Participants in the two formation sector events for the EAO Region have been warmly welcomed at the Lawa-an Salesian Retreat House outside Cebu City over the past week and for the coming days. The two events are the Regional Formation Commission, a group consisting mostly of Formation Delegates and other key players in Salesian Formation in the Region, and from the Department in Rome (Fr Chrys Saldanha in particular), and the ‘Formation of Formators’ training session, involving many formators for various stages of formation around the region.
The Cebu-based Retreat House has recently been renovated to better accommodate such groups; so recently in fact that the sounds of hammers and drills were still echoing as participants arrived. Between the two groups the entire participation is around 40 members, though each group is about half that number. Customary FIS hospitality, and the care of the Novice Director, Fr Ronel Vilbar and his team of 11 novices has been outstanding.
The Regional Formation Commission meeting took place from 16-18 November. It was a full schedule involving a very wide range of issues: statistics regarding the Congregation and the Region, questions of vocational fidelity, missionary formation, personal accompaniment, quinquennium, aspirantate, specific formation of the Salesian Brother, formation to affectivity and chastity, intellectual formation and its evaluation. An additional specific topic on this occasion was formation to social communication. This has been requested by the communications sector of the Congregation, and is progressively being implemented throughout each region in combined formation/communication sessions according to particular circumstances around the regions. The chief aim of this is to present the Salesian Social Communication System 2.0, the recently revised frame of reference, and the 2006 joint document on specific approaches to formation to communication for each stage of formation, an outline which both formation and communication departments felt needed to be given greater emphasis.
The second gathering, for ongoing formation of formators, which begins on 19 November, is focused on gaining deeper appreciation of intercultural issues in formation around the region. Fr Edison Fernandes, a Salesian from Mumbai Province, has been invited as a special presenter for this topic.