From October 9 to 11, 2023, the General Secretariat of Formation, in collaboration with the Safeguarding Commission, organized a formation meeting for all the Formators and vocational promoters of our Congregation. During these days, formators at all conferences were guided on the crucial issue of safeguarding, with special emphasis on explaining abuses and preventing them.
The conference was led by Fr José Carlos Linhares, C.SS.R., our Attorney General, who skillfully presented the topic of safeguarding, focusing on abuse in all its forms. Father José Carlos offered us a comprehensive view of abuse, including conscience/psychological abuse, economic abuse, abuse of power/authority, spiritual abuse, and sexual abuse. His realistic and profound approach provided us with the necessary tools to help establish protection policies throughout the Congregation’s formation system. In addition, the canonical aspects related to the protection of minors and vulnerable people were highlighted, underlining the importance of this topic for the Congregation.
The event brought together approximately 200 formators from the various conferences that make up our Congregation. The first day focused on Latin language trainers, particularly those from Latin America and Europe. The second day was dedicated to English-speaking trainers from the North American Conference, and the third day focused on trainers from the Asia and Oceania, Africa and Madagascar conferences, as well as the English-speaking Europe conference.
The presence of Father General Rogerio Gomes during the conference was a great support for all participants. At the end of the presentation, Father General addressed the formators, expressing his gratitude for the valuable work they do. He reminded those present that the mission and apostolate consist of being in the formation house, accompanying, listening, dialoguing, discerning processes and encouraging our young people in formation.
Father Rogerio emphasized that the formative process be a space of freedom and formation of conscience for both the formandis and the formators. He stressed that formation is a lifelong commitment and not just a temporary stage, emphasizing the need to maintain solid personal training in order to provide adequate support to trainees. In his message, he encouraged the formators in their crucial work of preparing the future missionaries of the Congregation.
This conference is the first of many that seek to strengthen the work of our formators, providing them with the necessary tools for their training task.
Fr. Gerardo Hernández Carrasquillo, C.SS.R.
General Secretary of Formation