Formation for Justice and Peace Today

Formation for Justice and Peace Today


More than ever, mankind is facing serious problems of peace and justice. Not a day passes without hearing alarming news, disgusting situation that disturbs the quietude of people who aspire for peace and justice. Fifty-four years ago, the Supreme Pontiff John XXIII wrote in Pacem in Terris that “Peace on Earth—which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after—can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order ” (No. 1). This encyclical intervened in such a troubled context in the history of mankind. Sensing the imminent danger that lays before humanity, the Pope invited men and women to take into account the necessity of peace among all nations, the peace that is founded on truth, justice, charity and freedom.  Aware that without peace nothing is possible, the Pope remarked from the outset, the importance and the urgency it takes.

As for justice, Peter’s successor strengthened as follows:  «Relations between States must furthermore be regulated by justice. This necessitates both the recognition of their mutual rights and, at the same time, the fulfilment of their respective duties.” (Pacem in Terris, no. 91). This shows sufficiently that if we want our world to be really called a “common home”, to use the expression of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, it must model itself on these two great values: “Peace and Justice”.

However, some questions need to be asked. First of all, how can peace and justice be established in the world today? Secondly, how to establish peace and justice in the world?  These two main questions will guide our reflection.

  1. Educating for peace and justice

Peace is not given once and for all, it is built. It presupposes an education to be effective. According to Peter’s successor, Paul VI, “Peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men” (Popolorum Progressio, No. 76). This presupposes education.

However, “to educate” – comes from the Latin word educere – means leading to move beyond oneself and introducing to reality, towards a fullness that leads to growth. Pope Benedict XVI in his message: “Educating young people in Justice and Peace”, a message launched on the occasion of the World Day for Peace in 2012, wrote: ” Education is the most interesting and difficult adventure in life”.

To the question of the place where true education for peace and justice matures, he first places the family. Since, he thinks that parents are the first educators. The family is the primary cell of society. It is in the family that children learn human and Christian values that can allow constructive and peaceful co-existence. It is in the family that one learns to respect the rules, forgiveness and the reception of the other. It is the first school where one is educated to justice and peace.

  1. Peace is born of justice for all

Peace is above all, a gift from God. We, Christians, believe that Christ is our true peace: in Him and through the cross, God has reconciled the world and destroyed the barriers that separated us from each other (cf. Ep 2: 14-18). Peace is also a fruit of justice and an effect of charity. It also passes through the proper distribution of common goods. For the unfair distribution of the common goods can only cause frustration among people.

It is therefore urgent for the politicians to improve the living conditions of people.  The basic norm of the State must be in pursuit of justice. The aim of a just social order is to guarantee to everyone, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity, its share of the common good. A State which would not be governed by justice would be reduced to a large band of rogues, as Saint Augustine once said: “Remota itaque iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia? (The City of God, IV, 4). Justice and peace are the goals and therefore the intrinsic measure of any policy.


Peace is not an already acquired good, but the goal to which all of us must aspire. No one can elude this essential task of promoting justice and peace. It is on the basis of this awareness that each one according to his own skills and responsibilities must mobilize his spiritual, moral and material forces to work for justice and peace.

Policies, on the other hand, need to improve the working conditions that are often not compatible with family responsibilities and ultimately make it difficult to provide children with the most valuable assets. Policy-makers must help families and educational institutions to exercise their right and duty to educate. Motherly and fatherly support should never be lacking. The Church must not be left behind; by its social doctrine, it must play its prophetic role to defend the rights of the needy.

In order to be truly a peacemaker and artisan of justice, we must not only educate ourselves on this, but we should be active vectors in the community without which the world cannot be human. The advent of a better world requires education in justice and peace.


Fr. Olivier Mulombo Sukisa, CMF

(Fr. Olivier is a member of the Independent Delegation of Congo. He was ordained in 2010. After his priestly ordination, he was assigned as vicar and econome at Pay-Kongila, then at Saint Ignace Masamba. Later, he was designated as administrator and formator at the Pere Claret Scholasticate in Mont-Ngafula Kimbondo (Kinshasa, R. D. Congo). Today, he studies at Pontificia Università Gregoriana (Rome, Italy) taking a specialization in dogmatic theology.



The Claretian Formation: Objective and Frame of Reference: The General Plan of Formation (GPF) rightly presents a pen picture of the entire formation process that we need to undergo in forming the new generation. It obviously speaks, “The current world offers us both new hopes and hitherto unheard of challenges that affect our formation” (GPF 43).  The “current world” is the reference of the new generation. Alongside with the positive elements of “hopes”, it furnishes us with a caution. Although written 22 years ago, the GPF classifies the tendencies of the new generation under the different heads: the socio-cultural, ecclesial and Congregational situations (44-49). With the influence of media in the world today, there are no longer continental disparities in qualifying the new generation.

