Intellectual Growth: For some, ongoing formation means getting more degrees.
Spiritual Growth: For some, ongoing formation is a time for renewal and refreshment.
Emotional Growth: For some, ongoing formation is a time for rest after years of ministry.

Fr. Luis Ignacio ROIS ALONSO, OMI, Superior General of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, shared his vision for ongoing formation during a February 2024 meeting with the General Committee for Formation in Rome. He emphasized that “Ongoing formation is a daily conversion to the Gospel.  Ongoing formation is about an attitude more than an activity;  it is about ‘being’ more than ‘doing’; it is about changing life more than achieving for life!”

The Oblate Constitutions and Rules, particularly C.68, define ongoing formation as a dynamic process by which “God is ever at work in the world; his life-giving Word seeks to transform mankind, to build his People. We are instruments of that Word. We have thus to be open and flexible, learning how to respond better to new needs, how to find answers to new questions, discerning all the while the movement of the Spirit who renews the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104: 30).”  Recognizing and embracing the Holy Spirit’s role allows for a transformation of mind, heart, and spirit, enhancing our ability to meet the challenges of our mission.

Ongoing formation is described not as individual leisure (“Me Time”) but as sacred time with God (“God and Me Time”). It is a period for renewal involving personal and community prayer, reflection, and retreats, including a week-long retreat annually. These moments serve as opportunities to deepen our commitment and service to God and His people.  (C.35)

This spiritual journey is a continuous process of conversion and renewal. It allows us to reconnect with Jesus personally and communally, rejuvenating our commitment and enabling us to deliver the Good News effectively, particularly to those most in need. Ongoing formation aids our personal human growth and our Christian growth and ultimately guides us toward holiness.

As stated in R.68a, “The ultimate success of ongoing formation depends on the individual’s sincere desire and will…” Thus,  the success of ongoing formation ultimately depends on each individual’s genuine desire and commitment to growth. We are the main actors in our spiritual journey, and daily invocation of the Holy Spirit is crucial to opening our hearts and collaborating effectively in our formation.

Studies, renewal programs, sabbaticals, and our “Me Time” are all designed to bring us closer to Jesus and enhance our self-awareness and commitment to generosity in our “Yes”.  These experiences foster joy and a sense of fulfillment.  As our Constitutions and Rules says, “We will help each other find joy and fulfillment in our community life and our apostolate, supporting one another in our resolution to be faithful to the Congregation.”  (C.29)

Henricus Asodo ISTOYO, OMI
Assistant General for Formation.