HIDROLÂNDIA, Brasile - 50 Capuchin formators from the different circunscriptions in Brazil met from January 17-19 in Hidrolândia/GO (Brazil) for a workshop known as a Schola Fratrum All the Brazilian provinces were represented for what was a fruitful time of prayer, study, reflection and sharing, a unique opportunity to sketch out the future of initial formation in this Capuchin Conference. The Schola Fratrum aimed to convey to the participants that formation is a process “combining elements of theoretical and practical knowledge with an experience of the values of Capuchin-Franciscan identity”. The following proposals were drafted at the end of the meeting:
1. Revise and recast the content of the first stage of the “Schola Fratrum” as a set of proposals, with the involvement of all the formators and formation fraternities.
2. The local chapters of the formation houses would read and study Br. Mauro Jöhri’s Circular Letter “Let us Fan the Flame of our Charism”, which deals with formation.
3. Create favourable conditions in which the basic values of our form of life can be properly lived in our multicultural situations. We wish to make initial formation a genuine initiation into our life of brotherhood, minority, contemplation, the renewal of our charism and closeness to the people. The brothers in formation will be offered experiences of life “on the margins” which call for being a lesser brother, such as hospital visits, work with HIV-positive people, prisoners, migrants, beggars, street children, etc, as well as desert or hermitage experiences.
4. The initiation process into our life will address the human, Christian, Franciscan and integral growth of the formandi.
5. In each circumscription, revise the process for each stage of initial formation, by analogy with Christian initiation programs.
6. Reassess the use of symbols in the formation process, including prayers, songs, observances and feasts of the saints of the Franciscan Family, in harmony with the liturgical season.
7. Start the different formation stages on significant dates, using ritual, gestures and symbols, especially Franciscan ones.
8. Draw up a programme of practical formation for the post-novitiate, lived on a day-to-day basis, in the light of the Capuchin Constitutions and the Franciscan sources, trying not to reduce the post-novitiate to academic studies.
9. Provide the formandi with opportunities for active participation in the SFO and GIFRA, with a view to the integration and practice of the Franciscan ethos.
10. Rethink the transition from initial to ongoing formation, taking into account special training in line with our charism.
11. Provide the initiators (formators) with training in such a way that they are genuinely re-initiated into the Capuchin Franciscan ethos.
12. Take particular care when setting up the formation fraternities, given their importance in initial formation. (General Minister’s Letter: “Let us fan the flame of our Charism”, n. 25 ). 13. Together with the CCB, examine the possibility of producing resource materials and a basic bibliography, for use in every stage of formation, to ensure a more unified process.