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Formation Heads review initial formation
By Castilino
Hyderabad, Oct. 11. .   Mumbai: Formation Commission of the Salesians of South Asia met in Mumbai, October 6-10, for their annual meet and to review the state of initial formation, spiritual accompaniment and use of personal media by those in formation.
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The annual South Asia Formation Commission meeting was held at Don Bosco Provincial house, Matunga.  The 20 participants consisting of the Regional Councillor Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga and formation Delegates from each of the South Asian provinces, discussed at length certain key issues pertaining to the formation processes in place in the region. The meeting was chaired by the General Councillor for formation Fr Ivo Coelho.

This meeting took a special interest in discussing matters related to ongoing formation, spiritual accompaniment and the role of the Rector, and the use of personal media, especially internet and mobile phones, by those in initial formation.

Something that emerged as a growing need was the focus on involving lay people in the formative processes.  This was felt all the more necessary given the fact that the Salesian mission is not the exclusive monopoly of the professed Salesians.  Fr Coelho repeatedly drew the attention of the members to think in this line and draw up concrete lines of action to ensure that lay people are respected and treated as partners and not mere supporters in the Salesian mission.  

Besides these important matters, the participants studied also the document on the missionary formation of Salesians. Fr Alfred Maravelli, from the Mission Department in Rome presented the documents highlighting the concept of 'mission' from a holistic perspective.

The participants also spent valuable time discussing the sensitive issue of confidentiality of matters known through spiritual direction and during the personal talks with the Rectors, traditionally called ''Manifestation''. They discussed also the mode and the importance of the periodic assessment of initial formees, the criteria for selecting and promoting vocations, and the need of the whole province being a formative setting and not the formation houses alone.

A special event in course of the meeting was an evening at Don Bosco Centre for Learning, Kurla, for an interaction with the staff heading the various departments of higher learning in the centre.  It was a first hand experience of a living model of lay participation in Salesian mission for all the formation personnel.  They saw for themselves how a Salesian institution could be pioneered and directed by Salesians working hand in hand with lay people of great expertise and passion for Don Bosco and the poor.

Fr Chrys Saldanha from the Formation department of the Salesians, Rome, and the provincial superior of Mumbai Province Fr Godfrey D'Souza, who is also the Provincial in-charge of the Formation at the SPCSA, too were present for the four day meeting.
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