To Progress and Grow in Him

Dear Brothers:


The recently held XXV General Chapter declares among others the following:

“To progress and grow as disciples, called by the Master to be with Him, and to be sent as witnesses and messengers, until we are transformed as was our Father Founder throughout the course of his life (MS no. 75).”

As indicated, this number refers directly to formation. In the next six years the efforts of the Congregation in this area is geared towards this direction.


Joy, a Guiding Star of Formation Process

light of lifeMy novice master Fr. Franz Dirnberger used to ask us frequently, “ Are you happy?”, expecting the response of a “yes” from the young novices. For him an unhappy novice was a paradox and it was an indicator that an unhappy novice was not meant for this form of life, unless he worked out his difficulties and returned to the “natural joy” of consecrated life.

Absence of joy in everyday life or presence of pervading sadness in a Claretian speaks loudly about his vocational integrity. Consecrated life is a free response to the loving call of the Lord heard in the interior of a person. Often one may find it difficult to hear the call amidst so many of the sounds are furies trumpeting within him and he may find himself pulled and pushed by the many attractions they promise. Unless one learns to enter into the zone of interior silence, it is easy to get confused and get lost in the cacophony composed by the conflicting calls. Cultivation of inner silence and practice of meditation and Lectio Divina are important ways to recognize the voice of the Lord and recover the joy of life.


The Change that Changes Everything

the changeLooking at the formation programs which aim at promoting change and transformation, a formator may wonder what is that change which changes everything in a person. In other words, what is that change which, if it does not happen, there is no real change in a person even if one advances in age and accumulate academic degrees. Only very few formees are naturally tuned to benefit from the formation programs and grow towards higher levels of transcendence. It is after initial formation when life offers serious challenges that some religious go through the process of "breaking and building", the Pasqual mystery of dying to the old and rising to new life. Such a change often begins to happen in people at crucial moments of their lives. It can be through an encounter with a person, an escape from an accident, an illness, a failure, an experience of betrayal….


The Center of Formation in our Formation Centers

creationAs we are learning to make sense of the prophetic act of Pope Benedict XVI in his resignation and his onward journey as a fellow pilgrim in contemplation, prayer and study, I would like to take one of his constantly repeated affirmations as central axis for our formation process. The Pope repeatedly said, "being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction… since God has first loved us" (Deus Caritas Est 1).   He has reiterated it again in his Lenten message.


Claretian Week Celebrated in Sri Lanka

Kattuwa, Srilanka, 26-31, May, 2015.

cmfweek-srilnkaa-2015As proposed by the General Prefecture of Formation we have celebrated the Claretian week at the Delegation Level for the first time in Sri Lanka. It was arranged to facilitate all the students in all stages of formation. The spirituality committee of the Dependent Delegation was organizing this event. The event was planned in two phases.

The first phase took in each formation house from May 26 to 28. Then all the students from Claret Nivas , Kandy and Claret Aham, Jaffna came to St. Claret Seminaryat Kattuwa for the second phase of the program organized at the level of the Delegation. It took place on May 30th and 31st.. The theme chosen for the program was “Called to Evangelize: Witnesses and Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel”. The students were made aware of the XXV General Chapter and the History of the Chapters in the Congregation.

The celebration of Claretian week gave ample opportunities to the students to bring out their creativity and express their talents during the Talent show in their respective communities. They were also asked to exhibit their art works and writings when they came together at Kattuwa. The best items were selected and awarded. Before the presentation of the whole history of the chapters there was an interesting event to surprise the students on 30th May.. Over Skype the General Prefect of Spirituality, Fr. Gonzalo Fernandez, and the General Prefect of Formation, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, shared about the itinerary of the congregational renewal after Second Vatican Council and the objectives of the General Chapter. There was also time for dialogue when students asked several questions. The students were given sometime for working in groups.

Finally there a general group quiz which checked the grasp of the students by asking questions related to all that they have studied, heard and seen during this Claretian week. According to the students, it was well arranged and helped them to appreciate the charismatic wealth of our Congregation. Many commented that such a gathering reinforced their belongingness to the congregation and gave them enormous courage to go ahead.

-          Fr. Jude Behin