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FORMATION

 

An overview of the various stages of Formation for priesthood in the Redemptorist congregation in India. 

    The formation for seminarians in the Redemptorist Congregation in India begins with the Orientation Year, which is presently in the city of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. Here, the seminarians are given a general view of various aspects of Religious Life (in addition to some valuable pastoral-experience.) The topics dealt with include: the Bible, the Sacraments, what it means to be a Religious (the three vows, and community life), and the life, charism and history of the Redemptorists (both in India and in general.)
    With this background in mind, the seminarians are promoted to the next stage of formation: the Philosophate. The Redemptorists (Province of Bangalore) have only one Philosophate, which is in Bangalore. For those who have already completed their Degree, the philosophy course lasts only for two years. The other students have to complete both their Degree (through correspondence at the IGNOU University) as well as their philosophy studies over a period of three years in the Philosophate.
    Six months prior to entering the next stage of formation (the Novitiate), the students enter into a period of Postulancy. During these six months, the students make a formal commitment to lead a dedicated life of chastity, poverty, obedience, and community life, promising to remain faithful to the Spirit of the Congregation and its Founder, St. Alphonsus.
    After successfully completing their studies at the Philosophate, the students enter into the Novitiate, which is located within the scenic tea-estates of the hill-station of Kothagiri, in the Nilgiris. The Novitiate is a one-year programme, exclusively intended for deepening the spirituality of the seminarians. Studies are kept to a minimum. The seminarians are provided with an environment conducive for their spiritual enrichment. Apart from a few classes on Redemptorist Spirituality and the Constitutions and Statutes, they are given time and space to pray and reflect on God’s Call to the Redemptorist Way of Life. And after having confirmed their decision to become members of the Congregation, the candidates make their First Profession (take temporary vows) at the end of their Novitiate.
    The newly professed Brothers then return to Bangalore to begin their study of Theology at the Redemptorist Theologate, which is attached to Holy Ghost Church. After the first year of study, they are sent for a year-long Regency experience. This includes work-experience (for example, with NGOs) as well as Parish Ministry. At the end of the Regency, the Brothers return to continue their theology studies, which culminate with six-months of Diaconate experience in a Parish. Altogether, this stage of formation (including Regency and Diaconate) takes five years.
    At the end of the six months of Diaconate, the Brothers are ready for their Ordination to the Priesthood, which normally takes place in their respective Dioceses.

 

 

 

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