IAOP Formators Meeting in Yamoussoukro

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IAOP Formators Meeting in Yamoussoukro
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The masters of students and of novices of Inter-Africa (IAOP) held their triannual meeting at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, Yamoussoukro (Ivory Coast), Vice-province of St Augustine in West Africa, from 2 to 6 October 2016. The theme of the meeting was: Renewal of Dominican Life in Africa. Friar Emmanuel Ntakarutimana, OP, former Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa and former Coordinator of IAOP, was the moderator of the meeting. Eleven (11) students and novices masters from six entities of the eight that composed IAOP took part in this meeting. Also present at this meeting were; fr. Vivian Boland, OP, the Vicar of the Master of the Order and delegated Socius for Initial Formation, and fr. Gabriel Samba, OP, Socius for Africa.

The meeting was opened on Sunday 2 October by the Eucharistic celebration presided over by fr. Gabriel Samba, in the chapel of the convent, with the participation of the community and some usual faithful. In his message of welcome and gratitude in André Léna’s Hall, the Socius for Africa called upon the IAOP Formators to know one another well, share their experiences in formation, discuss the questions of formation in the region of Africa, and be informed about the reality of formation in the Order. He also presented the threefold context of particular importance in which the IAOP Formators’ meeting 2016 took place. Firstly, the Jubilee year of 800 years of the confirmation of the Order of Preachers and 40 years of the existence of IAOP. Secondly, the meeting comes just after the General Chapter of Bologna which approved the new Ratio Formationis Generalis (RFG) and requested the Master of the Order to appoint a Socius for fraternal life and formation. Thirdly, the meeting happened after the General Assembly of IAOP in Nairobi-Kenya in 2014, an assembly which reflected at length on initial formation at the level of Inter-Africa and elevated the idea of having a common novitiate.

The formators largely debated the question of the formation of formators, stressing the need to have a proper place of formation for the Order where the Brothers can acquire a specific Dominican formation. They reiterated the need for special support from the formation community and local and provincial councils of formation. Finally, they raised issues of common novitiate, harmonization of the programmes of formation in the novitiates and studentates, and the follow-up of the recommendations and the accessibility to the official documents of the IAOP and the Order.

Brother Vivian presented the final version of the RFG approved by the General Chapter of Bologna and will soon be promulgated as soon as the French translation is finalized. He insisted on the appropriation and contextualization of this new ratio, taking into account the specific realities of each region, in particular the typical African cultural values and the fundamental values of the Dominican life. Thus, the brothers identified points of encounter and conflict between the fundamental values of typical African culture and the fundamental values of Dominican life. Brother Vivian also presented the experiences of formation in the other regions of the Order.

The formators took some resolutions. They asked the IAOP Coordinating Committee to add two more days to their meeting, and to consider the possibility of longer formation, between two or three weeks, or even a month. They expressed the need of having a Forum of the IAOP formators on Atrium where they can find the necessary documents.

The next meeting of the formators will take place in 2019, while the IAOP Student Week will be held in Luanda (Angola) in July 2017 and will focus on communication with the General Promoter for Social Communication. Sessions ended on 05 October. On 06 October, participants visited Our Lady of Peace Basilica of Yamoussoukro and on 07 October they joined the Master of the Order, Brother Bruno Cadoré to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in this sumptuous Basilica, with the Rosary Teams.

fr. Gabriel Samba, op.

 

(17 November 2016)