Dear Brother Oblates gathered for the Prenovitiate Formators Workshop,
Blessings to all of you and thank you for coming to this important Congregational event which is part of our Oblate Triennium. I would like to thank Father Cornelius, Father Clement, Father Joe Labelle and the members of the Aix Community for their leadership in organizing and executing this significant encounter for our Congregation. I am grateful to Father Morrissey for bringing his expertise to this workshop and to Father Emmanuel and Father Hippólito for their invaluable assistance in translating services.
The prenovitiate is a crucial period of formation. The young men are no longer young juniors, but at this stage are more decided and mature. They need very good accompaniment, both in terms of psycho-sexual formation and in terms of faith formation. In a sense, the prenovitiate is the “gate” to the rest of formation. You are standing at the beginning and laying foundations. It is so important that the human “raw material” be healthy and the spiritual formation be solid. Grace builds on nature, and we would like to see young men who are healthy and capable of human maturity and who are in love with Jesus Christ and who are deepening a living relationship to him.
In some places I haves noticed a very great distance between formators and prenovices as though the relationship is that of master and servant or employer and employee. You must be an older brother to them. You must know each of them and love them. Please do not be distant from them or simply rely on a cold and formal relationship or entrust them to school work and manual labor. Please spend time getting to know them and accompanying them at least once a month or even better every two or three weeks. Speak with them, not simply to correct them, but to help them grow and to encourage and support them.
I am sorry that I am not with you for a couple of days to share this important moment with all of you. I am on vacation with family in the United States and I join you in prayer and in love. May this encounter be a strong experience of formation for all of you and assist you in your ministry to our young men. I pray for you and I am very grateful for your ministry to these young men who come to us as Jesus said, “to come and see.” God bless you!
With my love and prayer, your brother Oblate in Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate,
Father Louis Lougen, OMI
July 14, 2014