Thursday, December 1, 2016


by BIS Correspondent 

MUMBAI, DEC 1, 2016: Fifty six people took part in a first-of-its-kind Formation Training programme for the Salesian Cooperators from Mumbai, Gujarat, Nashik, Nagar, Pune and Lonavla held at Our Lady of Dolours Parish hall, Wadala on November 27. 

The programme began with the hymn 'God will make a Way' and a few moments of silent prayer. Father Vivian D'Souza, the provincial delegate, then extended a warm welcome to the participants. Sister Catherine Fernandes, the FMA province delegate and the delegate from Yervada, Father Cletus D'Souza and Father Wilfred D'Souza joined in.

The first speaker of the day was Father Noel Maddichetty, South Asia Regional Delegate for the Salesian Family. His topic was 'Dimensions and pillars of Formation'. He stressed on the need for growth in the Salesian Charism as Cooperators. He said Cooperators must have the right image of God and work towards this goal. His presentation dealt with the three realities, namely Human, Christian and Salesian. While dwelling on these realities, he followed the scheme: to know, to know how to do what's required, to know how to be in every situation and finally how to live in communion.

David Samikkannu Antuvan, Regional Councillor South Asia, presented two papers i.e.  'Phases of Formation' and 'Moments, Means and Human Resources'. He stressed on the need to identify Aspirants and through discernment, seek to find the authenticity of his/her motivation in joining the association. He traced out 24 steps of initial and on-going  formation, based on  the Cooperator's 'Project of Apostolic Life', the Rule of life. He also stressed on the need for periodic on-going formation once the Aspirant has taken the Promise as a full fledged Cooperator. He also spoke about organising meetings and occasional gatherings, spiritual retreats and other spiritual exercises.

Father  Vivian D'Souza then spoke on the 'Service of Animation and Leadership in the Association'. He stressed the fact that the Animator/leader has to bring about a sense of communion in the group, be a spiritual person and understand and bring to realisation the Salesian Mission in the group. He dwelt on the criteria for formation of leaders, the resources required and the need to keep abreast with the times. Father D'Souza developed the three realities of growth as human, Christian and Salesian. A leader must have a constant interaction between 'being and doing'. He added that self-formation is an important element for the growth of the leaders of the group. It is a ministry of service and collaboration with the Association members as well as with the Provincial group, Regional, National and World Associations. 

Father Maddichetty then spoke on the Training of Trainers and stressed on the fact that the Formation programme is a life-long process. "We need to have the attitude of self-formation, growing in self knowledge and be qualified, in view of the service we render," he said. The Formator has to be a spiritual person, a team leader, good communicator and have soft skills to handle the Association.

He spent a while, speaking about how to conduct regular meetings. He asked the group to describe how they have their meetings and activities. Summing up the responses, he emphasised on the need for the province to take up at monthly meetings, certain projects and issues special to the region like Systematic study of the Project of Apostolic Life, organising study classes for weaker students, providing scholarships for needy students, working with migrant youth, social justice issues etc. 

The individual units could also carry out their regular reach-out programmes together with the Province Project. Being in charge of the Mission Procure for South Asia, he spoke of the need to gather funds for projects and initiatives at the national level and made an appeal to the group for contributions for the same. He also released three books for the Cooperators: the Formation programme, the Commentary on the 'Project of Apostolic Life' and 'Solidarity Fund' that were translations from the Italian and made available to the Cooperators.

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