Ongoing Formation Workshops organized in East Africa

The General Consulta for Formation Fr. Baby Ellickal and the Regional Secretary for Formation in East Africa Fr. Fredrick Mukabana, in collaboration with the Secretaries of Formation in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, successfully organized two Ongoing Formation Workshops for Camillian religious of East Africa, in the months of August and September 2023. The theme of the workshops was, “Embracing Synodality in Fraternal Living and Witnessing our Camillian Charism”.

The first workshop, designed specifically for the young religious below 10 years of perpetual profession, was held at the Pastoral Centre of the Society of the Apostles of Jesus in Jinja, Uganda, from August 21st to 26th, and witnessed the participation of 24 dedicated religious from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The workshop began with the celebration of Holy Eucharist, presided over by the Superior General Fr. Pedro Tramontin, and concelebrated by the Vicar General Fr. Gianfranco Lunardon and Fr. Baby Ellickal.

Fr. Pedro Tramontin expressed his admiration for the commitment displayed by the attending religious, applauding their courage in coming together from various countries for this special occasion. He encouraged all participants to make the most of this ongoing formation program and to carry back home new insights and experiences to enrich their respective countries and missions. He shared his immense joy in meeting the young religious of East Africa, a long-cherished desire of his. Fr. Gianfranco Lunardon provided spiritual guidance by drawing inspiration from the day’s Gospel. He urged attendees to embrace the example of Mother Mary who was encouraged not to fear as she was to conceive through the Holy Spirit, reminding them that the Lord is always with them.

Fr. Baby Ellickal made significant contributions by ensuring participants a clear understanding of the theme of Synodality, which calls for Communion, Participation, and Mission. He emphasized the importance of listening, learning, and doing for a shared joy. Furthermore, he provided comprehensive insights into various aspects of the life, spirituality, qualities, and writings of St. Camillus. Fr. Richard Kyazze highlighted the importance of self-awareness in addressing contemporary challenges, especially the different forms of addiction affecting religious men and women.

This event was organized under the leadership of Fr. Babychan Pazhanilath MI, the Superior of the mission in Uganda, and the dedicated confreres in Uganda.

The second workshop was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from August 28th to September 1st, and was designed for the members with over 10 years of perpetual profession. The participants received a warm welcome from the confreres of Kenya, extended through the Provincial Delegate of the Kenyan Delegation Fr. John Ndwiga Njiru. During the opening remarks, Fr. Baby Ellickal expressed his gratitude to the attendees for coming together, setting aside their daily ministry for this important ongoing formation opportunity. He encouraged all the participants to recognize the valuable contributions made by East Africa to the entire Order, emphasizing the need for mutual growth through sharing of both human and economic resources. He urged everyone to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and be vigilant regarding potential threats, emphasizing the importance of seeing, judging, and acting in harmony. Fr. Baby further delved into the theme of Synodality, emphasizing its core components: Communion, Participation, and Mission. He stressed the importance of understanding that a Synodal Church is one that listens and learns, highlighting that Synodality is a divine call emanating from the dynamic vision of the Trinitarian God. Recognizing the signs of the times and fostering discernment are central to the heart of Synodality, achieved through the shared gift of discernment. Indeed, Synodality is a vital call for religious life in the present era.

Bro. Givemore Shonhayil provided valuable insights into the understanding of sexuality, encompassing its biological, emotional/pleasure, and personal/relational aspects. Participants also gained understanding on topics such as gender, sexual orientation, levels of sexual energy, and sexual attraction. Additionally, members were enlightened on children’s rights, including protection, the right to life, development, and participation, while also addressing indicators and the effects of child abuse.

Fr. Cosmas Kagwe focused on fraternal living and Charism rooted in the Camillian constitution. Attendees gained insights into the religious person through psychological, biological, sociological, and cognitive dimensions. The presentation also emphasized understanding the religious person within the framework of central elements, including the image and likeness of God, human relationality, embodied subjectivity, fundamental equality, and originality. Further guidance was provided on strategic planning, encompassing strategy formulation, implementation, control and evaluation, anchored in key themes of Vision, Mission, and Values.

This event was meticulously organized under the leadership of Fr. Fredrick Mukabana, the Regional Secretary of Formation for East Africa, Fr. John Ndwiga Njiru, the Provincial Delegate Superior of Kenya, and the dedicated confreres in Kenya.