Responsible Agents and Structures of Animation and Coordination
243. Because of its extraordinary importance, responsibility for growth in vocation and for missionary formation belongs to the whole Congregation, Province and formation community. It is entrusted in a special way to the Superiors of these different levels. It is also carried out by other personal intermediaries and through various structures of vocational and formative animation and coordination.
1. The Superiors of the Congregation
244. Primary responsibility for animating and coordinating vocation ministry and formation rests with the Superiors of the Congregation, in keeping with the different levels of their jurisdiction and with the criteria indicated by the Church and the Congregation. Superiors should regard it as a distinctive mission of their own, to strive to build up this fraternal community in Christ.
245. Superiors fulfill these functions either personally or through their government team, or else by delegating some of these functions to other persons or even to structures of governance, vocation ministry or formation. Their functioning is in some cases regulated by the norms of universal and particular law, which explicitly spell out the ways and times in which they ought to intervene. In other cases, they act on their own initiative or in keeping with the urgent need or usefulness to the Congregation, Organism and Community.
246. Among the overall responsibilities that the Constitutions assign to Superiors, we find the following:
— The Major Superior must strive to make the whole Organism conscious of and involved in promoting vocations and to exercise the greatest diligence in fostering the advancement of those in formation and of the other members of the Organism.
247. By their example, words and actions, Superiors must serve as guide, stimulus and help for the vocational and formative sectors of the Congregation.
— They will consider promoting vocations and formation, both initial and ongoing, as a priority to which they must devote special attention and dedication.
— They will set practical criteria for vocations and formation within their own jurisdiction, and they will establish in it whatever their respective chapters and assemblies have disposed, in keeping with the principles and guidelines of the Congregation.
— After a serious process of discernment, they will give painstaking attention and care to applying the norms and criteria of the Church and the Congregation in everything that refers to the admission and dismissal of candidates to profession and to holy orders.
— In keeping with the norms of our own law, they will organize structures of animation and coordination (teams, councils, secretariats or commissions) for vocation ministry and for initial and ongoing formation.
— They will promote the drafting of plans for vocation ministry and for initial and ongoing formation, in the community Organism or Congregation, as the case may be, and they will approve them and follow closely the way they are put into practice.
— Both by their presence and by their orientations, they will encourage vocation centers and formation communities, visiting them frequently. In their visits to other communities, especially canonical visitations, they will awaken their awareness and commitment to vocations and formation in the Organism and will spur them on in their local plans for ongoing formation.
— They will provide these centers and formation communities with the necessary means.
2. Prefectures of formation
2.1. General aspects
248. The Prefecture of Formation is a structure of government that is to be set up in the General and Provincial Government, in keeping with what has been agreed on by the General or Provincial Chapter, respectively.
249. The Prefecture of Formation can be organized into different sections by way of commissions and secretariats, whether ad hoc or standing, depending on the different vocational and formative activities involved.
250. The Prefect of Formation heads the Prefecture. He should be a person who is competent in the field of formation, and can be either a General or Provincial Consultor, or a person who does not belong to either of these respective government teams.
251. Final responsibility for the Prefecture rests with the General or Provincial Superior. The responsibility for formation in an immediate way and in a habitual form belongs to the Prefect.
2.2. The General Prefecture of Formation
253. Its specific objective is to animate and coordinate the task of vocations and formation in the Congregation, and to offer orientations of a general character, leaving it up to the corresponding Provincial Prefectures to apply them in keeping with the circumstances of each Organism and area.
254. Its area ranges from vocation ministry to ongoing formation inclusive, and extends to all Organisms of the Congregation, including those centers situated in Churches in formation. Vocation and formation centers of a general character are directly under its responsibility.
255. The designation of the Prefect General of Formation belongs to the Superior General with his Council, who must bear in mind, if the Prefect is a Consultor, the orientations given by the General Chapter.
256. In order to fulfill his function better, the Prefect can have an assistant or helper, who will be appointed by the General Government.
257. Whenever it is necessary or fitting, the Prefect General of Formation can call together special formation commissions in order to study and assess particular situations and cases.
258. The following are functions of the Prefecture General of Formation:
— To help the Superior General and the General Government directly in animating formation in the Congregation by means of periodic reports, assessments and putting their decisions and guidelines into practice.
— To be constantly promoting a careful selection of vocations and high quality formation that is Claretian, personalized and updated, with a view to mission.
— To offer help in a particular way to Major Organisms that are in greatest need.
— To promote relationships and communications among those in charge of Major Organisms so that they may contribute to interprovincial help.
— To urge the drafting of Provincial Plans of Formation, local projects of initial and ongoing formation and the personal plan of formation, in line with the orientations of the Church and the Congregation.
259. The following are actions proper of the Prefecture General of Formation:
— Frequent communications with the Superiors of the Congregation and with those in charge of vocation ministry and formation (both initial and ongoing), through epistolary correspondence, personal dialogue, group meetings and other ways of relating.
