Ross Kapunan, OMI
On behalf of the General Formation Committee

At our recently concluded meeting in Rome (11-16 February 2019), the General Formation Committee reflected on some of the calls of the 36th General Chapter regarding lifelong formation for Oblate life and mission today.  We also spent some time evaluating the recently concluded Year of Oblate Vocations and initiating the remote preparation for the ongoing formation workshop for Post-novitiate formators that will take place in Aix-en-Provence from 7 to 28 July 2020.

However, the focal point of our meeting was the conclusion of discussions on the Prenovitiate formation program for the Congregation. This has been under study since the 2016 General Chapter’s renewed awareness of the importance of this formation stage. It will now go to the Superior General and his Council for further refinement and eventually for their approval. The important elements that emerged during the discussions and that will ensure a fruitful and enriching Prenovitiate experience are the following:  it is necessary to provide the prenovices with a stable Oblate community and a team of competent and full-time formators. Moreover, no matter the length of the Prenovitiate experience (at least 6 months according to R. 54b), we must ensure that the main objectives of the formation program are achieved. For the objectives to be satisfactorily accomplished, the committee recommends at least a one-year Prenovitiate program.

Above from left to right: Ross Kapunan (Philippines), Cornelius Ngoka (Assistant General for Formation), Candido Gonzalez (Mexico).
Below from left to right: Alexius Igbozurike (Nigeria), Giuseppe Rubino ( Italy), Raul Salas (USA)

In terms of its structure, the Prenovitiate experience will be organized in such a way that the prenovices are properly introduced to the program (orientation stage), are able to deepen and to assimilate the different aspects of the Prenovitiate life (foundation stage) and can integrate the entire experience (integration stage).

Most importantly, the Prenovitiate formation experience serves as an immediate preparation for the novitiate. Thus, it should help the prenovices attain appropriate human and spiritual maturity that will make them ready to begin the novitiate experience.