The Conference of Africa and Madagascar has opted to have three Common Novitiates. In order to prepare the Formators of these Common Novitiates, the first-ever on-sight, one on one meeting of COREAM Common Novitiates’ Formators was held at Nairobi, in Kenya. The encounter took place at the Karen community in Nairobi, Kenya, from 13th June to 24th same month.
It was a chance meeting of Novice Masters and their Socius to be in the English and French Novitiates. These novitiate houses will be in Ghana comprising of Novices from Nigeria and West Africa Vice-Provinces. The house in Madagascar will comprise of DRC, Angola, Mozambique and Madagascar novices. Finally, the house in Durban, Merrivale will shelter novices from Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The Common Novitiate of South Africa will start in July, 2022, while the two others will start in September, 2022.
The Confreres present were six in number : Fr. Noël Sottima, C.Ss.R. the COREAM Coordinator, Fr. Noel Eshikena, C.Ss.R. from the Vice-Province of Nigeria, Fr. Ghislain Ouassa, C.Ss.R. and Fr. Peter Francis Oteng, C.Ss.R. from West Africa Vice-Province, Fr. Bompele Dieudonné Bakala, C.Ss.R. from Matadi Vice Province and Fr. Isaac Wanyoike, C.Ss.R. from Kenya Mission.
During the days of encounter with each other, every member present was tasked with different topics on formation to read and discuss. These are the topics: 1. The Goal of the Preparation, Restructuration Process in COREAM, COREAM Statutes; 2. Formation, a new Paradigm for the Future ; 3. Formation in African culture; 4. Formation for mission; 5. Prayer and Formation; 6. Consecrated Life at the Heart of Technological Challenges.
It was a rich experience listening to different reflections from different contexts of our societies where we have our presence. Since members present were not all English speakers, Fr. Noël Sottima, C.Ss.R. took the initiative to translate from English to French and vice-versa. During the last two days, Fr. Paul Thomas Pazhangattu, C.Ss.R. the Mission Superior of Kenya was invited to share on the Application of Canon Law in matters of formation since he is a master of Canon Law and has a very long experience of Redemptorist way of life for over 49 years. He also gave an input on the Basic Foundation of Formation: 5 pillars. The gathering was also marked by a spiritual day at the Shrine called “Resurrection Garden” and by an outing day for a better interacting with one another.
All in all, it was a moment of joy and encounter between confreres. We learnt a lot from each other and promised to keep in touch. In view of the present process of reconfiguration, the confreres were highly optimistic that it will be a success if we rely on the help of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Isaac Wanyoike, C.Ss.R.