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  • Conrad Vamilat, SDB

“Formation in the Mission”

Practical Trainees Seminar

Port Moresby: Amidst the covid’19 lockdowns, on the 16th of April, 2021 the PGS Vice-Province practical trainees had their 1-day seminar in East Boroko, Provincial House. Br. Anthony SDB and Br. Pio SDB had to attend the meeting via Skype. The first is in the Solomon Islands and the second in Rabaul. The seminar was organized by Fr. Pedro Sachitula, SDB, and Fr. Shoji Mathew SDB, both members of the formation commission, and it revolved around the topic of ‘Formation in the Mission, formation in the community’.

In line with the theme proposed for the day, Fr. Gregorio Bicomong, SDB Provincial Superior, offered a short message to the participants. Among the insights he shared he underlined that the ultimate end of our formation is configuration to Christ.

The first part of the day consisted of an input on General Chapter 28, objective 4. “FORMATION FOR BEING SALESIAN PASTORS OF TODAY”. It was timely to watch together and reflect on the 8th Seed from the series of short videos sent from the Congregation’s Formation Sector, based on the book “YOUNG SALESIANS AND ACCOMPANIMENT.” Another resource brought forward was the article “Missio inter Gentes” from Fr. Alfred Maravilla SDB, General Councilor for the Missions, meant for the 11th of the month, but fitting well with the choice of the theme of the seminar.

The brothers were reminded of the message given by Pope Francis to the participants of the GC 28, “It is important to say that we are not formed for mission but that we are formed in mission”. After the input the participants had ample time for sharing and processing their current experience of Practical Training, in their respective communities and Educative Pastoral Communities (EPCs). Everyone spoke of their positive and negative experiences and their learning and reflections drawn out from those experiences.

The second part of the seminar focused on human formation, more specifically on how to handle oneself and relate well with the confreres and Lay mission partners (LMPs) in times of tension and situations of anger. Fr Shoji Mathew, SDB the rector of Savio Haus Aspirantate, Bomana, facilitated this segment. He gave an input on anger management accentuating the tips of controlling anger and outlining the possible causes of anger.

At the conclusion of the seminar each brother was invited to evaluate the experience of the day and to give one word or a sentence that would capture his feeling about the seminar. For one brother the seminar was a ‘re-enforcement’ and an affirmation of his Salesian practices. Another stated: “I feel enriched;” Yet another “this is an Encouragement to me and I feel energized with missionary spirit;” one said “I feel relieved because I was listened to and spoke freely of what was in my heart”; lastly one brother said “Feel supported, and I realized that I’m not alone in my struggles.

Fr. Pedro thanked the participants for their attention, openness and reflections. He invited everyone to practice the daily Examen, which leads one to discern and perceive that formation truly happens in the Mission, formation happens in the community’.

The Day concluded with a fraternal dinner together with the confreres of the Provincial House.

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