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An Inter-Provincial Program

U P D A T E D 2 0 0 4


“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of Grace and may the Heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all.” ( St. Arnold Janssen)

Guided by this prayer, which became the program of his life and work, St. Arnold Janssen founded the Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.) so that the non-evangelized and the insufficiently evangelized may hear, accept, and live the Word of God and witness as Christian communities.

In the Philippines, this vision of the Founder is pursued by the three SVD provinces through the following commitments (as reflected in their Mission Statements):

  • Life and prayer and love for the Word of God, fidelity to four vows and the SVD Constitutions

  • Respect for the dialogue with people of other religious conviction, culture and ideology

  • Solidarity with tribal Filipinos, the poor, and the oppressed, and active concern for the youth

  • Support and cooperation in the building up of local churches

  • Promotion of mission awareness and formation of missionaries

  • Spirit of sacrifice and detachment in joyful service

  • Life of sharing, brotherhood and community

The founder’s vision, accepted and concretized in the local level, provides the direction of formation in the SVD. The congregation’s constitution # 501 describes the direction of all formation in the SVD as growth into unity with God and with all the members of the Society such that they become capable of carrying the missionary task of the Church and be effective witnesses of the gospel of Christ by way of their personal lives, their community living, and their preaching.

In order that the growth of vocation to the Society can develop fully, the SVD constitution emphasized that formation must be integral, rooted in one’s culture, community forming, directed towards apostolic service, open to needs of the world, and inspired by the basic spirituality given to our Society by our Founder.

Further, constitution # 503 describes the goal of formation in the SVD as follows:

  • Human Maturity

Growth towards human maturity occurs in a progressive deepening of self-knowledge, in the unfolding of one’s personal qualities and in the achievements of that inner freedom which makes responsible decisions possible.

  • Committed Faith

Religious formation should foster a committed faith that lives the Gospel and is a sign of Christ still at work in our day. (cf. Cons. 503)

  • Professional Competence

One aim of our formation is to cultivate a listening ear for God’s voice in the world, its history and happenings, and to respond to it in a Christian way. Attentiveness to the signs of the times is a part of our vocation. (cf. Cons. 507).


The vocation to the Brotherhood in the Philippines is to be understood in three contexts namely, the Church mission in the world, the missionary spirituality of the SVD, and the life and work of the Brothers in a particular cultural milieu of the Philippines.


A Brother is a layman who has been called by God to the religious life so that he may enjoy a special gift of grace in the life of the Church, and may contribute to the saving mission of the Church.

The Vatican II document “Lumen Gentium” in no. 43 states that:

“. . . . . this form of life (religious life) has its own place in relation to the divine and hierarchical structure of the Church. Not however, as though it were a kind of middle way between the clerical and lay conditions of life. Rather, it is to be seen as a form of life to which some Christians, both clerical and lay, are called by God so that they may enjoy special gift of grace in the life of the church and may contribute, each in his own way, to the saving mission of the church.”

Later in no. 44, we read how the nature of the religious life is not a structural one, but a spiritual one:

“The state of life, then, which is constituted by the profession of the evangelical counsels, while not entering into the hierarchical structure of the Church, belongs undeniably to her life and holiness.”

This “special gift of grace” (call to religious life) requires a generous response from both the clerics and laymen because the lifestyle of the religious is clearly different. However, the works of the religious priest are essentially the same as the works of the secular priest, and the tasks and apostolic role of the religious layman are essentially the same as the tasks and apostolic of the laity in general. The distinction between those who are religious and those who are not is not a distinction of function, but rather that there should be a qualitative difference in their lives as Christians as a consequence of the “special gift of grace” that has been received by them, and their generous response to it.

The lifestyle of the religious differs from that of the secular clergy and the laity in general primarily because of the vows that the religious professes and his community life. By professing the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience the religious makes a solemn, public promise to God to follow the evangelical counsels and to dedicate himself “to the saving mission of the church” according to the Constitutions and apostolic thrust of his particular religious congregation.

It is in the light of obedience to the Constitutions that the religious lives out his religious life. For the SVDs who have been called to be religious-missionary Brothers Constitutions 514 gives specific points:

The Brothers are called to fulfill in world the missionary task of the Church, entrusted to every Christian in his Baptism and Confirmation, in the decisive way called for the religious life. Through their varied services and their witness to the Gospel, the Brothers share in the mission of Christ to renew the whole world order. The better trained they are for their professional, social and pastoral activities the more effectively can they fulfill their vocation.


The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI, issued in 1975, (Evangelii Nuntiandi)

Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say in order to preach and teach, to be channels of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and resurrection.

But who then has the task, or vocation, of evangelizing? Vatican II, through the document entitled “Ad Gentes” tell us that: “the whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization is the basic duty of the People of God” (AG3S). Hence, we can clearly say that Brothers are called to participate directly in the missionary activity of the Church.

Further, in a document (The Missionary Idea of Ad Gentes and Our Missionary-Religious Family) prepared during the XL General Chapter of the SVD by Fr. Karl Mueller, we read:

“According to Ad Gentes (and Evangelii Nuntiandi) there is no doubt whatever that this matter of the missions is not just a matter of the clergy, but for the whole church, including religious and laity in the world.”


The nature of the apostolate of the Society is the point of Constitution 102, as it states:

As members of the Society of the Divine World, we consider it our bounded duty to cooperate with all our might in proclaiming the word of God to all people, and in establishing the Church in every nation as the visible sacrament of salvation.

The Society as a whole, as whole as individual confrere, is to expand every effort in fulfilling this mandate and promoting the cause of the missions.

The scope of our apostolic service is described in Cons. 105 and 108:

In fulfilling our missionary commitment, we work first and foremost in areas where the Gospel has either not been preached at all or as yet insufficiently, as well as where the local Church has not yet developed to the point of being viable (AG6).

Our work among people where the Church is already firmly established lies primarily in making the entire Church aware of and responsive to he missionary obligation, in recruiting and training vocations, and in raising funds for the work of the mission.

The thrust of these points is nicely contained in the second paragraph of the Introduction where it is stated in a way that reflects the SVD’s special charism:

We follow the Divine Word lovingly. Guided by his Spirit w make known the Father to men and bring them the fullness of life. This collaboration in the divine plan of salvation gives honor to the Triune God and sanctifies us.