— Periodic visits to vocation and formation centers, duly programmed and organized in agreement with the respective chargees in the Organisms.
— Organizing and/or participating, as the case may be, in encounters and gatherings with those in charge of vocation ministry, formators and formandi, both on the general and on the regional and provincial levels.
— Offering vocational and formative subsidies, both Claretian and non-Claretian, to centers of the Congregation.
2.3. Provincial Prefectures of Formation
260. The specific objective of the Provincial Prefecture of Formation is to animate and coordinate vocation ministry and the initial and ongoing formation of the Province.
261. In principle, the area of the Prefecture covers everything, ranging from vocation recruiting all the way to ongoing formation. Nevertheless, Provincial Chapters or Governments can, as the case may be, create other Prefectures, councils or commissions in order to animate vocation ministry or some other sector of formation.
263. The following are functions of the Provincial Prefecture of Formation:
— To inform and advise the Provincial Superior and Government on matters concerning vocation ministry and initial and ongoing formation, and to carry out their decisions and orientations.
— To create a sense of communion and co-responsibility among those in charge of vocation ministry and of initial formation.
— To coordinate criteria and methods in order to achieve an effective vocation ministry and a formation that is unified, gradual and organically articulated.
— To see to it that a Provincial Plan of Formation, keyed to the General Plan of Formation, be drafted, and that it be applied and evaluated in the Province.
— To evaluate periodically the Province’s initial and ongoing process of formation and offer orientations as to how it can function better.
— To inform the Prefect General of Formation on the situation of formation in the Organism.
264. Among the activities of the Provincial Prefecture, the following are indicated:
— Communicating and relating with the Prefect General of Formation and more frequently with those in charge of vocation ministry and with formators and formandi in our formation centers.
— Periodically visiting our vocation and formation centers, and collaborating with them in their own activities.
— Organizing meetings and encounters with the professors and formators of the Province concerning studies and formation.
— Encouraging ongoing formation in our communities and the drafting of the personal project of formation.
— Programming the ongoing formation of the Province, following the guidelines of Provincial Chapters and Governments, and organizing programmed activities (courses, encounters, meetings, spiritual retreats).
— Drafting and offering means and subsidies for formation to individuals and communities.
— Convoking the Provincial Council on Formation if one has been established, whenever this may be deemed fitting.
— Drafting and periodically updating the Provincial Plan of Formation and revising local formation projects.
2.4. Formation Councils
266. The Provincial Formation Council is an organ of co-responsibility and participation in formation on the Province level.
267. Its immediate aim is to assure unity and continuity in the Province’s formation and to assist the Prefecture of Formation in fulfilling its formative mission and in carrying out its functions and proper activities. It also analyzes and offers solutions for the different problems that come up in the stages of formation, and studies the process of formation with a view to future projections.
268. The establishment of the Formation Council, as well as the nature of its competencies and functioning, will be determined by the Government of each Organism, as expressed in a set of appropriate regulations.
269. On the Formation Council there should be representatives from vocation and youth ministry, from all stages of formation, formators and formandi, those in charge of ongoing formation and of other sectors of the Province.
270. Meetings of the Formation Team, made up of them alone, should be organized to deal with matters within their competency.
271. Wherever it seems fitting, given the circumstances of the formation center, a Local Formation Council made up of formators and formandi can be established as an organ of the formation community’s participation, co-responsibility and performance. The local team of formators should meet periodically to deal with matters within their competency.
272. Besides expressing their co-responsibility through representatives on Formation Councils, formandi can also participate in animating formation through other structures that Major Organisms deem most fitting according to their circumstances (councils or an assembly of formandi).
3. Interprovincial collaboration
273. Interprovincial collaboration in the field of formation manifests our common service to the Church, the unity and fellowship of the persons and goods of the whole Congregation, and the fraternity between its members.
274. We should promote the spirit of solidarity and cooperation among all members of the Congregation in all stages of formation, beginning with vocation ministry, striving to foster maximum mutual help among the Organisms of the Congregation, even to the extent of sharing combined formation centers if need be.
275. The Prefecture General of Formation and the Interprovincial Conferences may promote and organize joint interprovincial meetings of the Prefectures. Their purpose will be to compare experiences, to study and reflect on specific themes and to search for and organize common lines of action.
276. Interprovincial and regional encounters of formandi, as well as the organizing of joint activities (such as preparation for first and perpetual profession, language learning, pastoral experiences), can contribute toward deepening the sense of belonging to the Congregation and toward fostering universal openness. These encounters should, then, be encouraged, according to the frequency and manner deemed opportune in each case.
277. The formators and professors in our own centers will always be ready to lend their services on a temporary or permanent basis in any part of the Congregation where they may be required. The different levels will foster the interchange of formators and professors of our formation and academic centers for a greater mutual enrichment.