Franciscan Formators' Meeting
March 20-23, 17 Friars gathered at the Moye Center at St. Ann Convent in Melbourne, KY for a meeting. (St. Ann Convent was where some scenes in the movie Rain Man were filmed.)All are involved in some level of Initial Formation; for example, Vocation Director, Postulancy Director, etc. The purpose of our annual meeting is to gather the Directors of the three co-operating Midwest provinces (Sacred Heart, Assumption, and Saint John the Baptist) for discussion of common issues as well as fraternal support. We usually spend some time on our own continuing formation and then address the business at hand. This year, 17 friars participated; five each from Sacred Heart and Assumption Provinces, one from Our Lady of Guadalupe, and six from Saint John the Baptist.
This year our continuing formation speaker was Dr. Lief Noll, the psychologist who assesses our men prior to entry into our Postulancy Program. Wednesday morning, Dr. Noll presented the findings of an intercommunity study he has recently conducted looking for benchmarks to guide him in determining which men are most prepared to face Religious Formation. In the afternoon he lead us through some exercises looking at the issues we face personally as formation/vocation directors as well as the issues we find prominent in those men preparing to be Franciscans. That evening we relaxed and watched Rain Man.
Thursday was business day. In the morning we each met with our cohorts to discuss common issues at each level of formation. In the afternoon we had a general meeting to discuss some issues pertinent to our interprovincial formation efforts. That evening Saint Francis Seraph Friary hosted the group to a social after we toured Saint Anthony Messenger Press and the Ministries of St. Francis Seraph Parish.
These meetings are always good for building community and sharing ideas. We also look into possible ways to improve the formation programs for our new members.