B.2 CLARIFICATION OF THE ROLE OF THE BROTHERS in the Apostolate of the Society of the Divine Word

In a general way Constitution 102 speaks to this point:

All confreres must be prepared to engage in the direct and immediate missionary activity of our Society, and be willing to sacrifice their own country, mother tongue and culture for his purpose.

Constitution 514 (see above) tries to specify this missionary activity of the Society for the members who are Brothers. Lets look more closely segments of it:

1) The Call to the Religious Life

This points out the important dimension of “call” in the religious life. It is a special gift, an invitation from God to a life of dedication and service – to live the evangelical counsels in a religious-missionary community. Today we are becoming more aware of how this in itself is already evangelizing. In the Introduction to our Constitutions we find this clearly stated:

We propose to make the goodness and humanness of God visible in this community of ours.

We, Brothers, are laymen who are called to the religious life, called to evangelization, called to “fulfill the missionary task entrusted to every Christian . . . in the decisive way called for the religious life.”

2) Varied Services

The mission needs of the Church, and hence of the Society, in the Post-Vatican II era are very diverse. To get some idea of how the SVD tries to meet these needs we need only refer to the SVD Self Study of 1971. In the Report of Phase 11 we find a list of fields that our confreres are engaged in. The list contains nine major categories (directly pastoral, socio-economics development, mass communications, formation, superiors and administration, household, agricultural, mechanical and technical), and these categories are further broken down into thirty-three (33) sub-divisions and one hundred forty nine (149) specific tasks. With the current thrust of mission bringing greater participation of the laity, and more “Promotio Humane” focus this list will be expanding and an ever wider ranger of services will be playing integral roles in our mission work. The Brothers’ activity will be in the sphere of the laity according to his particular charism and talents.

4) Witness to the Gospel

This is the most central aspect of our life. In the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Numlandi” no. 41, it states:

For the Church the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian Life, given over to God in a communion that nothing should destroy and at the same time given to one’s neighbor with limitless zeal… Modem man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teacher it is because they are witnesses.

Or, perhaps we can reflect on how this point is stated in our own Constitutions:

The mission we share with the Lord is first and foremost wholly by the spirit of the message of salvation, whose soul is love. Wherever we work, people must perceive that we are urged on by the same love which inspired the Word to empty himself and become flesh for our sake. (107)

Witness of life has always been strength of the SVD Brotherhood, and we must continue to accept the challenge to let our light shine in whatever kind of work we do, or situation that we find ourselves assigned to. This is central to the life of a religious—especially to a religious missionary.

5) To Share in the Mission of Christ to Renew the Whole World Order

In “Ad Gentes” (15) it states:

Brothers . . . likewise play an indispensable role in planting and strengthening the Kingdom of Christ in souls and the work of further extending it, both by their prayers and their active work.

One of the points often stressed in the 1981 preparatory “June Commission on Brotherhood” was that the Brother is a missionary in his own right, and so can immediately share in the mission of Christ; and, in the contemporary Church there seems to be ample data to support such a concept.


In a talk delivered during the convention of the SVD brothers in Baguio in 1993, Fr. Leonardo Estioko, SVD, explained how clerically-dominated is the Philippine society. For example, he says, many administrators in catholic schools who are clerics are without any degree in education.

Vocation promotion and religious formation to the religious life is also strongly affected by clericalism. Candidates aspiring to become religious receive little support in their interests to the brotherhood at the time of their application to the congregation, even from their own families. Consequently, this lack of support from the dominant culture must be compensated. Certain features of the brother formation program in the Philippines are established for that purpose. One such feature is the principle of ‘some stages separate, some stages common’

What is being pursued in the ‘some stages separate, some stages common’ principle is the balance in the growth of that which the brothers share in common with the clerics and of that which is unique to the brothers. In order to satisfy the need for that desired balance, some stages of the brother formation is done together with the clerical candidates while others are done separately. The separate stages of formation of the brothers are college formation, theology, and second novitiate. Common formation stages are the postulancy, novitiate, and the stage of temporary assignment. [The stage of temporary assignment for brothers and the regency period for clerics share in common the context of their formation –the apostolic communities. Quite often, in certain communities where they are assigned, both candidates work under the same work supervisors and formators.]


The center of Brother Formation Program in the Philippines is located in the Southern Province (PHS). This is the national center for brother formation of the three Philippine SVD provinces - North, Central, and South. The PHS is a preferred venue for brother formation because in it are located two SVD universities – the University of San Carlos and Holy Name University. Brotherhood candidates take their professional training mostly from USC.

The center is known as ST. FREINADEMETZ FORMATION HOUSE or SFFH, situated in downtown Cebu City. SFFH houses the college program (4 yrs.), associate program for college graduates (1 yr.), entry and adjustment program for transferees (shiftees) to the brotherhood formation (1 yr.), and the second novitiate program (6 months to 1 year). The national offices of the director of BFP and the vocation director for the brotherhood are also located here.


The national director of brother formation is the arm of the three provinces that oversees the implementation of the BFP. As such he is supervised by, and reports to the three provincial superiors, in particular to the provincial superior of PHS. The PHS provincial superior and his council monitors the implementation of the BFP and provides financial support to the work of the national director.

Job Description: In his work for cooperation and collaboration at the national level, he sits as an ex-officio member in the meetings of the Inter-Provincial Councils and the Inter-Provincial Formation Board. The issues and recommendations coming from the annual ongoing gathering of the Brothers, from the formation team, from the Brothers Advisory Board and other sources, are brought to the attention of these two bodies through the report of the National Director in their respective meetings, He coordinates with other SVD formation centers running the common formation stages like the postulancy, novitiate, further studies, and temporary assignments (for brothers, 1-3 yrs.) or regency (for clerics, 1 yr.). He also reports to the annual inter-provincial assembly of SVD formators, traditionally hosted by DWS, Tagaytay City. Moreover, he represents the SVD Brothers to the works of the National Federation of Religious Brothers in the Philippines.

Another main task of the national director is the planning and implementation of an ongoing formation program for all the brothers in vows. By keeping in touch with all the brothers in the field and getting a feel of their needs for updating, the national director organizes a week-long activity every year. The planning and implementing of such activity is achieved in close coordination with the Brothers Advisory Board of which he is the chairperson.


