BIS #6878 South Asia Formation Delegates Meet in Mumbai

By Barnabas Thomas for BISMumbai

The Meeting of the Formation Delegates & members of Provincial Formation Commission of the South Asia region of the Salesians of Don Bosco was held from 16 to 19 January 2023 at Don Bosco Provincial House, Mumbai. The meeting was organized by the South Asia Formation coordinator, Fr Robert Pen, and attended by 22 delegates representing the 11 Salesian provinces of India.

The meeting of the formation delegates, among whom were at least 7 vice-provincials, focused on studying the draft of the new Ratio which offers guidelines for the ‘Formation of Salesians of Don Bosco’. Almost two days were dedicated to the ‘Methodology of Formation’ that is being proposed by the formation department, after having conducted empirical research on the style of formation followed in the congregation until now, and based on wide consultation of formators as well as formees in view of the future path to be followed and the areas of concern. The topics discussed were: the person of the formee, the formation experience, formative environment, the formators as guides who accompany, effective guidance and discernment.

Besides the above mentioned topics, the participants also reflected on the role of the formation delegate and the responsibilities of the formation commission of each province. Two phases of formation received much attention during the meeting, namely, practical training and on-going formation. Finally, the participants discussed at much length the phase that initiates a young person in his discernment process of ascertaining his call to religious life – the aspirantate. It was an eye-opener to the participants to be exposed to the various forms of aspirantate carried out in the congregation, as compared to typical approach followed in the South-Asia region.

Most of the participants were very positive about the outcome of the meeting – most found it enriching, and others claimed that they were returning to their ministry of formation and accompaniment of young salesians with renewed zeal and dedication. The contributions made by the South Asia Formation Commission will surely enrich the new Ratio which is in the final stages of its formulation.