Italy - Renewing formative vocation in Post-novitiate

14 November 2018

(ANS - Turin) - From November 9 to 12, a meeting was held in Turin-Valdocco of the Directors and Principals or Headmasters of the Post-Novitiates of Europe. Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, flanked by his collaborators in the Dicastery, Fr Francisco Santos and Fr Silvio Roggia, led the reflection on seven issues related to the specific reality of the post-novitiates:

  1. Salesian consecrated life;
  2. Pastoral experience;
  3. Community life;
  4. Intellectual formation;
  5. Substance of the formation team;
  6. Attention to the postnovice brothers;
  7. Personal accompaniment.

The heart of everything is the formation to the Salesian consecrated identity which in the post-novitiate phase finds the privileged instrument in intellectual formation, to continue what was started in the novitiate, and in view of the on-site practical training or apprenticeship.

What emerges strongly is the question of initial formation, which must enable one towards a continuous or ongoing formation, that is, an attitude of open docility to the Spirit and historical mediations through which God supports the following of those He summons: without a transition from docility to docibility or open amenability, from the formative experience to the demand or request for formation, there is no dynamic fidelity to Don Bosco, and the wise or knowledgeable reading of the current times and contexts fades or vanishes.

To read reality with the eyes of God is only for those who live by God: this is the heart of consecrated identity. The challenge is first for the formators before even those in formation, and it is a condition for the vitality of the da mihi animas.

A formative testimony to be effective must, however, be choral, and this highlights the fundamental importance of cohesion and mutual esteem among formators above all.

Then starting again from the Final Document of the recent Synod on Youth, which at n. 139 states "the vocation is the fulcrum around which all the dimensions of the person are integrated", it was agreed that the vocational perspective illuminates and gives meaning to all that fills the days of every human life and ensures a specific form to the personal response to the gift of God.

Hence also the peculiarity of the challenge within the Salesian vocation, characterized by the presbyteral and lay expressions. The Salesian vocation of the coadjutor brother highlights the proprium of Salesian consecrated life, made of dedication to God as the fundamental asset of existence, rather than as solicitude for sacramental service.

All this requires a journey of accompaniment, based on two freedoms: of he who is in formation, who chooses to entrust his own path to someone whom he naturally trusts; and that of the formator who, precisely because of his great responsibility, must develop or have developed a truly free heart, such as to be able to receive with due care the deepest levels of the other.

Directors and Heads of the post-novitiates of Europe are now called to pass or move from the project to the actual journey, aware that only those who allow themselves to be formed, form; and only those who have strong roots in the charism can accompany paths of authentic consolidation of vocational identities.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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