Meeting of the Formators of the CECOC in Poland
“Since formation tends towards the transformation of the whole person in Christ, it must be lifelong, as regards both human values and the evangelical and consecrated life.” (Const. 23:2)
Tenczyn (Poland). A meeting of the formators of the Capuchin Friars Minor Conference of Central and Eastern Europe (CECOC) was held from June 16-19, 2019 in Tenczyn, Poland.
The Conference is made up of 642 priests, 163 lay brothers and 136 brothers in initial formation. As mandated by the major superiors, the responsibility of formation is entrusted to specifically designated persons. In addition to managing the formation of the young friars, they also support the provincial ministers and custodes in the animation of ongoing formation in their fraternities. These brothers – there are about forty of them – have the great responsibility of being in charge of more than a thousand friars in formation.
Our Constitutions remind us that every brother is at the same time in need of formation and imparting formation, because all of us always have something to learn and to teach. (Const. 24:6). Keeping this fact in mind, under the initiative of the formators themselves and with the support of the major superiors of CECOC, a meeting was organized that brought together Capuchin brothers from Poland (both provinces), from Belarus, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.
The special guests invited to the meeting were: Br. Rocco Timpano (General Secretary of Formation during the 2008-2012 sexennium and currently an interprovincial post-novitiate director in Campobasso, Italy) who shared with his brothers his reflection on the experience of formation in our life and the issue of authenticity; Br. Jaime Rey, current Vice General Secretary of Formation, who presented the current state of our Ratio formationis Ordinis. Also present at the meeting were: Br. Tomasz Żak, Provincial Minister of the Province of Krakow and president of the CECOC; Br. Łukasz Woźniak, Provincial Minister of the Province of Warsaw; Br. Błażej Suska, Custos of Ukraine and Russia. To better facilitate the exchange of opinions, the sharing of experiences and the awareness of new tools for formation, the friars were divided into four thematic groups: ongoing formation, vocation ministry and pre-postulancy, postulancy and novitiate, and post-novitiate and studies.
The meeting was a good opportunity to pause before God during the celebration of the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours and mental prayer, in addition to community recreation. Surrounded by the splendid Beskid Mountains, the formators, who work in different corners of Europe, had a chance get to know each other better and everyone found this enriching. Together, all the friars visited the Cathedral in the salt mines of Wieliczka, and afterwards went to Krakow in order to meet the friars in the post-novitiate.
The meeting of the CECOC formators in Tenczyn was the first event of this kind held within our Capuchin conference, and we hope that it is not the last.