3) Your evaluation about yourself.

And he puts under relevant columns what was written during the practice. On top he writes the name of the seminarian. In the personal talk the material is taken up for discussion. A variety of things can be done: the prefect can ask the seminarian to read what he has written about himself and then to see if there are points that resonate with what others have said about him; prefect can ask if there is anything that a significant number of people have written but he was unaware of; prefect can ask him to single out a few points that he would like to consider for his own growth; prefect can affirm some of the observations others have made or he himself has made about him. The material can be taken up in subsequent personal conferences as well.

 We found it to be a useful practice, time-consuming though. This is a communal practice done with the growth of the person in view. The sheet prepared by the prefect can be kept in the personal file of the seminarian. It helps evaluations in different stages. Consistent patterns can be detected.

 (N.B.: The seminarians have to be given a good orientation to the whole exercise and be persuaded to do it seriously. A short presentation on Johari Window before getting into the practice is a good thing to do as we did. They have to be “warned” about negativity dominance and prejudices getting in the way).

 Joseph Jeyaseelan, CMF

Sri Lanka

Peregrinación a los “Santos Lugares Claretianos”

Peregrinación a los “Santos Lugares Claretianos”

Experiencia de Peregrinación a los “Santos Lugares Claretianos”

steps  Siendo maestro de novicios en España he acompañado a los novicios realizando una peregrinación a los “santos lugares” claretianos: Vic, Sallent, y otros (Barbastro). Durante varios años nos acompañaba un claretiano especialista en el carisma claretiano, hombre muy espiritual y buen conocedor de esos lugares: el P. José María Viñas.

La experiencia fue muy positiva para los formandos. Además se solía hacer en conjunto con los novicios de todos los noviciados de Iberia. Fue una experiencia muy rica por el contacto con las raíces del Fundador, etc., y por tener la oportunidad de compartir entre bastantes jóvenes novicios de diversos centros formativos.

 Siendo maestro de novicios en Bolivia, en cambio, no era posible emprender esa peregrinación a los santos lugares claretianos, por razones obvias. Se suplía de alguna manera: mediante visita virtual. Hoy día queda el recurso a la visita virtual. No es lo mismo, ciertamente. Pero puede ser válido. E incluso puede que se requiera aumentar la mística motivadora para realizar provechosamente este viaje virtual.

La peregrinación a los lugares carismáticos –sea real, sea virtual–, debe conducir a lo que en definitiva se pretende: lograr que se despierte con mayor viveza el espíritu de comunión con los fundadores y con la tradición o historia del instituto. Es un viaje al pasado para entrar en contacto con la inspiración originaria. Y es, a la vez, un proyectarse hacia el futuro poniendo las bases para impulsar con nuevo vigor la vivencia de la consagración religiosa y la misión del instituto.

P. José San Román cmf.

Monthly Talent show – Sri Lanka

Monthly Talent show – Sri Lanka

MONTHLY TALENT SHOW

In St. Claret Minor Seminary, Negombo in Sri Lanka we have the traditional practice of organizing a Literary Association Meeting which is an occasion for exhibiting and developing the talents of students. It is conducted once or, at times, even twice in a month. One meeting is presided over by a resource person outside the student body, often a Claretian missionary and the other by one of the students. The one who presides over the meeting sharetalents his views about the topic of the meeting and offers feedback on the programs presented.

The students participate in the meeting actively bringing out their talents in a creative way. They are encouraged to perform individually as well as in a group, speeches, songs, mono act, mimicry, group music, dramas and so on. They participate in these items with much interest and enthusiasm and strive to bring out their best Mutual encouragement and cooperation make the items more interesting and enjoyable.

This form of monthly talent show provides the students a suitable platform to manifest and express their God-given talents and capabilities. It enhances their personal growth and encourages team work and mutual empowerment. Students who shy away from public appearance are encouraged to come out in the open and express themselves. A student is encouraged seek help from his companions and cooperate with others with his gifts. Thus all the students are challenged to excel in their talents by making use of the opportunity and help from others including their formators.

The students are also accompanied through personal dialogues and group conferences and, as a result, they become more confident in themselves and generous to serve others with their talents.

Fr. S. K. Jude Behin, cmf, Sri Lanka