Let us explore and understand the context of this new generation. A generation is a theoretical construct therefore it is the continuity of human progress and development. In our formation centers, we get vocations from the new breed of the youth of today.  They have lots of advancements both in up building and jeopardizing. The modern youth perceive the future based from career paths and planning. In addition to this, the concepts of the new generation revolve around consumerism, individualism, materialism and hedonistic interpretation of human existence.  The distortion of human sexuality and freedom really enthrall the youth of our times and deviate themselves away from reaching near to God in silence.  The Catholic community now modeled on diverse and at times, contradictory to the values and practices of the Catholics.

In light of this context, in discerning one’s call to religious life or to a ministry, it is extremely important to keep in mind that this particular vocation is primarily a calling to dedicate one’s life to the service of God. Nevertheless, it is much different from just deciding to choose a particular career. It is not just a call to do anything, to go anywhere, or to become somebody else; though these may be part of the response. To point out the process of discerning one’s call, it is an effort of both human and divine.  It is to choose a state of being that expresses one’s best in response to God’s providential care and love. As such, it can never be undertaken alone since it calls for the interaction of two persons – the person of the discerner and the Person of God. Thus, this discernment is always within the context of one’s personal relationship with God.

Moreover, the Claretian Formation envisages among the new generation a revitalized formation process by growing deeper in our identity as missionaries, which is pointing towards our holy founder St. Claret, with his refined charism. In our formation centers we need to produce a new breed of consecrated persons who are spiritually prepared, psychologically and emotionally mature to face the challenges of the new generations for a constant and radical transformation.

The Claretian formative plans are rich in contents. But to re-shape this new breed of candidates who are presented before us according to the spiritual rootedness of our Congregation is a task and a challenge, a task wherein a formator should walk shoulder to shoulder with the formandi.  Relentlessly, it needs personal accompaniment of the formator, and to take ‘rest’ on follow up is the loophole wherein we lose the formandi; a challenge wherein we need to be a Claretian formator and take, U-turn if we ever lost our specific identity. If we fail to address the realities and challenges of the new generation in their vocational discernment, we need to understand and, “acknowledge that we are still not full of fire that burned in the heart of St. Claret” (GPF 48). Therefore, the formators in our formation centers should be a life witness to the formandi, true sons of the Heart of the Blessed Mother. The world is fast changing, and we the Claretians need to move faster through our spiritual revival, encompassing the values and virtues that our Holy Founder identified as mandatory for his missionaries.

Fr. Siby Njavallikunnel, CMF
Prefect of Formation & Spirituality
St. Thomas Province, India

(Fr. Siby had been a Vocation Promoter and Prefect of Students for three years and was also an econome of the aspirancy community for another three years. He was once a parish priest before serving as school principal for thirteen years. Currently, he is the Prefect of Formation of St. Thomas Province.)



A continuación se muestra una reflexión sobre interculturalidad escrita por el P. Joaquín Medina, CMFÉl se desempeñó como formador en Paraguay 1989-2012. Ahora es el Prefecto de Formación de San José del Sur y, al mismo tiempo, sirve como Prefecto de Estudiantes en una comunidad de formación intercultural desde el 2013. 


Mi padre fue un arameo errante…

Hablar de interculturalidad no puedo hacerlo sino partiendo de mi propia experiencia. Como en mi caso, quizás para muchos de nosotros puede haber significado ya un primer “choque cultural” y un proceso de adaptación el hecho de pasar de nuestro ambiente cultural familiar al de la cultura propia de la vida religiosa y la congregación. De mi parte, además, se une la historia de una familia “migrante”, que ha debido pasar por distintas regiones y culturas de España en unos momentos en que se vivía una fuerte reivindicación de las diferentes identidades culturales-nacionales. A esto se ha sumado la experiencia de dejar la tierra y cultura al ser destinado a América (Paraguay).

Mi experiencia, por lo tanto, puedo considerar que siempre ha sido la de la convivencia en una “cierta” multiculturalidad (aunque quizás no con las características tan complejas que hoy acompañan a esta realidad).

Creo que es importante el hacernos conscientes de que quizás todos, en una u otra medida, hemos participado de la diversidad y no de lo que, quizás en otro tiempo, hayan podido ser comunidades más uniformes. Al menos mi experiencia ha sido la de convivir con gente del campo y de la ciudad, de distintas regiones geográficas y culturales y, en la actualizad, de distintos países y continentes.

