The first meeting of the Congregational Vocation and Formation Commission, which is chaired by Br. Nee Wayoe, C.S.C., Fourth Assistant and Congregational Director of Formation, was held April 27-29 at the Generalate.
All the Commission members were able to make the meeting: Br. Jonathan Beebe, C.S.C., Sixth Assistant and Assistant Congregational Director of Formation, Fr. Jeff Cooper, C.S.C., from the United States Province of Priests and Brothers; Br. Francisco Gillete, C.S.C., from the Province of West Africa; Fr. Carlos Jacobo de los Santos, C.S.C., from the United States Province of Priests and Brothers; Fr. Larry Mwenya, C.S.C., from the Province of East Africa; Br. John Paige, C.S.C., from the Moreau Province; Br. Sattya Richard Purifcation, C.S.C. from the St. Joseph Province; Fr. Joby Sebastian, C.S.C., from the Province of South India; and Fr. Marc Valentin, C.S.C., from the Mother Province in France.
Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Superior General of the Congregation, welcomed the Commission on the morning of April 27 and shared some thoughts on the Congregation and the work of vocations and formation.
The second-morning session was dedicated to an in-depth discussion about the revision and updating of the Vocation and Formation Guide with Supplementary Documents as decreed by the 2022 General Chapter. Per Decree 18, the Commission plans to complete the revision within three years. Following lunch, the Commission turned its attention to the assessment and evaluation of formation programs, which comes under Decree 17. The members discussed how to implement and conduct these evaluations in the coming years.
Resuming its work the following morning, the Commission started with a conversation about how best to provide training, both initial and ongoing, to formators. Several different possibilities, including some online workshops, were discussed. The other major topic of the day was 2022 General Chapter Recommendation 22 regarding a “common program as part of preparation for Final Vows.” There was much energy around the topic, and the Commission is hopeful that the program will be implemented within the coming years.
The Commission ended its day receiving a visit from Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., Third Assistant and Chair of the Commission for Consecrated Life and Heritage, to speak about some potential collaborative projects.
On Saturday, April 29, the Commission members made a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica. As it was the eve of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Commission offered its Mass in the Crypt, presided by Fr. Cooper, for the intention of vocations to the Congregation.
The Commission gathered for two more sessions in the afternoon, covering a variety of topics from inter-novitiate classes to a seminar on writing evaluations to continental formation and vocation gatherings. Plans were also made to continue the Commission’s work in the coming months through a series of Zoom meetings.