The brothers assist the national director at the provincial levels through the works of the Brothers Advisory Board. BAB is composed of 4 members, namely, a representative from each of the three Philippine SVD provinces and the national director of BFP as chairman. The representative members are elected by the all the brothers in perpetual vows and given a term of three years. It meets 3-4 times a year, discusses various brothers’ issues, especially issues concerning initial and ongoing formation. The recommendations made in their meetings are reported to the inter-provincial formation board, inter-provincial councils, and the inter-provincial formators assembly through the national director.



The Vocation Director for the brotherhood, with its office at SFFH in Cebu City, is accountable to the provincial superior of PHS and coordinates with the brother formation team, the BAB, and the national director of BFP. He collaborates with the other SVD vocation directors for teamwork, to exchange information; and for synchronization of tests, requirements, etc.


Vocation promotion is the first part of the formation program. Through the help of the vocation director, applicants are led through a process of initial discernment to find out if the religious life is for them or not. The following is the vocation promotion program:

A. Objective

To promote Christian vocations in general, to the SVD religious/missionary life in particular; to accompany individual candidates in their vocation discernment, and lead them into making a mature decision.

To promote mission awareness in schools, parishes and other places which the Office visits.

B. Means

1) Promoting Vocation

  1. Plan a one-year (school year) schedule for:

    1. school and parish visits

    2. vocation group meeting

    3. regular search-ins

    4. deepening sessions

    5. recollections

  2. Prepare letters asking for permission from concerned bishops or diocesan vocation directors. Parish priests, school administration and other concerned persons.

  3. Prepare programs for school tasks, search-ins, meetings and deepening sessions.

  4. Animate and provide vocation-promotion programs to selected Confreres/lay persons, e.g. campus ministers, guidance counselors, et al., in our school and parishes.

  5. Involve seminarians and lay people in vocation animation.

  6. Prepare and disseminate posters, brochures, and other materials, especially in strategic places. (e.g. churches, schools, retreat house)

  7. Make use of print and broadcast media.

  8. Be more active in the activities of the Directors of Vocations in the Philippines meetings (DVP)

2) Discernment and Accompaniment

There are two categories of candidates that should be considered during the individual discernment: the high-school graduates (or graduating) and college graduates (or those who have reached 20 years of age).

High School Graduating/Graduates

  1. Should pass OTIS, IPAT, and achievement Tests given by the Vocation Office. Intelligence stresses the following: flexibility, utilization of a variety of mental processes, ability to learn, application of learning and experience to the solution of problems. The exams also determine whether the candidate has the capacity to handle the academic studies demanded by the formation program.

  2. Other test given for the purpose of discernment are: Catholic Faith Test, Motivation Test, Sentence Completion and Gordon Profile A and B.

Points to consider:

  1. Family Background
    Is the family practicing Catholic? Is the Family whole? Are there history of traumas? If there is, how does he handle it?
    Is he the only son? The only boy? Is he the youngest or the eldest?
    Can the financial standing of the family manage without him? Do his parents know about this?

  2. Origin of interest to this vocation
    Is the candidate active in his parish? Does he have a relative/friend priest or religious? How is his religious performance?

  3. Does the candidate look healthy and normal enough?
    What do his teachers an peers say about him? Take a look at his autobriography and find out his school performance, Honor collected and extra-curricular engagements.

  4. How does he concretely respond to his vocation? Has he discussed his vocation with someone?

  5. Does he have the willingness and capacity to live in the seminary?

  6. Was he in the seminary before?

College Graduates and 20-years old Candidates

  1. Should pass the OTIS, IPAT and Achievement Tests and take the
    other tests given by the Office.

  2. Regular (monthly) interviews/discernment.

Points to consider:

2.1 Physical and psychological health.

  • A medical certificate is required. Observe candidate during interviews.

  • Is he in touch himself and the realities around him?

  • What are his sports?

2.2. See, Sample Guide for Interview

  • Identification

  • Behavioral Observations

  • Interactions

  • Presenting Problems

  • Family backgrounds

  • Personal History

  • Personality

  • Tapping the self-ideal

  • Tapping the Actual Self

2.2 See, Vocational Discernment and Selection

  • Intellectual Capacities

  • Physical Health

  • Spiritual and Moral Qualities

  • Knowledge of the Faith

  • Quality of Christian Life

  • Prayer

  • Sacraments

  • Apostolate

  • Morality

3) Lead to a Mature Decision

1. Recollection (Advent or Lent Seasons)

  • Sharing

  • Praying together

  • Inspirational talk

  • Word and Sacraments

2. Deepening Days

  • SVD Spirituality

  • Sharing

  • Fr. Arnold and Society

  • Word and Sacraments

2.1.Seminarians are invited to share some inputs on seminary life during these days. Candidates are immersed in the seminary activities, like common prayer, meals, sports, etc.

2.2 Vocation Office regularly sends letters, SVD newsletter, and cards at various occasions to potential and fitting candidates.

3. Family Visits



The general goals of all the stages of formation, shown below, are the same for both brotherhood and clerical candidates; it is the sub-goals and plan of actions that are specific to the formation needs of the brotherhood or clerical candidates.

Pre-Novitiate (Separate: College, Associate; Common: Postulancy)

To help the candidate understand the nature of a vocation and grow to a level of human and Christian maturity such that he can make a free personal response of the call to follow Christ, in the religious missionary life.

Novitiate (Common)

To help the novice clarify and deepen his vocation towards the radical re-orientation of his life to Christ through a responsible decision for the religious missionary life in the Society of the Divine Word.

Post-Novitiate (Separate: Theology, Second Novitiate; Common: Temporary
Assignment for Brothers/Regency for Clerics)

To enable the confrere in temporary vows to further internalize his vocation and appropriate a methodology of growth towards a lifelong personal commitment to Christ in the SVD and the development of an attitude of readiness to assume responsibility and the missionary tasks of the Society as brother or priest.

In the areas for growth, the brother formation program identifies five areas of human development namely, psycho-emotional, spiritual, social, academics, and missionary. These five areas for growth are present in all the stages of brother formation.


