From July 5th to 14th, a training workshop for formators from the Africa and Madagascar region was held at Roussel House, Nairobi, KENYA. For nine days, 19 Oblates (including two translators) listened, reflected and shared on several topics namely: interculturality, Oblate Charism, discernment, accompaniment, evaluation, the roles of formators and formandi, listening skills, regency experience, values, emotional needs and group dynamics.

Following the last General Chapter call which was focused on Formation for mission and interculturality, the first moment of this workshop was on the challenges of interculturality, animated by Bro. John NHLANHLAN and Fr. Jean Pierre FETSHI. Both highlighted the necessity for us to become aware of interculturality as an intentional process of conversion and reciprocity. Going deep into our cultural experiences, making our cultural diversity an opportunity, an asset to community life, requires radical change and the future of our religious family depends on it. It is therefore up to the formators to know how to help young people in formation become aware of interculturality as a life-giving experience.

Fr. Fabio Ciardi

The second moment of this workshop was the intervention of Fr. Fabio CIARDI. For three days, he helped us go back to the sources of our Charism. He focused our attention on methods that could be used today to talk about our charism and our spirituality to youth and to our formandi. He presented the charism of our religious family as a living tree that has seeds and roots. His talk was a call to return to the sources, to the root of our religious family to rediscover the spirit of our Founder, the flame that burned in the heart of our Founder and his first companions. It is this flame that we must transmit to young oblates today.

On the fifth day, the workshop focused on discernment, accompaniment and evaluation; it was animated by Sr. Elizabeth Okpalaenwe of the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary. Through practical examples, she helped us understand how discernment is central to our daily lives.

After a morning on news from the General Formation Committee, the afternoon of the sixth day was a time of exchange between the members of the Regional Formation Committee; a time to revisit the Garoua meeting that took place in Cameroon at the end of June and beginning of July 2017. We also discussed issues such as regency experience and preparation for perpetual vows.

Fr. Fidèle MUNKIELE spoke about the role of the formator and the formandi. Through practical questions, he helped us to share about the challenges of formation in our context. P. Mokone RATHOKOA meanwhile spoke to us about listening, values, emotional needs and group dynamics.

The workshop ended with the intervention of Fr. Guillaume MUTHUNDA, General Counselor for Africa and Madagascar. Going through several topics, he emphasized the mission of the formator. He must be the guardian, protector, witness and communicator of the Oblate charism and spirituality. His role is to train young Oblates who are virtuous, honest, apostolic men, willing to cross borders, disciplined, zealous and who accept to live the constant renewal through evangelical values such as humility, community life, interculturality, proximity to the poor.

At the end, all the participants expressed their joy for this initiative and each formators returns to his mission reinvigorated in his missionary enthusiasm, and better equipped to accomplish his mission more faithfully. (Alexius IGBOZURIKE)