(Rome) The General Secretariat of Initial Formation met for the fourth time during the present sexennium in Rome from May 20th until May 24th, 2019. The following members were present at the meeting, Fr. Manuel Rodríguez, C.Ss.R., Executive Secretary, Fr. Edilberto Cepe (Asia and Oceania), Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., Superior General, Fr. Joseph Musendami (Africa and Madagascar), Fr. Rogério Gomes General Consultor, Fr. Vaclav Hypius (Europe) and Fr. Alberto Eseverri, C.Ss.R., Vicar General and president of the General Secretariat of Initial Formation. Absent at the meeting for reasons of health was Brother Larry Lujan (North America).
The meeting began with a Eucharist on Monday morning presided by Fr. General. In the homily, as well in sessions on both Monday and Tuesday, Fr. General offered to the members of the Secretariat orientations in relation to the principles and values of different elements on the agenda for the meetings this week.
The first two days of meetings were dedicated to an updated operational version of the Ratio Formationis Generalis, which is a document that expresses the fundamental principles and values of Redemptorist formation, and which will be the primary reference as we move forward in the Secretariat’s agenda for the sexennium. A principal objective of the sexennium is Decision # 30 of the XXV General Chapter (2016), which asks for the accompaniment of the Units and Conferences in a complete and detailed analysis of their initial formation program at all levels in order to “determine whether their current program is truly preparing future Redemptorists for the mission of the Congregation as embodied in the missionary priorities of the Conference”.
At this meeting we reviewed the tasks pre-assigned to each member for the elaboration of the fundamental elements of Redemptorist formation of each of the eight stages. We also reflected and designed a possible structure for the evaluation process that will eventually be passed on to the Coordinators of the Conferences, the Superiors of the Units, the Secretariats of Formation, the formators and formandi of the Units and the Conferences.
Other themes treated during these days were the new editions of the printed series on Redemptorist Formation and the assessment of the use of Communications’ media in formation.
Two highlights during this week of meetings, although not directly related to the meetings´ agenda, was a visit to the Necropolis excavations (which include the Tomb of St. Peter) under the Vatican Basilica and the participation on Friday afternoon of the final profession of six Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Goodness and Perpetual Help in our Church of St. Alphonsus. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by His Eminence Cardinal L. Sandri. This Congregation of Sisters collaborates with the Redemptorists in the Shrine ministry of our Church of St. Alphonsus here in Rome.
The next meeting of the General Secretariat of Formation will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in November of this year.
Fr. Manuel Rodríguez, C.Ss.R.
General Secretariat of Formation