14 Feb 2019
Colombia: American Seminar on formation phase of postnovitiate
(ANS – Copacabana, Colombia – February 7) – To guarantee the continuity of Salesian initial formation in the postnovitiate phase, the Salesian Congregation’s Formation Department organized a formation seminar for the directors of formation communities and of the Salesian study centers of the Interamerica and America South Cone regions.
“The aim of initial formation is the human maturing of the young confrere, his intellectual preparation and the deepening of his consecrated life, as he is gradually introduced to educational and pastoral work,” state the Salesian Constitutions (art. 102). The formation of young Salesians is the responsibility not only of the provinces but also of the Congregation, and the objective is to “ensure that those in formation have the opportunities for a valid experience and for serious doctrinal reflection in an appropriate setting,” thanks to the efforts of formators “aware of being instruments through whom the Lord is working” who “make every effort to constitute with the director, who is the leader of the community and its spiritual guide, a group that is convinced of its common responsibility” (art. 104).
It is in this context that the seminar took place on February 5-8 at Villa de Sales in Copacabana, in Antioquia Department. The seminar involved 15 Salesians, including Fr. Michael Pace from the New Rochelle Province (group photo, standing 4th from right; work photo, forefront to the right of center), led by Fr. Ivo Coelho, general councilor for formation (standing 2nd from right), and Fr. Francisco Santos of the Formation Department.
Their work days developed three themes: the reality in which one lives, the formation one needs, and the suggestions to be included in the formation plans.
During the seminar, Fr. Santos explained: “We are reflecting on the reality we are experiencing, because a couple of years ago we studied the redesign of the formation houses of the Congregation, which involved sending the postnovices to a new formation. So we are seeing how they are integrating, if there are difficulties, if the academic programs are good, and what kind of academic evaluation is being made, so that when these young people return to their own country they can have an officially recognized degree. Furthermore, we are also investigating other topics, such as the identity of consecrated life in the process of postnovitiate formation, community life, the apostolate, and the formation of formators.”
Although, certainly, the whole formation process of Salesians is fundamental, the revision of the postnovitiate stages takes on a particular value because it prepares for active Salesian life and allows the deepening of Salesian consecrated identity, in the philosophical studies that prepare pastoral activity and in dialogue with culture, the current world, and one’s own vocation.