Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Formation insights

The joint meeting that we had of the Youth Pastoral and Formation commissions, this whole day was quite an enriching experience. Besides the normal ingredients of a meeting, some sharp and 'out of the box' thinking, made the sitting very exciting. Here are some personal insights:
  • When we invite youngsters to our way of life, on the basis of what do we invite them? What is our USP (Unique Selling Point!)? Do we propose to them to join our institution, our mission, our community, our way of life... I personally feel, our invitation to them is to know and love God and the young, like Don Bosco did! The rest is secondary.
  • Our lament most often is that young Salesians leave the congregation, mostly during the period of practical training (PT). While it is good to ask why, it is also important to reflect upon this important question that someone raised during the meeting: Young people join us, not to study philosophy or theology, but to work as we do, amidst young people. Why is it then, that they leave during PT? That's what they eagerly look forward to, but what is it that makes them quit when they really enter their desired field of work?
  • Most often our PTs are restricted to the institutional boys within. They are not given an opening to have a share in the mission of the whole community, say the pastoral activity of the Parish, the youth centre, Sunday oratory, group dynamics in the school and neighbourhood... He is totally lost in the boarding. Then we lament that young Salesians, after their ordination do not want to work in a mission station or take up some 'adventurous new frontiers'. Reason: if they have not tasted anything but an institutional (read it safe, disciplined and arranged life) life, for them to opt for something different is to go against the grain!

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