General Plan of Formation (GPF 2020)

GPF can quite fittingly be considered as the Magna Carta on Formation that the Congregation, as mother and teacher, offers to its members, and above all to its new missionaries. It gathers up the core essentials of our missionary life and high lights its dimensions: charismatic, Christocentric, ecclesial, cordimarian, and human.


1. Nature and Purpose of the GPF

  1. The GPF presents and develops in a pedagogical way, and with a universal perspective, the formative principles and norms that appear in the Code of Canon Law, in the Constitutions, in the Directory and other documents of the Church and of the Congregation. It also gathers together the rich and varied intercultural experience of formation in the Major Organisms of our Institute. Without downplaying other more general necessary elements, The GPF highlights those that are proper of our charism, seeking to harmonize their universality and unity.
  2. In the situation of the Congregation today, the GPF endeavors:

a. To orient and give consistency to the formative itinerary, both initial and ongoing, as an uninterrupted process of personal transformation, seeking configuration with the Missionary Christ.

b. To guarantee a Claretian formation which, because it is missionary, is to be rooted in constant discernment, always open to the signs of the times, and in tune with events in the world and in the Church, both universal and local.[1]

c. To serve as a guide for the drafting and updating of plans for initial and ongoing formation in the Major Organisms and formation houses.[2]

d. To serve as a pedagogical instrument for formators and formandi.

2. Recipients of the GPF

3. The GPF views the Claretian as in a continual, life-long process of formation[3] that helps him live his missionary vocation with joy. It is directed to all the members of the Congregation according to their particular condition: priests, deacons, brothers, and students.[4] It is directed also to those who are called to form part of the Congregation who are in a phase of discernment and preparation.

4.  Every Claretian must see in the GPF a useful instrument for the formation of the members of the Congregation since we are all responsible for it.[5] The GPF harmonizes and articulates the different stages of the itinerary of the missionary vocation, proposing tools for its development.

3. Sources of Inspiration for the GPF

5.  As ecclesial sources for its inspiration, the GPF counts the documents of the Church’s Magisterium dealing with religious and priestly formation. It gives special consideration to those emanating from the Second Vatican Council and those published in the post-conciliar period,[6] among which are, the Code of Canon Law (1983), Potissimum Institutioni (1990), Pastores Dabo Vobis (1992), Fraternal Life in Community (1994), Vita Consecrata (1996), Starting Afresh from Christ (2002), The Service of Authority and Obedience (2008) and Ratio Fundamentalis (2016).

6.  As Congregational sources that reflect our charism, the GPF considers:

a.  The writings of our Father Founder, above all: the Autobiography, the Spiritual Writings and his works on vocation and formation. Among the latter stand out the Regulation that he wrote regarding the formation of the aspirants, novices, and students of the Congregation.

b.   Congregational documents, particularly the Constitutions and the Directory; as well as the orientations of the General Chapters and of the Superior Generals during the post-conciliar period.

c.   The experience of the Congregation collected in the texts elaborated by the General Prefecture of Formation, the diverse Congregational areas, and the Plans of Formation of the Major Organisms.

4. The Structure of the GPF

7.  GPF 2020, which basically follows the structure of GPF 94 has two parts: General Aspects and Stages. The structure of the first part is retained without major changes with its six chapters that present a set of general aspects on formation. In the second part on Stages, the stage of Vocation Ministry and Acceptance is suppressed in GPF 2020 reducing the document into 11 chapters. Thus, initial formation consists of three stages in a progression, viz., preparation, initiation and development/consolidation. In Chapter 11, on Ongoing Formation, four special periods of ongoing formation (no.7) are presented: Quinquennium, Middle Age, Third Age and Fourth Age. In the same Chapter 11, a new section, Particular Situations (no.8), is added which includes Crisis during Ongoing Formation and Inappropriate Conduct related to Evangelical Counsels. They deal with different crises that arise during ongoing formation as well as situations of inappropriate conduct related to the living of the evangelical counsels in the concrete life of a missionary. The General Conclusion emphasizes the holistic nature and continuity of the process of formation.

8.  The five Appendices offer various tools to help understand and apply GPF 2020. They include a list of important Claretian books, helpful canons related to formation, and tips for preparing documents and forms at different moments of formation.


[1] Cf. CIC 659 § 2.

[2] Cf. Dir 168.

[3] Cf. CPR 66-71.

[4] Cf. CC 7; Dir 156, 158.

[5] Cf. CC 58, 76; Dir 160, 170.

[6] Cf. Appendix 1.