Over July 25-28, Holy Cross formation personnel from Latin America and the Caribbean gathered for their annual meeting at the Holy Cross House of Formation in Santiago, Chile. Among the eight participants, all five of the countries in which the Congregation serves in the region were represented at the gathering: Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru.
Joining the regional formators for this year’s encounter was Fr. KJ Abraham, C.S.C., Second General Assistant and Coordinator for Formation for the Congregation, who was also making a visit to the Formation House. He met individually with all the men in formation on July 24 and 25, and he also gave them a presentation on human formation in Holy Cross.
The gathering of the formation personnel began on Wednesday evening, July 25, with a Mass in Our Lady of Holy Cross Chapel of the House of Formation celebrated by Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C., Superior of the District of Chile. The timing was providential as it was the Feast Day of Santiago (St. James), the patron saint of the Chilean capital. The local formation community, which consists of 10 men in formation from 6 different countries, joined for the Mass and dinner.
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The first full day of meetings, Thursday, July 26, was a day of continuing education for the formation personnel. Fr. Abraham gave several interactive presentations concerning Christian anthropology and the self within the process of initial formation.
"Fr. Abraham's presentations were very useful," said Fr. Daniel Panchot, C.S.C., Director of Postulants for the District of Chile. "The participation of the General Administration, both sharing and listening with us as a group from different countries in Latin America, was a great addition to our gathering."
The next day of the encounter was developed to fraternal conversations about the post-Novitiate level of formation. These conversations built on the meetings the previous two years that looked at the postulant (2016) and Novitiate (2017) levels of initial formation.
All six dimensions of the Congregation’s vision of integral formation were discussed: Human Formation, Formation for Community Life, Formation for Consecrated Life, Formation for Prayer, Intellectual Formation, and Apostolic Formation. Special attention was also paid to the multicultural and international realities and dynamics in the context of formation in the region.
After a final session on Saturday morning, July 28, the gathering ended with a festive lunch with the formation community to celebrate the Peruvian Independence Day. The delicious Peruvian food was prepared by the wonderful staff of the House of Formation.
“It was a very good opportunity for me to take part in this meetings of formators in Holy Cross,” said Fr. Rosemond Marcelin, C.S.C., the Director of the House of Formation in Haiti. "It is a sacred duty to work in formation. It is a service bigger than any one of us. This meeting allowed me to be more aware of what I need to do in this service within our Congregation. It helps to learn from each other and become better able to carry out this important mission."
"The encounter of formators from Latin America and the Caribbean that took place in Santiago, Chile, was a very fruitful experience for me,” added Fr. Elmer Caro, C.S.C., Director de Postulants of the District of Peru. “Fr. Abraham’s topic of ‘Anthropology in Religious Formation’ was a good subject matter, and I felt myself invited to deepen my sense of the importance and responsibility of accompanying in their lives our young men who feel called to religious life in Holy Cross. This gathering affirms my commitment to accompany them even better, for a good accompaniment in formation makes for a good religious in Holy Cross.”