November 20-24 at the General House in Rome was a week for the General Secretariat for Formation to pray together, discuss together, and be together. It was the first in-person meeting of the newly appointed General Secretariat.
The Secretariat is composed of Redemptorists and lay-collaborators from all over the world. Members of the Secretariat are: Fr. Paul Luu Quang Bao Vinh, C.Ss.R. (General Consultor), Fr. Gerardo Hernández Carrasquillo, C.Ss.R. (Executive Secretary for Formation), Sr. Theodora Shulak, M.Ss.R., Ms. Roksan Latorre, Fr. Paulo Júnior Silva Leào, C.Ss.R., Fr. Rémi Hébert, C.Ss.R. and Br. Benjamin Posco, C.Ss.R. (who was unable to attend).
We began on Monday, November 20, with Mass. This set the tone of us praying together throughout the week. With the agenda in hand, it we had work to do.
Much of our time together was dedicated to discussion and offering input and insight to questionnaires regarding evaluating the Redemptorist formation. These questionnaires will be sent to different levels of formation: Conferences, Units, Formators, Formandi and all confreres in ongoing formation. The responses will help us better understand the current situation of formation and how we can better respond to the formation-for-mission needs of the Congregation.
We discussed some of the challenges we are facing and works need to be done to strengthen the Redemptorist formation. We learned the importance of ongoing formation, especially for the young confreres in the first ten years of ministry. Human development, sense of belonging, community-consecrated life and Redemptorist identity are aspects which are not only to be nourished but also accompanied.
Particularly, we listened to Fr. General Rogério Gomes sharing his concerns and some directives for the formation of the Congregation. Fr. Jairo Díaz Rodríguez and Br. Laurence J. Lujan gave talks on how to run our schools with the Redemptorist charism, and the formation for Brothers in the context of Restructuring and Missionary-Apostolic Priorities of the Conferences and Units.
The more we were gathered together and grew as our own community, the more we appreciated those who served on the Secretariat before us. We have inherited wonderful resources such as the Ratio Formationis Generalis, (2020), the Manuale Formatorum (2009), the Final Document and the Message, Decisions and Directives of the 26th General Chapter. These documents remind us that Formation is for mission and the Redemptorist formation is built on five dimensions: the Human Dimension, Spiritual Dimension, Community Dimension, Academic Dimension and Pastoral-Missionary Dimension.
Please keep formation in your prayers as formators around the world accompany the present and future generation of Redemptorist Missionaries.
Fr. Rémi Hébert, C.Ss.R.