House of Formation

by OMI Bangladesh on November 3, 2012

  • Oblate Scholasticate
  • Oblate Juniorate

Oblate Scholasticate

The Oblate Scholasticate was established in 1980 in Dhaka. Now we have 15 Scholastics, thirteen are in Bangladesh and two in the International Scholasticate, Rome. They go to the Holy Spirit Major Seminary which is affiliated to Urbaniana University, Rome for their philosophical and theological studies. They study philosophy for two years and theology for four years. Our Scholastics are doing very well academically. They have one year pastoral experience in the Oblate missions. Besides this they are involved in one and half month of annual pastoral experi¬ences and weekly pastoral works such as: visiting hospitals, houses, conducting prayer services etc.

Oblate Juniorate

Our Juniorate was established in 1988 in Dhaka. At present there are 40 Juniors. Every year we have a vocation cam¬paign. We invite young boys after their matric examination (after finishing class X). Then we have an orientation programme for three days at the Juniorate where most of the Oblate Fathers come during this come and see programme.

Formation In Bangladesh

The Purpose of initial formation is to develop gradually those whom Jesus calls to total discipleship in the congregation, until they are mature Religious, capable of carrying on the Oblate Mission. This requires assimilation in faith of all the dimensions of our vocation, especially of Gospel Poverty, Celibate love and availability for missionary service. (CC. 50)

The vision of formation is given here to prepare the candidate for the total discipleship. The Congregation always puts much emphasis on the formation of the future Oblates so that the candidate may have a mature formation and can be capable of carrying on the difficult mission. In line with the Congregation’s will, the Delegation of Bangladesh also puts more emphasis on this point. There is a formation model that is followed here in the formation houses. This model is based on the Physical, Spiritual, affective, academic, community and apostolic needs.

Remembering all these needs, the Oblates in Bangladesh are trying their level best to form the future Oblates. One starts from the Juniorate, and then proceeds to the Pre-Novitiate, Novitiate and Scholasticate. After passing the Intermediate, one has to go for a Come & See programme and needs to be selected to join the Juniorate. Here, one has to complete his BA. While staying in the Juniorate, he needs to show his interest in Religious life. There is a set time-table for the proper formation of the candidate. After that, the candidate will be sent for the Pre-Novitiate and Novitiate programme to Sri Lanka.

The Pre-Novitiate and Novitiate help the candidate to discern his vocation, to know more and more about the Congregation and prepare himself to dedicate himself to the Oblate way of life. Once he finishes the Novitiate, then he comes to the Scholasticate and start studies at the National Major Seminary. He studies two years of philosophy and four years of Theology and a year of regency is sandwiched in. While staying in the Scholasticate, he is expected to fulfill the requirements that are given for his growth. The spiritual formation is very important here, it touches all the aspects of life and the formee is expected to have a strong foundation of faith so that once he finishes his seminary life; he may be convinced that Jesus loves him and calls him. One has to have a profound love for the Eucharist. In the spiritual journey, the candidate also has to be sincere to his community prayer, personal prayer, to his meditation, to spiritual reading, and all the other private devotions. A weekly spiritual conference is given so that the candidate may be more aware of himself. One has to have a spiritual Director to accompany him on his long journey.

For wholesome and integral growth one needs to have the other aspects too. One has the time for manual labour and  games. These help him to remember that he is going to be a missionary in difficult areas. Studies are very important here. In the Scholasticate one needs to be tellectually balanced. To be a good priest, one needs to know Philosophy, Theology and other disciplines.

One has to go for the pastoral work too. He teaches the children, visit the families and pray with the people because these help him to reflect more on the priestly life. Community life is very important. So the candidate is expected to have a profound love for the community.

In our houses of formation, we have 48 in the Juniorate, one in the Novitiate, 4 in the Scholasticate, one in Korea and 1in Rome. We also have 24 Priests and one Bishop. The small Delegation started in 1973 has grown. We do hope that more will join to become good Priests and not just Priests.

Oblate formation is very extensive; the Philosophy behind it is not given its due place because I went into the practical aspects of Oblate Formation. Hopefully the formation process here will make the candidate say “Yes, I am convinced that God calls me and wants me to do his will”.

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