To help the Brother gain a deeper knowledge of, and acceptance of self; of developing skills and abilities in interpersonal relationship so that he can be a real positive factor in all aspects of our community and apostolic living.


To help the Brother to deepen his relationships with Christ and to grow in awareness of its central role in his life as a religious. To grow in his knowledge of, and ability to live the vows in the light of the spirituality of the Blessed Founder, Fr. Arnold Janssen, the Scriptures and tradition, and in view of the signs of the time.


To help the Brother develop skills in living out his vocation (vowed life) in the context of community, develop a sense of belongingness, team spirit, and a healthy attitude towards working with different groups of people.


To assist the Brother in the discovery of his abilities and interests, and to select an area of focus in view of the needs of the Society, Further, to assist the candidate attained professional competence towards exercising leadership in whatever apostolic service he would be involved in the future.


To help the candidate understand that his vocation is for mission; to gain practical skills, and develop an attitude of readiness and interest in the various apostolic involvements of the Society.



A brother candidate with a liberal education allowing a better understanding of himself as a human person in relationship with others, with the world, and with God; aware of, and appreciates the Brother Vocation.


Collegiate I, II, III, IV (4-5 years including government licensure examination as needed)

Associate Formation (1 year) a special program for college graduates and young professionals



The first year student is introduced into the basic elements of Christian life and spirituality. This is not entirely new to him but his experience and awareness of it is heightened. This is done in three thrusts: 1) As he begins to appreciate, adjust, trust and become open to new relationships in his new environment – a community of diverse cultural background – basic character values he earned from home and school are refreshed and reinforced. 2) At the same time, this is when the candidate is guided to choose the field of study according to his aptitude, talents, and the needs of the Society. 3) The daily life of study, liturgies, prayers and silence, work and reflections slowly orient him to the knowledge and initial growth of his vocation in Christ.


This is the stage in which the candidate takes a look of his inner resources to appraise how he could meet better the demands of his “new” life – the demands of community and school life. The demands are self-awareness, discipline, focus, creativity, flexibility, and new skills. New skills are called for in terms of study habits, leadership, creativity and regularity in prayers, inventory of personal strengths and weaknesses, time management, understanding experiences, problem solving. The seminary schedule tries to meet this need by providing time for input, classroom laboratory, outside exposure (apostolate), and processing. Individual conferences and group counseling are the tools for monitoring. The development of these new skills and the new self-confidence that comes with it informs and clarifies for the candidate some concrete ways of understanding and responding to his vocation in Christ.


Experience tells us that seminarians begin to ask questions about their vocation at this stage. Questioning or self-doubt could be the start to owning one’s vocation. What triggers this movement of the human spirit in the candidate can be many things. 1) As he continues to live up to the ideals of his calling expressed in one’s dedication to prayer, studies, work, outside apostolates and community leadership, demands for more capital investments of selfhood in terms of personal responsibility and accountability are high. 2) More exposures to the religious missionary character of the Society via personal encounters with the SVD Brothers and Priests at work, talks by visiting missionaries, participation in religious and cultural events, and information obtained from the formation classes, continue to educate his spiritual desire. 3) Fieldworks required by the major courses in school afford him a foretaste of the workings of a professional life lived outside the religious framework. So, he asks why? why not? how? what if? The answers to his questions are critical for beginning internalization.

Fourth/Fifth Year College: VOCATION INTEGRATION

This is a period in formation in which the candidate strengthens his commitment and relationship to Christ as he develops to “integrate his academic study with critical ability to reflect on and learn from experience.” (Following Word, 1988). This is the fourth year of college formation. As such, it impresses on the candidate to take account of his self as one who has gone through all that years in formation. The desire to integrate all the aspects of his formation experience into a meaningful whole preface a meaning-making activity aimed at arriving at a decision for continuing formation. The contents of the program are thus centered on discernment and prayer, for it is here that faith and life meet and integrated. At the end of this period, the candidate indicates in writing his decision to apply to the Postulancy.



The goal of the spiritual formation is to lead the candidate to a deeper realization (understanding and acceptance) that the Christian life is a calling to discipleship that flows out of the unconditional love of God inviting a response in faith.

1.1.To accomplish this goal the following points are essential:

  1. He develops capacity to encounter God, Sacraments, Liturgy, work events in his life, prayer himself (conscience), neighbor, Church and other ordinary means given by Christ through the Church.

  2. He believes in God’s love in spite of sinfulness

  3. He comes to realize his need for conversion and shows pattern for change ultimately accepting Christ as his personal savior.

  4. He discerns the movement of the Spirit in the activity of his life; he seeks help and
    direction in his spiritual life and the discernment of his call

  5. He does regular spiritual reading and also the reading of the Word of God

  6. He is able to share his faith experience

  7. He shares his life of Christ with others especially through living in community and
    following the missionary mandate.

Means of Growth


Since the growth and development of the spiritual life is basic in the formand’s life, one is encouraged to learn how to pray and to love prayer as well as together with the community. The heart of our religious community life is the ability of all members to give praise, thanksgiving and worship together to God.

1.1.1 The following are the common devotional prayers of the community:

▪ Liturgy of the Hours (Christian Prayer) Morning Prayer, Noon Prayer, and Evening Prayer (daily)

▪ The Angelus and prayers to SVD Patrons

▪ Devotion to the Holy Spirit every Monday evening and praying the Veni Creator Spiritus or another hymn to the Holy Spirit everyday▪  Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or station of the Cross every Friday

▪ Prayer devotions of the Blessed Founder

1.1.2 Recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary nourishes a deep relationship with the Blessed Mother. A common prayer of the rosary is held every Saturday. The traditional Filipino devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is prayed every Wednesday.

1.1.3 Meditation as a form of prayer is the centering of one’s consciousness toward God. A period of fifteen minutes is allotted to it after morning prayers.

1.1.4 Other creative forms of prayer are much encouraged such as making use of bodily expressions and rhythmic movement, prayer with nature, scriptural and charismatic prayer, youth (Taize) prayers, prayer of memories, eastern method of meditation (yoga), etc.


The Holy Mass is the highest form of prayer and of community spiritual celebration. The Eucharist deepens our life and vocation and as the source of strength and community living.

