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Vocation ministry and initial formation



Meeting on initial formation in Nairobi

16/08/2007: Kenya - Photo gallery

In our Marist International Centre, Nairobi - Kenya, July 27th – 31st 2007 there was a meeting on initial formation for African formators of all stages. Twenty two brothers attended the meeting animated by Br. Antonio Ramalho and Br. Teófilo Minga, from the Religious Life Commission (Rome). Among the participants were the five provincials of the African Continent.

For many years now the Administrative Units of Africa have worked together for the formation of the young Brothers to produce Marist Apostles at the service of the Church. We have witnessed this collaboration at every stage of formation, but more especially at the Scholasticate (MIC) in Nairobi.

The specific focus of this meeting was to strengthen and deepen that collaboration at all levels of the initial formation and to suggest structures, ways and means for the follow up and success of that formation.

This specific objective was subdivided into four parts:

1. Sharing of experience at the level of vocation ministry and formation in general, what is our plan for the vocation ministry at the local level, the established programmes, the steps preparing for the Postulancy.
2. Working together to reach a consensus on the methods, the contents of the programmes with regard to the Pre-Novitiate and the Novitiate.
3. Provide guidelines for a greater collaboration in depth between the Administrative Units in terms of Vocation Ministry, Postulancy, and the Novitiate.
4. Reflect on our vocation ministry and initial formation policy to make sure it reflects our Marist identity and to make sure also that it provides an answer to the needs of the African youth of today.

During the meeting there was much time allocated to the exchange of experiences at both levels:

• Horizontally : to build up mutual knowledge, agreement and collaboration among teams and harmonizing programs of the same level of formation.
• Vertically : How to secure an effective continuity from a level to the next?

It was a question of working together horizontally and vertically on criteria and programs of formation; to foster structures for collaboration at Initial Formation; and to know what support the African formators expect from the Provincials and the RLC of the General Council.

Looking to the evaluations done at the end of the session the objectives were met and they reach the expectations of the participants. At the end of the session the participants met by provinces and draw up some suggestions. There was a great convergence on the suggestions and from the 5 provinces could emerge the following three points:

1. The need to form new formatorsn and offer a ongoing formation for the current formators.
2. To assure mutual communication and promote regular meetings of different kinds to be held among the formators (same stage and different stages).
3. To update the program (contents) of initial formation and to conceive a global Plan of Formation for Africa.

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