Formation Councillor Fr Ivo Coelho welcomed the participants and set the tone and objectives of the four-day meeting. In his opening address, he highlighted certain challenging themes from GC 28 which should be considered in the ensuing discussions, especially formation both in mission and for mission, as well as formation together with lay mission partners who also form part of the formation team.
The sessions were well attended and participated. Everyone shared whatever they could contribute and worked hard even offline to prepare for the next day’s sessions. The objectives of this year’s annual meeting were all achieved: (1) a draft of the EAO regional formation plan for the next five years was produced following GC 28; (2) a list of suggestions were collected for the upcoming revision of the Ratio as well as the Criteria and Norms in terms of both the process and the contents for revision; and (3) certain formation concerns in the region were shared and resolved, and formation delegates got the chance to be formed and be informed.
On the last day, Fr Silvio Roggia and Br Raymond Callo of the Formation department gave short but captivating presentations of the new Manual of Salesian Rectors, the guidelines for the Personal Accompaniment of Young Salesians, and the Congregation’s School of the Salesian Spiritual Accompaniment. Before the close of the meeting, the participants were blessed with very encouraging words coming straight from the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who told every formation delegate “not to get tired” of keeping the lines of communication with him and the Formation department busy while walking together on the same path.
At the end of the four-day meeting, everyone signed out bringing home more work to do but with hearts rekindled with passion for formation and filled with gratitude to God for the wonderful experience of synodality and communion.