También soy plenamente consciente de que esto es un desafío del que ya no podremos desentendernos, y no sólo por el hecho de que podamos compartir comunidades multiculturales y multinacionales, sino también por otras circunstancias que están marcando nuestras comunidades y nuestra sociedad: las diferencias y distancias generacionales son un hecho evidente; el acelerado proceso de cambio cultural que vivimos hace que los cambios generacionales se estén produciendo con muy pocos años de intervalo; las nuevas realidades sociofamiliares (cambio del modelo social y de la estructura familiar) determinan que las nuevas generaciones sean portadoras de un universo afectivo y valorativo muy diferente al vigente hasta hace pocos años.

La convivencia en la diversidad es, sin lugar a dudas, un desafío y una riqueza. Compartir el día a día con hermanos que incluso ante cosas insignificantes de la vida diaria pueden tener sentimiento y actitudes diferentes, es un hecho que no está exento de conflictos y de incomprensiones (dificultad para comprender algo que no entra en tus esquemas y que otro lo vive como algo natural sin ningún cuestionamiento) De mi parte, en mi etapa de formando, he valorado como una riqueza, no exenta de momentos de sufrimiento, pero valiosa, el enfrentar el desafío de salir de la propia seguridad cultural y entrar en contacto con otras culturas diferentes: salir fuera del propio país es algo que a mí personalmente me ha ayudado a replantear mis propias convicciones y comportamientos, a intentar verlos desde otro punto de vista, y a comprender mi propia cultura observándola “desde afuera”, desde el ojo crítico del extraño… Por lo mismo este tipo de experiencias es algo que recomiendo y valoro como instrumento formativo importante, sobre todo para nosotros que hemos de fomentar “el sentido de catolicidad para ir a todas las partes del mundo y con espíritu abierto estimar grandemente las costumbres de los pueblos y sus valores culturales y religiosos” (CC. 48)

Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar…

En medio de esta realidad desafiante, que ya forma parte de nuestra vida, considero que al igual que hay cosas que lo enriquecen y facilitan, también hay situaciones que hacen más difícil la convivencia y el diálogo intercultural, situaciones que no siempre se pueden salvar fácilmente:

  • Cuando a la diferencia cultural se unen prejuicios y experiencias históricas dolorosas difíciles de superar (muchas veces está implicado el ámbito afectivo donde no entra en juego lo racional: en ocasiones puede resultar más fácil la convivencia-confianza con personas de culturas distantes que entre personas provenientes de culturas-pueblos cercanos pero que han vivido experiencias históricas de conflictos y confrontación)
  • Cuando entran en juego problemas derivados de búsqueda de poder y de reconocimiento o actitudes de desprecio o minusvaloración de otras culturas

Nuestro mundo es complejo y las respuestas simples no nos sirven. Tampoco podemos pretender encontrar recetas mágicas que sirvan de solución a todos los problemas y situaciones. Creo que lo que se puede plantear para favorecer la convivencia intercultural son una serie de actitudes y convicciones que todos habremos de internalizar:

  • Todos tenemos prejuicios. Todos podemos estar afectados por diversas manifestaciones de sentimientos de inferioridad y por la permanente actitud de compararnos con otros
  • Hay distintos niveles, grados y motivos de conflicto en las tensiones que se generan en los encuentros interculturales; hay experiencias históricas y condicionamientos afectivos que no siempre son fáciles de superar
  • La convivencia multicultural requiere de personas sanas y equilibradas, y habremos de cuidar en la formación todo lo que ayude en este ámbito; pero surge en seguida la pregunta ¿quién está sano?
  • Es importante no perder la identidad (no renegar de la misma), ser muy conscientes de ella y, al mismo tiempo, formar en la libertad y valentía de asumir cuanto de rico y valioso encontremos en otras culturas
  • La formación habrá de ayudar a crear la actitud de apertura al conocimiento de realidades nuevas: avivar en nosotros el deseo de conocer desde dentro otras realidades
  • También será importante valorar positivamente y como una riqueza la existencia de diferencias y matices en el modo de comprender las cosas y estar ante la realidad (una sana comprensión del valor de la tolerancia)
  • Habremos de fortalecer todo lo que ayude a aprender a escuchar, a asumir como un valor fundamental el interesarnos vitalmente por el otro
  • Es muy importante fomentar la capacidad de crear vínculos sanos y espacios de confianza (son las motivaciones afectivas más que las racionales las que sostienen nuestra vida y nuestra convivencia)

La convivencia multiétnica, multicultural y transgeneracional es un signo de los tiempos, cargado de posibilidades y dificultades. Quizás las nuevas generaciones son más sensibles y tienen una mayor apertura a este desafío (al menos en el ámbito de una mayor tolerancia y aceptación de la diversidad) De todas formas es una prioridad que en el acompañamiento formativo se dialogue y se ofrezcan los recursos necesarios para capacitar a esta convivencia y para verbalizar las inevitables dificultades que surjan en el camino.