First formators’ training held

Source: Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference

First formators’ training held in the Philippines

First formators’ training held in the Philippines

The Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific recently held its first Formation for Jesuit Formators seminar.  Held from August 5 to 16 in the Philippines, the seminar is the first of three modules that will be conducted in three consecutive years. The 22 formators who participated are current and future formation directors and staff of novitiates, scholasticates and seminaries in the Conference. They hail from nine provinces and regions – Indonesia, Korea, China, Australia, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Malaysia-Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

This First Module, entitled “Psychology and Formation,” was composed of sessions on topics such as Jesuit Vocation and Formation, Anthropology of Christian Vocation, Psychological Maturity and Development, Psycho-Spiritual Integration, Formative Processing, the Person of the Formator, and Psychological Dynamics for example family, trauma, addictions, and problematic sexual behaviour.

The idea for this training for formators came about during the term of the late JCAP Delegate for Formation Fr Matthias Chae SJ, who led the assessment of training needs among formators across the Conference.  Fr Michael Smith SJ and Fr Karel San Juan SJ then assumed leadership in designing a programme for the formation of Jesuit formators in coordination with institutions in JCAP that are involved in formation: Emmaus Centre for Psycho-Spiritual Formation, Sentir Graduate College of Spiritual Formation, Our Lady of Peace Guidance Centre, Centre for Family Ministries, and the East Asian Pastoral Institute.

JCAP President Fr Mark Raper SJ opened the seminar by stressing the imperative of enhancing formation competencies in the context of the continuing challenges of evangelization. Formation is thus directed toward greater effectiveness and integrity in our mission work and this was the focus of the presentations. Fr Smith presented how the Society of Jesus has defined the role of the Jesuit formator, while emphasizing the emergent need for greater apostolic creativity. He also presented the Profile of the Formed Jesuit for Asia Pacific, which JCAP produced in September 2011. Fr Roger Champoux SJ spoke of how the Society defines vocation, and how it practices formation, tackling points such as ethics, account of conscience, and boundaries in ministerial relationships.

The First Module also focused on foundational perspectives on the human dimension of formation. Fr Champoux presented the Christian anthropology of vocation, while the Emmaus Centre team of Fr San Juan, Eva Galvey, Francisca Bustamante and Paz Baquiran facilitated the Psycho-Spiritual Integration sessions, which provided insights on the person of the formator, in his physical, psycho-emotional, transcendent, and pneumatic dimensions. Basic sessions on psychology and psychological dynamics were also held, led by Emmaus psychotherapists Dr Inge del Rosario, Dr Gabby Dy-Liacco, Dr Trina Lising-Enriquez, and Fr James Gascon SJ of the Centre for Family Ministries.

Participants also received practical skills training on how to conduct psycho-spiritual integration, family dynamics, and formative processing. After the seminar, they expressed the need for continuing training, personal supervision, and professional support for specific situations of formands they are accompanying. They suggested concrete structures such as regular support and consultation meetings of formators at the Province, Region, and Conference levels.

Fr Norris Seenivasan, SJ, the incoming Delegate for Formation who begins in January 2014 will lead the organization of the next two modules of the Formation for Jesuit Formators training – Spirituality and Formation from August 2 to 16, 2014, and Community, Leadership, and Formation from August 1 to 15, 2015.

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