The Schola Fratrum for Indian Capuchin Formators and other friars in India was held from the 5th December to 17th December 2022 in Guwahati, Assam. The program was held in Nirmala Martha Custody of Assam and Meghalaya at Capuchin House, Juripur Path, Guwahati. A total of 24 friars attended the Schola Fratrum representing the various Provinces in India. Br. Waldheim Rodrigues CCMSI President was present for the first few days. Br. Charles Alphonse Secretary and Br. Jaime Rey Vice-Secretary of the Secretariat for Capuchin Formation, General Curia, Rome were the Resource persons. Br. Paul Alvares ICF for CCMSI was present. Br. Renny Velayappillil, Custos of the Nirmala Martha Br. Jose Pandianparambil, Br. Biju Mathew, Br. Lamphrang Marbaniang and the brothers of the Custody saw to the overall arrangements for our stay in Guwahati.
The Brothers attending the Program along with the Guest Friars were warmly welcomed by Br. Renny and the Friars of the Custody from the airport and stations to the friary. They made our stay very comfortable showing very brother their fraternal care and love.
The Program began on the morning of 6th December with the inaugural Mass celebrated by Br. Waldheim President of CCMSI, along with the presence of Br. Renny, Br. Charles and Br. Jaime. Later in the Inaugural session Br. Renny, Custos, lit the lamp and welcomed all brothers present with special Assamee shawls and gave a brief view of the Mission, the life of the Brothers, and it’s Mission. Br. Waldheim Rodrigues inaugurated the Schola Fratrum 2022, by lighting the lamp and addressing the brothers about the importance of this program for the Capuchin formation in India. Br. Charles after lighting the lamp explained the program for the two weeks. Br. Jaime also added a few important points to set the Schola Fratrum in motion. Br. John Baptist also addressed the brothers present online and wished for a fruitful gathering.
From the 6th December to the 9th December 2022 Br. Charles and Br. Jaime kept us all busy with the required sessions and the fruitful group discussions. During these days we reflected on Chapter three of the Ratio to give our suggestions on the stages of formation and how we can integrate several important aspects of our Franciscan Capuchin Charism into our formation program in India.
On 10th December we had a study tour to Shillong to see the Missionary work of the friars in the Custody, visiting the formation Houses in the Custody. An important three hours visit to the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong gave us a very good glimpse of the social, cultural, economic, political and religious life of the people in the North Eastern States, called the Six Sisters. This was an amazing tour. Finally we ended up at a leprosarium of Mother Teresa and spend time with the lepers. The Sisters also gave us an understanding of their own formation program and their experiences of caring for the poor.
On the 11th December we attended a youth convention Mass, in the morning, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Byrnihat, Meghalaya. A large number of youth from 8 parishes had gathered for this convention. It was a great experience to be at this local youth gathering. We participated in the Mass and lunch. In the afternoon we spent the day in silence and recollection which was conducted by Br. Paul Alvares and ended with a holy hour in the evening.
The next week was devoted to the further study of Ratio and the various stages of formation and special attention on collaboration at the CCMSI level, lay brothers to the Order, of having common formation houses, especially in the North India. We also were briefed online by Br. Mario Swaldo Mission Secretary, on mission and Br. Joel De Jesus, secretary for JPIC, on matters of JPIC.
On 16th December we concluded the Schola Fratrum thanking everyone who contributed to make it a great success. The Brothers who attended expressed profound gratitude for the brotherly and motherly treatment they received from the brothers of the Custody, especially Br. Renny and Br. Jose, during the two weeks stay in Guwahati. Sincere thanks to Br. Jaime and Br. Charles who shared so much on the Ratio and the formation desired at the Order’s level and for making the sessions lively and interesting. There were lots to learn from this Schola Fratrum. A very special word of thanks also goes to our two brothers, Br. Lamphrang and Br. Praveen Kumar Dodda for recording each days minutes and sharings so well. Their work was highly appreciated. Br. Jose with his motherly care prepared everything to our taste and liking. Brothers specially thanked Br. John Baptist our General Definator for accompanying us from a distance and regularly inquiring about each days sessions. Special thanks pour forth to Br. Waldheim Rodrigues, President of the CCMSI and the CCMSI for organizing this year Schola Fratrum 2022. The program concluded with a surprise. Br. Renny had prepared a momento for all to take home the happy memories of this year’s Schola Fratrum in Guwahati.
Br. Paul Alvares
ICF for CCMSI