BOSCO INFORMATION SERVICE # 3170
ANNUAL FORMATION MEETING DISCUSSES PRESENCE, VALUES, VISION
Matthew Coutinho, sdb
DIVYADAAN, OCTOBER 13, 2012 : An annual feature in the formation program of our province for some years now has been a meeting of the Provincial Formation Commission with the staffs of our three formation communities – the novitiate (Salesian Training Institute – Nashik), the philosophate (Divyadaan) and the study house of theology (DBYC – Pune). This year the meeting was held at Divyadaan Nashik on 11 and 12 October and all the members made it a point to attend. The first session began at 2 pm on 11 October with a sharing on the aspirantate and vocation promotion. With many of the current members having spent some years in Lonavla either as students or as staff members there was a palpable sense of hope and concern. Possibilities were indicated and suggestions made while at the same time a realistic look was taken at the changed social and ecclesiastical scenario. The fruits of the discussion will be passed on the study group evaluating and planning the aspirantate experience.
At 4:30 pm attention was turned to another pertinent topic “The Relevance of Carl Rogers for Formation” and the resource person was Fr. Kenneth Pereira. He led us into a deeper understanding of the insights of Rogers in the area of education and counseling indicating issues that converge with the formation process. An interface is possible between the formative process and the therapeutic process wherein the formator can make his presence congruent, exhibit unconditional positive regard for the formee and show empathy in his interactions. When the presence is person-centred and oriented to empowering the formee a true process of growth can be entered into. The discussions that followed critically evaluated the presuppositions that underpin the approach of Rogers and also picked up notable features that can form part of the formative presence.
The meeting resumed on 12 October at 9 am with Fr. Edison Fernandes leading the participants into a new area “The Faith Life of the Formees” in which he presented some findings that emerged from his empirical study based on projective tests. It was an eye-opener to many and raised awareness of the key issues that are of concern to the formees. The discussion also helped the participants think of ways and means to build up faith and values in the formees. Later at 11 am Fr. Edison presented a second topic viz. Values and Formation. Beginning from a description of what values are, how they impact life and formation, and then moving on to the taking of a values inventory by the participants, Fr. Edison drew out salient conclusions for personal awareness (what are the ‘types’ of formators) and for formative processes (what can help formation programs). The process was a fruitful exercise in self-awareness and assessment of our formation process.
The final session began at 2:30 pm and was focused on looking at “Continuity of Formation – Preparing Young Salesians for the Challenges of the Apostolate”. This paper was a draft prepared by Fr. Ashley Miranda for discussion at the forthcoming meetings in preparation for PC 2013. It looked at the principal chapter theme of “‘Witnesses to the Radical Approach of the Gospel”. The paper examined what this process of becoming mystics, prophets and servants entailed in a concrete manner and presented elements in our formation process that work towards this goal while it also pointed out new elements that can help us be more effective. The meeting ended at 3:30 pm with tea. Soon after the participants began dispersing – heading back to their respective communities enthused in their desire to be more effective formators of the young entrusted to their care.
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