The recently held XXV General Chapter declares among others the following:
“To progress and grow as disciples, called by the Master to be with Him, and to be sent as witnesses and messengers, until we are transformed as was our Father Founder throughout the course of his life (MS no. 75).”
As indicated, this number refers directly to formation. In the next six years the efforts of the Congregation in this area is geared towards this direction.
The General Government is in the process of reorganizing its internal and external affairs. On my part, I am now familiarizing myself with the initiatives and progress of formation to continue existing best practices while consolidating other programs and exploring new ideas and initiatives that respond to the challenge towards transformative formation.
We still have a long way to go. The good news is that we won’t start from scratch. We have a lot of good things to build on from the initiatives of our brothers who were once entrusted the same responsibility we now carry. To them we are grateful and from them we find inspiration.
The following are some important thoughts on formation that I want to share with you. I hope that these will continue to serve as the backdrop of the future of our formation work. Firstly, we are treading a sacred ground in this ministry as we are dealing with the life and future of a person called to follow Christ. We need therefore to approach our work with extreme care and compassion. I hope and pray that we will continue to do the ministry by heart and relate with every one in formation with patience, respect for each one’s process, and trust in God’s grace.
Secondly, this ministry calls for an attitude of listening and discernment not only between us, the formators, and the formands but more so, between us and God. While we accompany our formands to listen to and follow God’s will, we are also called to be more attentive to God’s promptings in our own lives so that we may accompany our formands to where God is leading them. By doing so, we also develop the inner freedom to be fully present to them and their inner stirrings.
Lastly, formation work is a life-long process. It continues after our perpetual profession. I hope that the formation community and the rest of our respective organisms will take cognizance of the invitation to create a healthy and constructive culture and environment that support and challenge each one toward personal integration. We need to challenge ourselves to veer away from the tendency to create a dichotomy of lifestyle and practices between these stages of our missionary life.
It is my prayer that, through time, we will be able to create an environment of collaboration and mutual support through dialogue. Rest assured that I will do my best to keep our communication lines open. I will be grateful to hear your thoughts both during face-to-face interactions and through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to meaningful, productive, and transformative years ahead.