THE BROTHER FORMATION PROGRAMME
FOR GHANA PROVINCE
This programme is the result of several years of actual
experience in the field of Brother Formation in our society. It became
evident that there was a great need for a well-planned Formation Programme
for Junior Brothers. On the part of the junior brothers the programme is
meant to provide sufficient religious / academic training stressing the
apostolic nature of the brother vocation, so that they can confidently
take their places in the work of the society. But to accomplish all these,
the interest, support and encouragement of the confreres of the society in
general is also necessary. At the same time we were able to update the
programme in accordance with present day situations and to bring it in
line with both our new SVD Constitutions and the New Code of Canon Law.
Brothers are called to carry out the missionary task of
the Church, entrusted to every Christian in baptism and confirmation, in
the decisive way called for by the religious life. Through the varied
services and witness to the gospel, the brothers share in the mission of
Christ to renew all things. The better trained they are for their
spiritual, professional, pastoral and social activities; the more
effectively they can fulfil their vocation. (c.515).
Divine Word Missionary Brother is a person who has chosen to commit
himself to the gospel values according to the charism and life-style of
the Society of the Divine Word. This commitment is his response, in faith,
to a call to grow in his understanding and acceptance of himself in
relation to Jesus Christ, to others and to the world. This response takes
its concrete expression in the following of Christ through the evangelical
To be able to make this response possible within
the context of the SVD Missionary charism in the church, the individual
who joins the society must be prepared for this vocation (of SVD
constitutions 501, 503, etc.). He should receive a Religious Formation and
a professional/ academic Training (c.503). During the time of formation,
confreres should develop the ability to work purposefully and harmoniously
with others and have consideration for them during work and leisure, and
to learn to live with tensions. The formation process fosters in each
individual an appreciation of the common order as well as the need for
being alone; there must be room for both in his life (c. 505.4, 505.5).
I. Admission requirements:
A minimum period of one-year contact with our vocation
Five SSSCE credits / Five ‘O’ Level credits (English
inclusive) ‘A’ Level graduates Teacher Certificate ‘A’ or University
Advance professional Training certificate in all Technical
Higher National Diploma (HND) in all fields.
Candidates who fulfil the admission requirements enter
into a well-integrated formation programme beginning with the Postulancy
up till final profession.
Postulancy (Two years)
Novitiate (One year)
Period of temporary vows.
Religious, Professional/Academic training (Two or Three
Full- Time Religious Education - Social Ministry in
Tangaza College Nairobi -Kenya) for Three years or any other Religious
Education in Africa.
Pastoral professional in - service training programme for
those who are not able to go to Tangaza College (One year)
Second Novitiate (Six months)
Postulancy is inserted into the Seminary Formation St.
Victor’s Seminary in Tamale.
Duration is two years.
House Formation: St. Joseph Freinademetz House - Tamale.
IV. Period of Temporary Vows:
A. Religious Formation and Professional / Academic
This period of Religious Formation and Professional /
Academic Training starts after Novitiate and usually lasts for three years
and is received during the first three years of vows. If a Brother’s
Training requires less time than three years, an appropriate programme
will be drawn up leading to his full time religious education/ formation
courses. If the brothers training require more than three years, he should
complete his training first and then do the full-time religious
education/formation course. In this case an extension of his period in
temporary vows has to be obtained.
Each brother in the programme must, if it is at all
possible, live in SVD community as it forms the integral part of his
As a general rule each brother should continue to study in
the field in which he received training before joining the society.
The overall planning for each brother’s professional /
Academic Training should actively involve the person himself and the
Brother Formation Director. The Brother Formation Director should consult
competent people in the area of the person’s work interest for their
training advice. Brother Formation Director then presents to the Brother
Formation Committee and to the Provincial and his Council for approval.
The Brother Formation Director is to meet regularly with
each Brother and with those on the local level who are concerned with the
Formation to discuss each Brother’s progress. There should be a yearly
evaluation of the programme by the Brother Formation Director and those in
charge of his training and the brother concerned.
During this training period the Brother Formation
Director, the local director, and the brother concerned should arrange
together a school holiday programme based on his formation/ professional
This is a period of continued growth as well as on-going
Vocational Discernment. As an SVD Religious, the Brother in temporary vows
is expected to integrate personal prayer, meditation, and examination of
conscience, scripture and spiritual reading. He participates in community
Prayer and Liturgy. Each brother in temporary vows is to have a local
spiritual director with whom he meets at least once a month. Monthly
recollection is organised by the Brother Formation Director for them. The
brothers in Temporary vows make their annual retreat (together with the
clerics) in preparation for the renewal of vows.
During this period on-going Religious Formation courses
will be organised by the Brother Formation Director.
The placement of a brother requires a living community
which accepts the young person where he is in life, expresses concern and
respect for him, shows firm direction and challenges him when necessary,
such a community has a regular community Prayer Life, promotes spiritual
growth and is open and understanding.
V. Full – Time Religious Education/ Formation Courses:
The aim of the course is to give the young Brother a good
understanding of Social Science and many more so that he may better
appreciate the missionary, apostolic and spiritual dimensions of his
vocation. This also prepares him to proclaim the Word more effectively.
