Br. Al Rivera – Co-Director of Vocations, USA Province
The Arco Norte committee for Marist Brother Formation met in Medellin, Colombia back in September of 2019 to begin to look at how the region can begin to develop a formation program that addresses not only the needs of those men entering initial formation but also prepares them to be Marist Brothers for the World.
A document has been prepared that identifies the regions strengths, weakness, and challenges, by the different stages. In the area of initial formation, we are looking to address weaknesses in order to provide a formation process that speaks to the needs of our younger members.
Presently, the committee has asked each Arco Norte Province to review its current formation plan in light of the document prepared by the formation committee, and see where and how some of the suggestions can be implemented. In addition, each Province is sharing what they consider to be some of the “best practices” in formation. All these documents will be shared with the Brothers responsible for formation within the region.
Also, the committee has proposed a first step to begin to address some of the calls of the XXII General Chapter Meeting. In order to strengthen our identity, as a region and as a Global Family, the region is looking to utilize videoconferencing to connect those men in formation with their respective peers.
The objective of the initiative is not only for the men in formation to get to know one another, but more importantly, to use the time as a formative experience. With the assistance of local formators, these experiences of fraternity will allow those in formation to understand and experience Marist Life from a different perspective. It will give them an opportunity to discuss issues in formation as well as share thoughts and insights about living life as a Marist Brother in light of a changing world.
The committee for Marist Lay formation has been working over the past several months planning for the first gathering of Marist Lay formators. Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering has been postponed until a later date. However, the committee may be reorganizing to attempt to do at least part of the event via videoconferencing. The committee will be meeting in the weeks ahead to discuss this possibility and develop a plan of action.