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Youth and religious life: educators gather at the Roncalli Institute of Salatiga

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – On the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the Roncalli Institute has convened every religious instructor, in the novitiate or at any other level of formation, to Salatiga (Central Java).

Educators are invited to participate in a “updating” session together with personalities from different congregations, to share their practical experience in educating young people about religious life (photo).

Brother Flavianus Ngardi Mtb, a religious from Yogyakarta, and Sister Immaculata Sfic, from Pontianak (West Kalimantan), shared their experience with AsiaNews. Starting on April 26th, it was divided into several sessions and will end on May 12th. Both religious took part in the activities aimed at “Junior Instructors”.

Speaking as the main contributor to the junior instructor program, Fr. Yamrewau Msf, master of the novices of the missionaries of the Holy Family of Salatiga, explains some urgencies that all the religious “mentors” in the novitiate and postulancy should be aware of.

The priest points out that in the era of technological communication a more “friendly” approach is required in the formation of candidates for religious life. Moreover, unlike the past decades, among the latter there are not only those who come from minor seminaries, but also lay people who intend to “change” their lives and consecrate themselves to Christ.

Citing Fr. Yamrewau, Brother Flavianus states: “In these modern times, networking and interconnection are very important in the field of religious formation”. Other challenges are more related to the “instant culture” that keeps most of the young people of the “millennial generation” busy. They are not familiar with the “silentium“, they are reluctant to leave behind their modern gadgets and are used to escape difficulties and challenges that arise before. Brother Flavianus and Sister Immaculata report how, in group sessions, all religious educators are challenged by behaviors that are not “suited” to religious life. In the past, the “silentium magnum” was very easy to maintain, but today it is rare to find that kind of “propensity”.

Citing some key points to share with his peer groups, Brother Flavianus explains that behavioral patterns are still very important. Religious mentors are called to be figures dedicated to prayer, so as to be able to practice discernment of spirits properly. However, this is not enough. In these modern times, formators also need a little sense of humor and familiarity with current communication technologies and their devices. As requested by the Roncalli Institute, the working groups have expressed the recommendation that some religious journalistic notions are given to religious educators. “Their continuous formation is an urgent matter”, says Brother Flaviaus Ngardi. “This includes teachings on digital catechesis and comprehensive information on millennial generation thinking”.

(Brother Flavianus Ngardi Mtb and Sister Immaculata Sfic collaborated).

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