India: Formees Gathering 2024 in the Province of Bangalore

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The Formees Gathering 2024 was officially inaugurated on 27th May with the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Provincial Superior of the Province, Fr. Edward Joseph Raju C.Ss.R, and concelebrated by the vicar of the province and resource persons from different communities at Longwood, Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu. The Gathering lasted for three days and concluded on 30th May.

During the Eucharistic Celebration the Provincial gave a meaningful sermon on the biblical narrative of the Rich young man and then preached on the efficacy and importance of following Jesus in today’s context with the challenges that are awaiting in today’s world. Soon after the Eucharistic Celebration, the Secretariat of the Formation, Fr. John Matthew C.Ss.R, addressed the gathering and welcomed the Formees gathering team and its resource persons, namely Fr. Sharath MaddineniC.Ss.R, Fr. A.S. Raja C.Ss.R, Fr. Sandeep Menezes C.Ss.R, Rev. Fr. Peter Balaswamy C.Ss.R. Shortly after which Fr. John gave us an outline of the programs that are arranged for the formees. 

Each day began with morning prayer and the mass. The formees were divided into groups with each confrere to assist and guide. There were two sessions arranged in the morning. In the afternoon, we had some sharing sessions followed by games. In the evening, prayer and supper followed our recreation time. The theme that the secretariat of the formation discerned with his team was “Community Life” for the Superior General invited the whole of congregation to reflect on the “Community Life” in the Communicanda that was sent by the Superior General. This was in the light of the reflection that the confreres reflected over the year and wanted even the formees to reflect upon.

The first session, led by Fr. Sharath C.Ss.R, focused on the joy and zeal community life brings to the church, urging dedication to St. Alphonsus and his church-centred mindset. Fr. A.S. Raja C.Ss.R discussed the vital link between community and mission, emphasizing that community life itself is a mission, highlighting its benefits and drawbacks. Fr. Peter C.Ss. R. conducted fun activities to foster a sense of family among the attendees and later reflected on managing anger in community life, offering scriptural and psychological insights along with practical solutions. The day also included a forest trek and a Holy Hour led by Fr. Sandeep Menezes C.Ss.R. 

In the evening, Fr. Sandeep led a prayer service with a bonfire, focusing on examining and improving community life, followed by fun activities, dinner, and dancing. The final day, led by Fr. John Matthew, addressed practical issues in community living, emphasizing reimagining community life, C.Ss.R identity, and clerical jealousy. Reflections and an evaluation session were held, with attendees expressing joy and suggesting improvements for future gatherings. The day concluded with a visit to a tea factory, a Rosary procession, and a tribute to Mother Mary with flower offerings in the chapel.

The following day, a picnic was organized for the formees to Coonoor, visiting Sims Park and the Madras Regiment Museum. This half-day outing was filled with fun, laughter, and enjoyment. The entire four-day program was rejuvenating and refreshing for all the formees of Bangalore, who are now looking forward to the next meeting.

Bro. Samson
II Year of Theology