Responding to a question in the Assembly, as part of the response to the Rector Major’s report, Fr Francesco Cereda , General Councillor for Formation and Moderator of GC27, had no difficulty in acknowledging that ongoing formation is an area in which we fall short. However, he also said that “the situation is varied and depends on the provinces. We are on a journey with a long way to go.”
This is part of the background to the Good Night given by Fr Jaime Morales, Provincial of Colombia – Bogota, on 13 March. He spoke about the situation in the Inter-American Region where there are ongoing formation centres open to all Salesians in America. There is the Centre for Ongoing Formation in Quito, Ecuador; a Regional Centre for Specification Formation for the Salesian Brother (CRESCO) based in Guatemala City, organized by the Provincials of the two American Regions; and Don Bosco Hall in the San Francisco Province.
The first initiative came in the early ’70s after the Special General Chapter and resulted in the centre in Quito. “The initial and ongoing formation of the Salesians in the region,” said Fr Morales, “has been a constant concern of the Provincials since the beginning of the two regions of America.”
For thirty-eight years, since its inception in 1974, the Centre in Quito has benefitted from the expertise of Fr Fernando Peraza Leal, “a father and teacher with a passion for learning, but most of all a lively and enthusiastic model and witness.” From him the centre “inherited a style, a pedagogy and a methodology for the study of Don Bosco which is handed on in various courses of Salesian animation in the Centre. These include courses in Salesian studies, training for new Rectors, training formation personnel, immediate preparation for Deacons before priestly ordination, meetings on Youth Ministry, meetings of Parish Priests, and finally, a course in spiritual accompaniment.” Up to the present, 585 courses have been given with the participation of nearly 17,000 people.
The CRESCO programme began in 1995. It focuses on the specific formation of the Salesian Brother, and “should not be confused or identified with professional training.”
The third initiative is Don Bosco Hall in Berkeley for the ongoing formation of English-speaking confreres in Salesian studies. Its best known project is probably the digitization, reprinting and re-launch of the Journal of Salesian Studies (www.SalesianJournal.org). No less important is the work done by Fr Arthur Lenti, who wrote Don Bosco: History and Charism, published first in Englishand translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
First Published by InfoANS