This training is to be received at the Tangaza College
(Kenya) and takes about three years to finish. Or in Ghana or in another
similar African Institute of good quality.
This full-time religious education/ formation course is
not desirable directly after novitiate. Our brothers have already been
away from their professional/academic studies for approximately three
years by the end of their novitiate. Being outside of their professional
field for such a lengthy time may get them out of touch with their
VI. Pastoral/Professional In – Service Training Programme.
Note: This programme is envisaged in Ghana for those who
do not take part in an OTP programme. It takes one year.
Goals of Pastoral/Professional In – Service Training Programme:
To deepen the sense of identity and worth in one’s goals
and contribute constructively to the work of the Church.
To text, solidify and mature the missionary Vocation.
To give actual and creative direction to this period of
formal preparation for the missionary work.
To deepen a personal faith, commitment to Christ, to His
Church and to the people of God in the particular style of service of our
Religious Missionary society.
To heighten a sense of international mission awareness by
promoting a fruitful exchange of experience.
|OTP programme: It is foreseen for those brothers who
might go abroad for an intercultural experience. For this purpose,
they need to learn the “official” language of the new country, and
perhaps a local language. Such an initiative requires between 2 and 3
years of time.
B. Personal Objectives:
To provide him with an in-depth missionary experience and
the opportunity of leaving by it.
To help him become aware of the impact this new
environment makes on him and of the attitudes he brings to it.
To develop attitudes of self-criticism, theological
reflectiveness and of professional competence.
To develop skills in language learning and the ability of
inserting oneself in a new cultural situation.
The programme should last for one year.
Before going to his place of assignment the brother will
have to undergo an orientation course in supervision.
The brother will have to complete and finalise a learning
agreement stating his goals, objective and expectations.
The Director/ Pastors including some possible areas of
work will give the brother in formation descriptions of the various sites.
His final placement is made in consultation with the Brother Formation
Supervisors and setting committees need to be trained and
be ready and willing to receive the brother. Also, the Christian community
should be informed of the coming of the brother.
1. Language and Culture Learning:
The brother’s understanding of the sensitivity to the new culture is of
highest importance. This period of time includes language learning
methodology so that he might be competent in the local language; the
experience of living with a family, so that he might be immersed in
language and exposed to the events of daily living that gives the people,
their cultural identity; field supervision, to ensure that the brother
internalises his experience. The result of this is that the brother takes
on the worldview of the people, thus bonding himself with them and
becoming more open to other cultures.
It is an
in-depth, supervised, pastoral, professional experience, which is
essential to the success of the whole programme. It must be organised and
structured by someone trained in supervision and it must include all
elements and techniques of supervision.
The following are guidelines for this
During his language and cultural learning the society
takes care of the expenses.
Once the brother reaches his place of assignment the
parish or the station ordinary takes care of his boarding and lodging,
travel, personal expenses and local leave.
The society takes care of major medical expenses.
VII. Preparation of Final Vows:
The duration of the preparation for the final vows is Six
This is meant to be a time of reflection and prayer to
prepare for final vows.
The preparation for final vows programme will be organised
by the Provincial Superior and his Council.
VIII. Programme Personnel:
The implementation of the programme is entrusted to the
A. Brother Formation Director:
He is responsible for the overall implementation and
supervision of the programme. (cons. 522.3).
He is to establish a close personal relationship with each
brother in formation so that the brother feels free and open to express
his views and opinions. Frequent personal visits; group meetings, praying
together both on an individual and group basis are means to achieve this.
He prepares an annual report and evaluation on the entire
programme, which is presented to the Brother Formation Committee and the
Provincial Council for approval.
He is to keep in touch with other SVD Formation Programmes
and he should seek possibilities of working together with other
Congregations in Ghana. He is to be given the opportunity to attend course
to improve himself in the Formation Field. (cons. 522.6).
He does assessment of each Brother in Formation before
renewal of vows.
B. Brother Formation Committee:
This committee serves as a consultative body to assist the
Brother Formation Director in the implementation of all aspects of the
programme. The members consist of those working in the Formation programme
of the Brothers and two or three co-opted members, of whom one-half of the
members should be brothers. Members are nominated by the Brother Formation
Director and exiting committee members and are subject to approval of the
This committee is to meet two times a year.
C. Local Director:
The local Superior is the local Director unless the
Brother Formation Director in consultation with the Local Superior and the
Brother Formation Committee assigns a Local Director to the brothers in
the Formation Programme.
The Local Director should manifest a healthy Religious
Life, be available to the brothers and be able to dialogue with them.
The Local Director should meet on a monthly basis with the
Brother in Formation to discuss matters relating to his studies/
Professional life. He should be especially concerned that all things
needed for the Brother’s professional/ academic Training at hand.
D. Spiritual Director:
Each brother in Formation chooses his own Spiritual
Director with the knowledge and approval of the Brother Formation
The Brother should meet with his Spiritual Director on a
By Br. Emmanuel Affum, svd
Director Brother Formation
Accra, May 2004.