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South Asian Formation Commission meets in Shillong
By Castilino
Hyderabad, Sep. 12. The members of the South Asian Formation Commission met at Mathias Institute, Shillong (the new Provincial house of the Salesian Province of Silchar) for the annual meeting from September 9 to 12, 2013.  Significant time was spent in understanding and discussing the document on the criteria and norms of Salesian accompaniment, reasons for departures from the Congregation, the report of the Rector Major on Formation, the need for our studentates of philosophy to be in 'association' with UPS, the duration of the course of Philosophy, and issues concerning personalisation, motivation, purely academic-centred formation and improper understanding of consecrated life and specific formation of the Salesian Brother.
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The various sessions were animated by Fr Chrys Saldanha, on behalf of Fr Francesco Cereda, the General Councillor for Formation and Fr Loddy Pires, the Regional Coordinator for Formation in South Asia.

The first day witnessed discussions on the reasons for departure from the Congregation, the culture of the Province (which has a great impact on the formation of young confreres), the need for personalisation and motivation, for an experience-based formation and finally, the importance of a functional curatorium. The draft document on accompaniment was reviewed in detail on the second day.  

The penultimate day discussed the evaluation of the resolutions of the previous meet (held in Goa in September 2013), especially the training of formators in celibacy and affective maturity across the region, the document on missionary formation of Salesians, proposals for the meaningful celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco, and the upcoming Salesian Brothers' Congress.  

On the concluding day the members discussed the functioning style and process of the commission itself and sought ways to improve the same in the years ahead. The need to ensure the discussions and information of the meet to reach the Provincial and his council, the policy makers of the Province, was stressed upon. The meaning and mode of the specific formation of the Salesian Brothers, was a point of discussion.  Use of mobile phones by students in formation settings was another delicate topic debated. The need for personalisation of the formation process was a recurring theme in practically all the days of the meeting.

The daily moments of prayer and fellowship were animated by the members in turn. One evening the members took time out and visited the aspirantate of the Silchar Province and had a very interesting and lively interaction with the boys in smaller groups. The Salesian Sisters at Bellfonte treated the Commission members for tea on another day.

The hospitality of the new Silchar Province, especially the Vice-Provincial  and the community of Mathias Institute,  was greatly appreciated. The next meeting is tentatively planned for the second week of September 2014 at Mumbai.
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