On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, an International Meeting of Pallottine Formation leaders from all over the world began at the house of the Christian Brothers in Rome. The meeting was organized by the General Council of the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers, together with the General Councils of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters and Roman Pallottine Sisters. 58 participants of the Pallottine Family from 12 countries took part in this international event. Six of them constituted the organizational committee, which supervised the whole meeting very well. The main purpose of this meeting was the formation of formators and deepening the topics of accompaniment in the process of formation in accordance with the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti. The word accompaniment was mentioned many times during lectures as well as in group works and homilies during Mass.
The participants had the opportunity to listen to very interesting lectures: Sr. Alessandra Smerilii shared her experience of participating in the Synod dedicated to the issues of young people and drew attention to the particularly important matters mentioned in the post-synodal exhortation. Ms. Patrizia Morgante from UISG made us aware that the digital world is not so much away from us, but that each of us, whether we like it or not – live in the digital world. She taught us how to deal with this in a better way, to have an understanding of and seeking for ways in formation that will be suitable for young people, living in this digital reality. Fr. Romuald Uzabumwana – showed us in a very interesting lecture the psychological aspects of accompaniment, and Fr. Carmelo Raspa exposed how the Bible reveals the truth that the human being is a person living in a relationship with another person. We need one another because we are created by God. Fr. Artur Stępień during his speech exhibited the important features of spiritual accompaniment. What should a formator be like and what are the difficulties in the formation ministry. The series of lectures ended with a talk of Fr. Stanisław Stawicki who spoke about the relevance of the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti. Meetings in the various language groups and reports from the group meetings at our forum clearly showed that we were united by one spirit, that our thinking is Pallottine thinking in which we care about cooperation, the broadly understood apostolate and deep spiritual life. And although it was evident that the problems in different countries and continents are different, this did not prevent us from sharing experiences, learning about the ministry of formation and listening to the Holy Spirit.
On the last day of the meeting, we had the joy to listen to presentations of the Superiors General. On behalf of Sr. Ivete Garlet, the Superior General of the Roman Pallottine Sisters, Sr. Venícia Meurer, Vicar General, spoke to us reminding that the main formator is the Holy Spirit, and the formator is to humbly listen to His inspirations. Sr. Izabela Świerad, the Superior General of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters, referring to the previous Sunday´s beatification of Fr. Richard Henkes, a Pallottine from Germany, reminded us that “the formator should be a person of God, who speaks and stands courageously for Truth, being a faithful and authentic witness.” Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, the Rector General of the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers, mentioning many qualities that the Formator should have, also pointed out that anyone who wants to form others should be formed him/herself, having a spiritual director.
Of course, during the meeting we had time to encounter St. Vincent Pallotti. On Sunday, September 15, we celebrated the Holy Mass in the church of SS. Salvatore in Onda, at the tomb of St. Vincent. After Mass we had the opportunity to be in the room in which St. Vincent had lived and walk the streets of Rome our Founder had walked. There was also an occasion to visit the Pia Casa di Carità, where the first orphanage founded by Pallotti was established.
One evening was arranged as a recreational, cultural evening where various cultures and nations showed the beauty and richness of diversity. It was beautiful to experience that we were able to sing in different languages and have fun together, although often we needed to use sign language. But the common spirit of unity was strongly felt among us, – so when the time to say goodbye arrived, we all, as good friends, departed from Rome in the hope that we would meet again someday. We left this place enriched with knowledge and spiritual experiences and with new ideas and hope that our service as formators will be more fruitful. We prayed for this every day during the Liturgy of the Hours, at Holy Mass and joint adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
On Wednesday, September 18, together with the participants of the Roman Pallottine Sisters we visited their beautiful Provincial House at Via Porta Maggiore. The meeting with the Sisters of the General Council, the telling of Sr. Lilia Capretti and a presentation about the history of our Congregations, prepared by the General Superior, were an important event on the path of the spiritual unity of both Congregations.
The next day, we met at the Generalate with our General Council to exchange experiences in our ministry of formation and to look for new ways of formation for our Congregation. The meeting ended with the prayer and the blessing of our Superior General for the gift and capacity to fulfill our ministry of formation in faith, love, guided by the Spirit.
Sr. Urszula Kłusek SAC