Meeting of Formators and Vocation Directors

Nine Brothers from the Austrian, Bavarian and Polish Province responsible for Formation and the Pastoral Care of Vocations in their respective Provinces met at Kostenz in Germany in  February . The purpose of the meeting was to foster an exchange of experiences beyond Provincial borders in the matter of providing formation and accompaniment to candidates, and to jointly develop new ideas.

At the beginning of the meeting, the postulants’, novices and scholastics Masters of the three Provinces presented their report on the accompaniment of candidates and Brothers undergoing formation. The reports clearly revealed that the candidates who approach the Order today are not only youngsters, but are increasingly more mature men with a considerable experience of life. Another aspect that was emphasised is that in addition to providing professional and spiritual formation, it is crucial for the Formation Masters to be able to establish a deep empathetic relationship with the Brothers under formation. A further point that was thoroughly examined in the first part of the meeting had to do with the preparations being made for the forthcoming interprovincial workshop for the scholastics of the three Provinces that will be held at the end of August 2013 at Kraków in Poland.

In the course of the afternoon session there was an intense discussion of the work being done in the matter of Vocations Promotion and the Pastoral Care of Vocations. The picture that emerged from the three Provinces showed that they shared many similarities: even though there are still many young, and not-so young, men interested in our Religious Life, few of them actually consolidate their contact with the Order. And many of those who turn to us do not meet the necessary eligibility requirements to become a Brother of St John of God. Nevertheless the Brothers, Co-workers and volunteers are tirelessly working to spread familiarity with our Order in parishes and schools and other areas of the Church. In addition to this work of “external communications” those responsible for Vocations Promotion and the Pastoral Care of Vocations accompany men interested in our Religious Life by inviting them to retreat days and short stays in our Communities.

On the second day the meeting focused on establishing objectives, methods and contents for Formation and Vocations Promotion/Pastoral Care. At the present time, the German-speaking area only has a formation manual for the Interprovincial Novitiate. The idea is to broaden this manual in future to include other formation stages. It will be based on the Order’s Formation Book published in 2000. All the Formation Masters present at the meeting requested the routine transmission of information on the Brothers under formation. This, together with other proposals, will be submitted to the Provincial Governments concerned.

The meeting was moderated by Brother Joachim Macejovsky (Graz/Austria), the president of the Formation Commission of the German-speaking Provinces. The two-way translation between German and Polish will be guaranteed thanks to the customary expertise of Mr Grzegorz Waberski (Kraków - Poland). 

Author - Brother Magnus Morhardt




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