by Fr. Kenneth Pereira SDB
MATUNGA-MUMBAI, OCTOBER 13, 2014: This year, the South Asia Formation Commission held its annual meeting at the Provincial House in Matunga (Mumbai) from October 6-9, 2014. The spadework for the meeting was done by Fr. Loddy Pires, regional coordinator for formation. There were all together nineteen participants in the meeting, including the formation delegate from each of the twelve provinces in the South Asia region.
What made the meeting so special, was the presence of general councilors and world-level animators such as Frs. Ivo Coelho, Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Alfred Maravilla and Chrys Saldanha. Fr. Godfrey D'souza, provincial of the host province of Mumbai and the provincial in charge of the formation sector in the region also attended the meeting. Some special invitees such as Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj (psychologist) and Bro. Vincent Castilino (in charge of the Salesian Brothers in initial formation) were also present for the meeting.
More than a day of the meeting was dedicated to a study of the report on the state of formation in the South Asia Region. Each level of formation was studied carefully and various issues were discussed, notable among them being the all-round maturity of young Salesians, typical problems of formees, the preparedness of the staff in formation houses (beyond academic qualification), the role of psychological help in the formation process, the formation scrutiny (PASIF), ongoing formation and the question of confidentiality.
A major chunk of the four-day meeting was dedicated to the study of the yet-to-be-released document from the Centre: Criteria and Norms for Salesian Personal Accompaniment. The input from Frs. Ivo Coelho, Chrys Saldanha and Loddy Pires was very incisive. Each chapter was presented separately and each time, there followed a discussion from which a number of insights emerged. They were also blessed with the presence of, Fr. Alfred Maravilla from the Mission department. He gave them all, a very lucid presentation of the recently released document from the Centre: Missionary Formation of the Salesians of Don Bosco. This generated a lively discussion on the missionary spirit of the Salesians in South Asia.
All in all, it was a very enlightening meeting. "I, for one, attending such a meeting for the first time, was 'wowed' by the breadth and the depth of the issues that came up for discussion." said Fr. Kenneth Pereira. The credit for the success of the meeting goes to Fr. Loddy Pires (organizer), the animation by such highly competent resource persons, as well as the enthusiastic participation of all those present… not forgetting the five-star hospitality accorded to all by the confreres and staff of Provincial House, Matunga!