1.2.1 The community Mass is usually celebrated after morning prayers. Saturday evening is set aside for special mass with shared reflection among the students.

1.2.2 It is expected that every formand attends the daily mass and receive Holy Communion with a willing heart and sincere devotion.

1.2.3 Everyone should participate in preparing the Holy Mass, in singing and praying.

1.2.4 The devotion to the Blessed Sacrament (Benediction) is observed every first Monday evening of the month. Filipino missionaries abroad are especially remembered and prayed during the holy hour.


As future followers of the Divine Word, the Word of God is the source inspiration in our day activities. It helps us to shape our lives and to deepen our knowledge of Christ.

1.3.1 The daily reading of the Sacred Scripture is very much stressed.

1.3.2 The gospel for the next day is read daily in the community after dinner.

1.3.3 Bibles Sharing is held once a week to listen jointly in a prayerful atmosphere. The community is divided into smaller groups of five to eight members. The meet once a week for faith sharing and praying over a biblical text. Reflection derived from the group will be shared to the larger community during Mass.

1.3.4 Bible Facilitator Seminar (BFS) is a follow-up of BBS to help the formand deepen the content and process necessary in conducting BBS and in practicing for team work and leadership.

1.3.5 An intensive bible study is given to the third and fourth year students enhance deeper their knowledge of the Bible.


The Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) offers a valuable help to grow into on-going process of conversion towards Christ.

1.4.1 A community penitential service is scheduled every first Monday of the month. Private confession is offered after the spiritual exercise and renewal.

1.4.2 Any formand who wishes to confess anytime should feel free to approach any of the confessors or the spiritual director available at his own convenience.


Spiritual direction is offered to assist individuals or groups to grow and come to a greater maturity in the life of Spirit through the process of clarification and discernment.

1.5.1 The formand should meet the spiritual director at least once a month. Though, once should feel free to approach him anytime.

1.5.2 In order to be helped and directed, an attitude of mutual trust and openness should be developed.

Monthly spiritual session focused on devotional, liturgical and scriptural themes is a help to deepen spiritual values appropriate in living out the Christian vocation.


Spiritual books, reading on the lives of the saints and other related materials are great source of inspiration and insights towards holiness.

1.7.1 It is encouraged that every formand should allocate a period of thirty minutes daily for his private spiritual reading.

1.7.2 The regular community schedule for spiritual reading is at 600-630 PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hence, silence in the House is to be strictly observed.


Certain days of the year are spent for prayer and renewal to lead the formandi to reflect their vocational aspirations and life in the religious community.

1.8.1 The community retreat is held sometime at the opening of the semester.

1.8.2 Recollections by each class/group are also scheduled at least twice a semester.


The liturgical celebrations are expressions of life of faith in service and the fountain of community life from which all activities flow.

1.9.1 The formandi should endeavor to prepare the sacraments, prayers and liturgical activities dignifiedly and creatively. Such celebrations should reflect the Filipino culture and sentiments.

1.9.2 Every formand should have sufficient knowledge on the liturgical life of the Church. Hence, orientation and seminar must be given to everybody for more meaningful participation.


The goal of missionary formation is to help the candidate realize that the Christian vocation is a call to mission and help him understand the nature of the religious missionary vocation, and generate in him an interest in the missionary activity of the Church and of the SVD.

To accomplish this goal the following points are essential:

  1. He develops an interest in and an increasing knowledge of , the meaning and value of missionary work.

  2. He develops his talents in line with the goals and needs of the Society.

  3. He is willing to participate in community apostolate and be assigned to any apostolate area or work.

  4. He manifest satisfaction in simple lifestyle.

  5. He shows ability to sacrifice for the common good

  6. He lives out a celibate way of life.

  7. He becomes increasingly willing to live religious-missionary life.

Means of Growth:


Formation sessions are given to each year level by formators or outside facilitators to compliment the formandi’s academic training in the university. These inputs serve as wholesome human foundation in the religious life.

2.1.1 First Year Students:

  • Guidance and Value Formation

  • Introduction to Spirituality

  • Understanding of the Christian Vocation

  • Basic Catechism

  • History of Salvation

2.1.2 Second Year Students

  • Guidance and Value Formation

  • Understanding of the Christian Vocation

  • History of the Church and Religious Life

  • ( with emphasis on Brotherhood)

  • Personality Development Issues

2.1.3 Third Year Students:

  • Guidance

  • Psycho-emotional Integration:
    An Introduction

    • Sexuality

    • Bible Study I

2.1.4 Fourth Year Students:

  • Bible Study II

  • Psycho-emotional Integration Issues

  • Church Teachings on Social Issues

2.1.5 Associates:

  • Bible Study I and II

  • Understanding of the Christian Vocation

  • History of the Church and Religious Life

  • Psycho-emotional Integration Issues


Work provides opportunities for the formandi to develop missionary spirit and one’s physical well-being. Hence, weekly house and ground work are prescribed.


In order to help create awareness of the demands of loving service towards others, the following in-service apostolates are assigned to each year level.

2.3.1 First Year College : Basic household tasks, maintenance, housework…

2.3.2 Second Year College : Groundwork, gardening, ground maintenance…

2.3.3 Third Year College : Service at old people’s home, orphanages, hospitals, prisons, youth organization.

2.3.4 Fourth Year College: Involvement in social issues, NGOs and promotion of justice and peace, youth and laborers…practicum/apprenticeship

2.3.5 Associates: Teaching, Tutorial and Literary work, Marketing…


Because of its importance for personal growth, socially and mission-oriented programs in an experiential settings are organized. Such activities help to develop empathy to people from all walk in life. The accompanied supervised reflections derived from these experiences facilitates a deepening of self-knowledge.

2.4.1 Once a month outside exposure is organized for the second year students which includes visitation to orphanages, mental hospitals, prisons, street children, etc; dialogue with different religions and non-Catholic brethren in ecumenical gatherings, etc.

2.4.2 Third and fourth year students are to be involved in the summer camp program of the different SVD parishes and institutions for at least one month. The Prefect, together with the parish priest or local superior of the district/community shall plan, discuss and evaluate the formational goals and activities of each formand during summer camp. The formands shall submit a written reflection paper and self-evaluation after the summer program. The Prefect shall assess with them their achieved goals and experiences for further growth in formation. The one-month period of summer camp may not be extended in order to give the formandi the opportunity to go home for vacation. If further request has to be made for extension, this should be arranged with the Prefect and parents must be informed.

