Tuesday, 13 May 2003

Bangalore (Fides Service) – Revise formation and ongoing formation for Religious to meet the challenges of the third millennium in a constantly changing world. This was the commitment taken at the end of a Meeting of Major Religious Superiors in India held in April in Bangalore, roughly 2,600 km south of Delhi. Some 450 Superiors attended the meeting representing 113,000 religious, to reflect on the theme Formation of Religious for Mission in India Today.
In their final statement the Superiors say the rapid changes in society “impel” them to articulate “a renewed vision” for formation of Religious. They pointed out that this formation takes place amid the continuing search for the Absolute in India’s “rich and varied religious-cultural traditions”.
Among the situations for which formation must be relevant they cite globalisation, sectarian hatred, liberation struggles of oppressed social groups and movements for women’s rights, environmental questions and human rights.
To respond to these situations they say Religious need to continually contemplate God and undergo conversions of heart. They call for a fostering of the “prophetic dimension” of religious life that urges them to oppose injustice.
As a first step the statements indicates formation of formators through periodical training programmes. The Superiors also encourage training in “critical thinking, political consciousness and social-cultural and media analysis” to help religious understand the “dynamics of a fast-changing world”.
Lastly the Superiors encourage religious to pay more attention to human rights, environment protection, inculturation and interreligious dialogue, all themes to be inserted in formation programmes for seminarians and religious. The Superiors also stressed the importance of participation in community life. The assembly re-elected as President of the Conference Jesuit Father Lisbert D’Souza. PA (Fides Service 13/5/2003 EM lines 30 Words: 314)