International Seminar for Formators

A seminar for formators to the consecrated life around the world was held in Rome From 7 to 11 April 2015. It was organized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the Holy See, as part of the initiatives planned for the year dedicated to the Consecrated Life Church convened by Pope Francis.

The Congress was attended by more than 1,300 formators, religious men and women, members of more than 500 orders, congregations and institutes; from more than one hundred nations. The assembly presented a beautiful icon of the reality of formators to Religious Life today; a mosaic characterized by internationality, multiculturalism and intergenerationality.

The objective of the seminar was listening to the Word of God, in an interdisciplinary perspective convening diverse cultures gathered together to reflect on the basis of the identity of consecrated life in the Church and in the world, and on formational requirements in the contemporary contexts in which we live and proclaim the Gospel.

The Congress under the motto “To live in Christ according to the Form of Life of the Gospel – Formed to consecrated life in the heart of the Church and of the world.” The congress sought to continue to encourage the renewal initiated 50 years ago by Vatican II, with a positive response in both ongoing and initial formation, to continue forming the heart of those consecrated in the joyful experience of following “ever more closely” the Lord Jesus, in a sincere ecclesial communion, with a missionary passion for people, according to multiform variety of charisms which the Spirit inspires in the Church.

The OFM General Secretariat for Formation and Studies was invited to participate in the International Committee and the International Council for this seminar. Many OFM formators from various provinces of the Order also participated in the seminar. So that, with 25 friars, our family had the most represented male formators at the seminar.

The seminar began with prayer vigil in the Franciscan Church of St. Gregory VII and ended with a solemn celebration of the Holy Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter, after which participants were received in an audience with the Pope Francis. He encouraged them to “live with joy this ministry of formation, with the knowledge that there is nothing more beautiful in life than to belong wholeheartedly to God and give one’s life in the service of our brothers and sisters“.

During the seminar, the formators sent a message of prayer and solidarity with persecuted Christian communities in several nations of the earth, showing their closeness and brother/sisterhood with the weakest, in communion with consecrated in the many peripheries of the world that suffer because they are Christian and religious.

As fruit of the seminar, a final message was elaborated in line with the Beatitudes. It assumes the task of initial and ongoing formation, and the formation of formators, to be a commitment to the evangelical service made to convey the joy of following Christ through the mediations of accompaniment and discernment in an evangelizing and missionary horizon, where all candidates, formandi and formators, are called to allow ourselves to be formed daily by Jesus, the only Master who calls us to be lifelong “disciples and missionaries” in an outgoing” Church in keeping with the charism given to each founder.