2.4.3 Self-initiated apostolates such as teaching catechism, tutorial sessions, youth organizing and other integral activities are very much encouraged but not be exercised to the detriment of academic studies.


Interest in missionary vocation is developed through continous awareness of the trends and demands of missionary life in given opportunities such as:

2.5.1 visits and talks of missionaries on home-leave

2.5.2 special prayer intentions and correspondece with missionaries abroad

2.5.3 involvement in Mission Club activities

2.5.4 mission-oriented cultural programs

2.5.5 mission magazines, books, films and visual materials


Vocation animation through talks, symposia, cultural presentations, etc. are occasions to share faith-experiences to young people and to introduce in a special way the Brother vocation.

2.6.1 Each formand is encouraged to participate actively in the vocation program of SVD Vocation Office.

2.6.2 Community members should devote some days during the school year to visit schools and institutions to promote vocations as a group.

2.6.3 In support to the program of the diocese during Vocation Month, the formands shall make every effort to participate in the intercongregational vocation activities.


By being exposed to the real life-situations of the people, the formandi learn to understand the various social realities, the concern and struggle of the Church in promoting the Kingdom values of justice, peace and love.

2.7.1 In support to the program of the SVD Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creations (SVD-JPIC), the formands shall participate in the activities especially those of which the Church advocates. Though, any involvement must have the approval of the Prefect/formators.

2.7.2 Fourth year students act as coordinators of the community. They coordinate with the JPIC Office and take the leadership for any activities and support needed. This serve as added apostolate.

2.7.3 To deepen sensitivity to the spirit of apostolic poverty and in solidarity with the poor, one should strive for a life-style of basic simplicity, as seen in manner of using resources while avoiding any element of luxury and squandering.


Reflective sessions about the life and spirituality of the Founder serve as continuing process in instilling the religious and missionary character of the Society. These rich tradition, devotions and values handed down by the Founder sustain the religious fervor of the community.


On-going vocation assessment pursued through regular reflection brings the formand to his awareness of the dynamic interaction of human experience and the movement of the Spirit in daily living.

2.9.1 Candidates have to make a monthly personal evaluation of his formation through reflection papers. These have to be submitted to the Prefect for further ‘interchange’ of ideas and processing of experience.

2.9.2 “Ratio” is done on a regular basis in a friendly conversation with the Prefect of Discipline. The candidate has to make a progress account on his formation in general and specifically his performance, community tasks, studies, work, prayer and life motivations. The Director of the Brother Formation Program may also call the candidate for Ratio.


3.1 The goal of academic life is to achieve:

  1. Solid education (general education) in the humanities and science (on par with his educated contemporary) as can provide a firm foundation for his faith to mature and develop in him an attitude of critical self-awareness and openness to society and the world.

  2. Basic professional training in order to equip him for his field of competence.

3.2 To accomplish these goals the following points are essential:

  1. He must be able to pass AB/BS academic demands.

  2. He strives for excellence and professionalism

  3. He has necessary talents for education needed for training for religious brotherhood

  4. He shows good judgment and flexibility to opinions of others


The academic program is designed to develop the mind of the formand to appreciate human values and man’s socio-cultural heritage. It provides him with the background and training he needs for future missionary work as responsible, informed and society-oriented religious.

3.3.1 Generally, studies should last for four to five years except in special cases. The academic training is provided for at the University of San Carlos or at any neighboring school.

3.3.2 Every formand is encouraged to develop individual gifts in academic ability, art, music, linguistics, and sports.


The choice of the formand’s profession is as very important matter both for him and for the Society. Hence, the formand has to obtain his professional training that corresponds to his personal talents, ability and inclination as well as to the missionary needs and expectations of the Society.

3.2.1 In choosing one’s profession, course guidance is to be given during the formand’s first year of formation in accordance with the goal of Brother Formation Program. The candidates are assisted by the guidance and testing center of the university.

3.2.2 The course preferred by the formand must be approved and endorsed by the Director of Brother Formation Program.


The type and content of the formand’s education flows from the role and task in which the Society is presently engage in as identified in the following apostolates:

3.3.1 Youth Ministry; Media Apostolate; Social Justice Ministry; Education-all levels both teaching an administration; Pastoral, Social Work and Health Ministry; Community Development (cooperatives, agricultural and rural development); Formation and Spiritual Direction Vocation and as teachers) Supportive service within the SVD (secretarial, finance, accounting, administration, maintenance, etc. Computer Science and Technology.

3.3.2 Some of the recommended curricular program:

1. Liberal Arts (AB)
Anthropology, Economics, English
Communication Arts (Masscom), History,
Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology

2. Science (BS)
Agriculture, Biology, Computer Science,
Guidance and Counseling, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work

3. Education (BS)
BSE, Elementary education, Industrial,
Religious Education

4. Business (BS)
Accountancy, Administration


3.4.1 The first two years of studies provide the formand an introductory and broad over-all outlook which prepares him to a particular field of specialization. The last two or three years are focused on major subjects of his specific course.

3.4.2 The following subjects are integrated in the curriculum of the student. These are appropriated for the purpose of General Education.

I. General Education = 60 Units
(Based on DECS Order No. 3,s. 1993

1. Language and Literature (24)
Engl 1 = Communication Arts I
Engl 2 = Communication Arts II
Engl 4 = College Composition &
Engl 21 = Business Correspondence
Engl 31 = Introduction to Literature
Engl 51 = Philippine Literature
Spch 4 = Aural-Oral Communication
Fili 91 = Sining ng Pakikipagtalastasan
Fili 92 = Panitikang Pilipino: Pahapyaw

2. Mathematics and Natural Sciences (15)
Math 10 = Computer Operation
Math 15 = Algebra
Math 35 = Statistics
Math 49 = Finite Mathematics
Biol 10 = General Biology incl. Lab.
Chem 1A= General Inorganic Chemistry
with laboratory
PhSc 1 = Earth Science

