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.


US novices participate in Urban Plunge exposure program

Eloy Escamilla cmf, Claret Center, Chicago, May 27,2012
urbanplunge-1The Claretian novices of the province of USA, along with Fr. José Sanchez CMF, novice Master joined the 8th Day Center for Justice for a week of plunging into urban injustices and positive solutions from May 22-26, 2012. Fr. Mathew Vattamattam cmf, General prefect of formation, too joined the group for a couple of days during his visit to the Claretian formation houses in the US. The program integrates practical exposure with daily reflection and social analysis. Located in Chicago, Illinois—which acts as a microcosm of the problems facing people and our environment around the world—this week-long immersion program delves into both systems and structures that are at the root of injustice today.

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Iberia - Claretian Week 2012

fatima1Theme: "Eucharist and Life"

Fatima, April 13-15, 2012

The students and formators of the conference of Iberia (Spain and Portugal) held the annual gathering of “Claretian Week” in the retreat house in Fatima reflecting on the theme, “Eucharist and Life”. There were 36 participants in the gathering: 9 postulants, 18 students, 4 deacons and 5 formators. The intercultural nature of the group of students originating from the four continents (Africa, Asia, America and Europe) has been particularly enriching.

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Formative Encounter through Video Conferencing

Ranchi-Roma, 19 de marzo de 2012

video conferencingFr. Maria Joseph, formator of Ranchi pre-novitiate (Chennai province) organized a video conference for about ten minutes over skype with the General prefect of formation Fr. Mathew Vattamattam. The 40 pre-novices could interact with Fr. Mathew as they watched the video projected on a large screen. The conference was conducted on an experimental basis. The new technology has brought the General prefecture closer to this formation house situated in a village in the state of Jharkahand, India. As the academic year ends there in the month of March, the students were busy preparing for exams.

As this initiative was a success, F. Maria Joseph is planning to organize other video conferences in the next academic year. The formees were also able to interact with Fr. Felix, the previous superior who is now studying in Madrid. The formation house in Ranchi where most students are from the tribal population of North India is innovative in many fronts. In 2010 all the three formators were sent to Vic to attend the school of the heart of Mary to be formed together as a team of formators.