Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, Fr Silvio Roggia of the same Dicastery, and Salesian Coadjutor Brother Raymond Callo, Formation Coordinator for the Asia East-Oceania Region, led the work sessions of this important gathering.
There were 23 participants from 10 EAO and 5 SA provinces, and were joined by 6 confreres, formators from FIS province, with 7 novices. The EAO provinces decided to send not only their prenovitiate directors, but also team members. Not everyone from the South Asia region could, however, participate due to difficulties in obtaining visas. Nevertheless, they would be kept updated.
Fr Godo Atienza, FIS provincial, welcomed participants during dinner with the confreres of the house and novices who prepared the much-appreciated program.
The topics covered during the first five days were:
- Person of the formator – self-care and self-understanding
- Formation of formation guides
- Identity of the formator from the latest Salesian documents
- Pre-Novitiate program from the revised Ratio 2009
- Human dimension
- Admission; Scrutiny; Criteria and Norms
- Personal reading; small and large group sharing
- Faith dimension
- Salesian dimension: Consecration/2 forms
The second part of the course started with a Salesian and cultural immersion and ended with a session at “Don Bosco Pasil”, which is situated at the very center of an extremely poor community.
The next few days saw the participants back at the conference hall for the second part of the formation sessions. Topics covered during the four days were:
- Skills for accompaniment: counseling
- Skills for accompaniment: spiritual direction and discernment
- Recollection and Personal Integration
- Formation Designing
- Teamwork in Formation (Communication)
- Other concerns regarding the Pre-Novitiate Program; Evaluation
There were some recommendations to the Formation Department regarding prenovitiate formation that is little emphasized in the Salesian “Ratio”, such as the value of Sacred Scriptures and manual work, two values that are invaluable in Salesian life and formation.
It was also recommended that the Formation Department continue the process of preparing formators for Formation.
On the part of the prenovitiate directors, it was resolved they share their experiences with their co-formators and help guide the provincial and his council in the process of reflection at this important stage of formation.