3. Social Sciences (21)
SoSc 1 = General Sociology
SoSc 2 = Social Issues & Social Justice
Anth 11 = Introduction to Anthropology
Phil 26 = Philosophical Anthropology
Hist 15 = Philippine History
Hist 17 = Rizal Course
Hist 26 = Asian History & Civilization
PoSc 11 = Intro. to Political Science
PoSc 12 = Phil. Government & New
Econ 1 = Intro. to Economic Principles

II.General Education Electives = 30 units

3. Religious Education (12)
ReEd 10 = Man in Search of God
ReEd 20 = Man, the Christian Believer
ReEd 30 = The Christian in Worship
ReEd 40 = Christian Witness in the World

4. Psychology (6)
Psych 1 = General Psychology
Psych 2 = Advanced Psychology
Psych100 = Psychological Foundation
Psych101 = Developmental Psychology
Psych104 = Psychology of Personality

5. Philosophy (3)
Philo 2 = Logic
Philo 36 = General Ethics

6. Humanities (3)
Hum 1 = Survey of Western Arts

7. Foreign Language (6)
Fo La 1 = Elementary Spanish
Fo La 2 = Advance Spanish

3.3.2 If deemed necessary, graduating students must be given opportunities to participate in the various apostolates of the Society through supervised apprenticeship or internship.


Academic excellence is expected in every formand as sign of one’s intellectual growth worthy of the modern religious missionary. Needless to say, one must have the sufficient intelligence to advance in studies and to pass all academic requirements. Consistent poor academic performance may be a ground for dismissal.

3.4.1 Any student who fails in two subject (Finals) in a semester, or who gets an average grade below 2.0 (85%) means a probation for the next semester. Probation period may be extended to another semester on a case to case basis.

3.4.2 Likewise, a student who maintains excellent performance and who belongs to USC Dean’s List on a consistent basis may be given an incentive in form of scholarship program.


Studying diligently is one of the most important obligations of a candidate. Dedication for study is one value that manifests one’s deep love for his vocation. It is imperative that all candidates then must be punctual during study period.

3.5.1 There is a designated time for strict study period in order to develop a good study habit. At this time, consultation with classmates concerning assignments of any business is not encouraged. Though, additional study period is also allotted for group study and decisions.


The desire to learn and upgrade one’s knowledge and skills is expected in each student to keep abreast with the progressing time.

3.6.1 Reading interest is very much stressed during college formation. One should spare some of his free time to do supplementary readings.

3.6.2 Seminar-workshops are given to improve academic performance and interest. Stud habits sessions are arranged to assist students to develop skills and techniques in studying effectively. Likewise remedial classes are offered if necessary.

3.6.3 Essential to their formation, third year students are assigned to organize debates and symposia on relevant issues. This aims to promote healthy intellectual discussions and exchange of ideas among community members.

3.6.4 Skill workshops and seminars are provided to enrich the academic training and in preparation for future mission work.
Some of these are:

  • Journalism and News writing

  • Practical Accounting

  • Basic Management and Leadership Skill

  • Theater Arts and Acting

  • Media Communication

  • echnical and repair works


The goal of psycho-emotional formation is to lead the formand to arrive at knowledge and acceptance of self as a help towards attaining a sense of direction in life and the capacity to make a free and responsible decision.

To accomplish this goal the following points are essential:

  1. He frees himself from whatever stands in the way of his development.

  2. He accepts his strengths and weaknesses and be able to live with them.

  3. He has growing sense of personal self-worth and self esteem

  4. He has a sense of responsibility.

  5. He has a value system based n Christian love.

  6. He grows in appreciation, gratitude, respect towards his parents and shows this in the way he relates to them

  7. He is able to develop friendship and closeness with both man and woman without great deal of internal turmoil.

  8. He has specific meaningful goals that give direction to his life.

  9. He has able to make and own consequences of decisions.

  10. He is aware and is able to live with comfortable with the things he cannot change in himself and those around him.

Means of Growth:


To gain self-knowledge and to develop skills in coping up with life situations, the help and accompaniment of lay guidance counselors are offered regularly. Activities in guidance may vary according to the felt needs of the group or individual.


Growth towards human maturity occurs in a progressive deepening of self-knowledge which is acquired through

4.2.1 Self-awareness programs and exercises, counseling sessions; group dynamics, clarifications of strengths and weaknesses.

4.2.2 Feed backing and fraternal correction; Openness sessions

4.2.3 Inputs on behavioral psychology and personality development.

4.2.4 Inputs on relationship of attitudes, values and needs.

4.2.5 Regular spiritual direction

4.2.6 Supervised reflection: journal writing, reflection papers,

4.2.7 Individual formation session with the Perfect during Ratio

4.2.8 An atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and understanding of one another, acceptance of persons as they are.


A growing sense of self-worth entails strengthening of personal identity and one’s
relationship with those whom the formand relates regularly. Self-worth is expressed through:

4.3.1 visible confidence in one’s life, ranging from appearance and manners, the quality of work, responsibility to himself, and as an active rather than passive member of the community in group meetings, social and liturgical functions.

4.3.2 Growth in sexual identity, developing a healthy expression of affection and friendship


Identifying specific goals by the formand leads to a participative process of formation. This will provide him with a sense of direction and initiative to work for decisions out of inner choice.

4.4.1 Every formand should make his own Personal Life Formation Program (LFP) in which he has to identify the perceived goals for each school year. A session on goal-setting shall be facilitated by the guidance counselors.

4.4.2 Every start of each semester, the formand shall meet the Perfect to discuss with him formational goals for the semester. During ratio, they evaluate regularly his LFP.


Fraternal correction is way of getting/giving effective feedback and information of the formands’ behavior, attitude & performance and how his peers perceived him in the community. Usually done through colloquium, the regular sharing enhances self-awareness, improvement of relationship and personal growth.

4.5.1 To value feedback as an objective, growing experience of the group, the sessions have to be facilitated by the guidance counselor of the group.


Belief-value systems shape one’s preferences, direct behaviors and determine the quality of decisions. To understand the process of value formation (in the context of Filipino culture), the formand should become aware of their interpersonal skills and the impact of their value system on others. Sessions are organized for each year level to help clarify values eventually providing them tools to improve personal effectiveness.


The family as support structure plays an integral role in fulfillment of vocational aspirations. While the formation program is oriented towards to the development of the religious values, it is in the family where basic values in life are acquired.

