The annual meeting of European formators took place at Silva, Portugal from 3rd to 8th November 2012.
Seven participants from different formation communities attended the meeting. Present also was the representative of the Provincials, Tony Neves from Portugal; Richard Sum, secretary of Europe and Philip Massawe representative from Rome and coordinator for formation in the Congregation.
The meeting started as usual with reports from different formation communities. The reports presented the situation of formation in different European countries: Circumscription Europe (novitiate), France, Poland, Portugal and Spain. The following were major elements that were dealt with at the meeting.
- Eduardo Miranda, the former General Councillor presented a report on the recent General Chapter at Bagamoyo in which he drew attention to the following areas: formation for mission, Spiritan identity and vocation, reorganisation of formation structures and on-going and specialised formation. He was assisted by Tony Neves.
- During the meeting there was an input on discernment and motivation by Fr Vasco Pinto de Magalhães, s.j.
- Richard Sum presented a report on Spiritan month which was followed by discussion and preparation for the next one. There was also a report on the meeting of 2nd Cycle students that took place at Chevilly during Holy Week.
- Other issues were: the need to update the policy on 2nd cycle students from other circumscriptions which was adopted in 1999 by the Provincials of Europe and the meeting of young spiritans in 2nd Cycle who normally meet after every three years. The latter’s objectives need to be re-visited. The month of preparation for final vows formed part of the discussion.
- The call to Mission was presented by Hugo Ventura from Portugal who dealt with the issue of “later vocation” and vocation and missionary animation. Formators were not in favour of the use of the word “later vocation”.
- The coordinator for formation from Rome presented a report on the changes made to the Guide for Spiritan Formation by the General Chapter at Bagamoyo. The new Guide will be published next year.
It was not going to be all work and no play. The participants had the opportunity to visit some important and historical places such as Braga, Viana do Castelo and Porto where our confreres in Portugal have long been established for many years. One confrere could not go back without visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. The Province of Portugal did a commendable job in hosting us. Muito Obrigado!!
Marek Walkuz from Poland completed his term of office. Emmanuel Meaudre of French Province was chosen as new co-ordinator. The next meeting will take place in Paris from Monday 4th to Friday 8th November 2013.
By Philip Massawe.