India: Formees Gathering 2024


The annual event that would make every Redemptorist skip a heartbeat was finally at hand. Confreres packed their suitcases and arrived at the Varca community house on 27th May, a day before the gathering began. This initiative of the Secretariat of Formation aims to nurture brotherhood among the students in formation including the newly ordained clergy. This time, the formees gathering was a triduum of sorts – days spent in reflecting on our mission to young people and the pressing need to give it a face-lift. 

Deacon Ivon, a dynamic disciple who spearheads the youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Bombay, was the resource person chosen to conduct the three-day event. The first day began with a commencement speech by Fr. Henry, our Vice-Provincial, who doled out 20 points of what it means to be a religious and, more specifically, a member of the Congregation. 

The deacon took over after that and organized the next two days. In his sessions, he emphasized that we must work together as a group to cater to the youth. There is no ME teams but WE teams. It’s crucial to connect with young people on a human level first before ascending to the spiritual. Starting with the spiritual isn’t a fool-proof method. We need to listen to them, accompany them through their highs and lows, and finally help them discern their vocation without imposing our decisions on them. 

On 29th night, all of us present at the gathering went out for a fellowship dinner at near-by restaurant called Starlight. The ambience and food of the place provided ample opportunity to have fun and bond with each other. Mr. Melroy, an animator trained by the deacon, joined us on the last day for some funky dance moves. His lively presence and dance routines brought joy to the session. The dance routines he gave us are pervasive and can be used as effective bait to rally up the youth of our parishes. The formees gathering wound up on the 30th of May with a farewell lunch. 

Fr. Shane Varghese, CSsR