February 2023 Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director

Dearest sisters and brothers in Christ and Saint Francis.

As promised, we will start to discuss the transition to the Inquiry phase. But first I
would like to do a bit of a review and make sure we are all on the same page.

  • As you will recall, in the first publication we discussed appropriate formation materials and the “Pathway to Profession” ( Fun Manual under the Profession Chapter. The FUN Manual is available on-line at the Saint Katherine Drexel Region web site: http://www.skdregion.org/ 2 FUN Manual Pages 51 thru 54)  In all cases initial formation must follow those guidelines.
  • It is also suggested that a person interested in the order be encouraged to
    attend two or three regular gatherings before starting any initial formation.
    This gives them an opportunity to get to know the fraternity and the
    fraternity to get to know them before starting the process.
  • The next step is the “Initial Interview and faith inventory” (Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order – Chapter One, pages 9 – 10)
    • This includes General Personal information, name, birthday, marital
      status and so on.
    • It also includes documentation of sacramental information, religious
      education, various other information and names and addresses for
      their personal references including their pastor.
    • This is an important step that should not be skipped. And the
      individual should not be allowed to enter Inquiry without suppling
      them or identifying any problems in getting them.
  • Once the Interview is completed the interviewer will present that
    information to the formation team and the council to discuss if there are
    any impediments or other serious issues like irregular marriages, same
    sex unions, Divorce and remarriage without an annulment.

    • Once the council agrees there are no unmanageable impediments,
      the individual is invited to enter the “Orientation Phase”.
  • Orientation is at a minimum three months long. In that time, the individual
    and the formation team (Director) will review the first three chapters in the
    formation book “The Franciscan Journey” assigning the individual written
    homework that will be collected and available for review by the council.
  • The homework turned in can assist greatly in understanding the
    individual’s spirituality and orthodoxy. This homework can be returned
    after profession or departure from formation.

    • During this time, the individual should have provided a copy of the
      following records:
      ▪ Baptismal Record
      ▪ First Communion Record
      ▪ Confirmation Record
      ▪ All Marriage Records
      ▪ Any Holy Order Records (Priest and Deacons)
      ▪ All Divorce and Annulment records.
    • The Formation Director should have also received responses from
      the individuals’ references:
      ▪ Their Pastor
      ▪ A close friend (Catholic)
      ▪ A Spiritual Advisor other than their pastor, if they have one

There are times through no fault of their own, an individual has a hard time
getting some of these records. In such cases, the local council should work with the
individual and their pastor to overcome the issue if possible

At the end of Orientation, the Formation Team (Director) should sit down with the
individual and discuss their feelings, general direction and jointly decide if the person
should request to move on to the “Inquiry Phase” which is technically the beginning of
Initial Formation. In my fraternity, we actually ask the individual to write a formal letter
requesting entry into Inquiry and why they want that.

With all this done, the individual(s) go through the “Ceremony of Introduction and
Welcoming”3 which is not a liturgical rite and therefore should not be done during liturgy
or prayer. But should be conducted during the regular portion of the gathering. Once
completed, Inquiry Phase and formal initial formation begins!

Next time we will the Inquiry phase in much more detail

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