4.7.1 Formands have to manifest gratitude and appreciation towards parents and family members. He should develop a healthy pride of his family and home.

4.7.2 Vocation is an opportunity to get in contact with family members and relatives. It is therefore encouraged that everybody should go home during semestral break, Christmas and summer vocation. Rendering help and service to them in any manner is one way of showing appreciation.

1.7.2 The Perfect and formators should make a regular contact and communication with parents. Family visits also have to be done during vocation time.

1.7.3 Parents of candidates are organized in order to establish better communication thereby building system of relationship that can effectively promote and maintain vocations especially to the Brotherhood. An annual gathering of parents is held every Christmas season for common family feast and recollection.


Inputs for psychological growth are obtained through seminars given by competent facilitators. Some of these are:

  • Understanding Human Development and One’s Personality

  • Dynamics in Interpersonal Communication

  • Dynamics in Human Relationship

  • The Need for Affirmation and Affirming One’s Identity

  • Human Sexuality

  • Social Graces


The goal of social community formation is to help the candidate develop the capacity for a healthy and meaningful relationship with others, and to form Christian community with those who share the same calling despite diverse personalities and socio-cultural backgrounds.

To accomplish this the following points are essential:

  1. He is faithful to community rules & regulations

  2. He is aware that community life promotes self fulfillment and growth in the love of God and neighbor; therefore he values community activities

  3. He is polite in dealing with others

  4. He is properly attired in social, professional functions

  5. He understands the culture and uniqueness of each person (feelings and needs of others)

  6. He can able to work together joyfully

  7. He begins to give and accept encouragement and correction

  8. He shows concern for the feelings and needs of others

  9. He shows concern and interest for the less privileged of society

Means of Growth:


Community living is an integral part of the candidate’s religious vocation. It is within this context that one finds fraternal support. Therefore, everybody should contribute to the fulfillment in the goals and objectives of the community.

5.1.1 At the beginning of the school year, a two-week Orientation Program is given to all newly accepted candidates to get acquainted with the program, the guidelines and policies and community life structure.

5.1.2 Punctuality at prayer and liturgical celebrations, work and socio-cultural activities is much demanded at all times. Only due to grave reasons may one absent himself from the services with due permission from the Perfect.


True brotherhood in the community manifest itself in one’s concern of the needs of others and doing one’s responsibility for community welfare. Hence, each member should cooperate in the practical order of the community by:

5.2.1 faithful fulfillment of the assigned task or work;

5.2.2 being responsible in using the property and facilities of both the house and fellow formands, such as returning borrowed goods, or restoring things in order;

5.2.3 willingness to offer extra help when needed for special occasion and emergencies;

5.2.4 being sensitive for the basic elements of politeness, such as attentive listening to others in class discussion or meetings;

5.2.5 being sensitive to the right of others to the quiet necessary for study and rest.


The community maintains five standing committees which serve as means for implementation of the community activities and programs.

5.3.1 Each formand belongs to any of these committee. They meet once a month to discuss, plan and evaluate the tasks and responsibilities assigned to them. The community elects the over-all “senior” wit his assistant, the coordinators of the five committees and person-in-charge of various areas of concern.

5.3.2 The various committees with its functions are: Music and Liturgy Committee

a. It plans and implements the liturgical and spiritual program of the community in coordination with the Perfect and Spiritual Director.

i. It animates, guides and leads the members to participate actively in singing and praying. It initiates creativity in liturgy. It guides the community during singing practice and prepares liturgical songs used for different occasions.

ii. It is responsible for safekeeping of the prayer books, songbooks, liturgical paraphernalia, musical instruments Work and Service Committee

a. It is the over-all responsible for all manual work of the formands including the maintenance and cleanliness of the house and surroundings.

b. It maintains all the physical aspects of the house such as the kitchen and refectory, dormitories, recreation area, etc. which also extends the material facilities furniture, tools, equipment, etc. Academic and Apostolate Committee

a. It coordinates all the academic activities of the formands in the university, e.g., enrollment, academic schedule, curricular activities of different college departments, academic symposia, collecting of records/grades, literary, etc.

b. It helps to promote an atmosphere conducive for academic growth of the students. The areas include the study hall, library, audio-visual equipment, reading materials and literatures, computers, etc.

c. It coordinates and makes follow-up all the outside apostolates of the students. Social and Cultural Committee

a. It is responsible of all the socio-cultural programs of the community which includes outside performance and presentations.

b. It coordinates the different extra-curricular activities of the community such as outing, involvement in PASS/CESSA (Panaghugpong mga Seminarista sa Sugbu), concerts, symposia, debates, meetings, play and other activities of similar nature.

c. It encourages the members to tap further their talents and skills. Sports and Recreation Committee

a. It enhances physical well-being of the community members by organizing sports competition in ballgames, swimming, etc.

b. It initiates recreational activities and competitions in indoor games.

c. It coordinates outside sports competition such as CESSA (Cebu Seminarians Sports Association), outside invitational games, and other related activities.

5.3.3 The Committee Forum is a meeting of all the coordinators, formators, and elected servant-leaders (seniors). It is made up of the following:

  • Praeses

  • Perfect Discipline

  • General Senior and Assistant Senior

  • Music Coordinator

  • Chief Liturgist

  • Work Coordinator

  • Academic Coordinator

  • Socio-cultural Coordinator

  • Sports Coordinator

The forum meets once a month to exchange information on the happenings of every committee.


Basic to community life is the observance of the Order of the Day. The candidates are encouraged to be faithful to the schedule as means to enrich self-discipline.

5.4.1 Saturday Evening Schedule

First Saturday Silence/Prayer/Spiritual Reading
Second Saturday Prefect’s Conference
Third Saturday Spiritual Conference
Fourth Saturday Penitential Servive/Confession
Fifth Saturday Spiritual Conference


The atmosphere of silence in the community is an expression of charity towards. The members who wish to pray, study and rest. Hence, silence is strictly to be observed at the following schedule:

600 – 700 PM Daily study period and time for spiritual reading
900 PM Monday after Benediction and penitential service
Saturday Evening after community conferences
1000 PM until 700 the following morning


Various forms of community activities like recreations, sports, family, feasts, outings, celebrations of birthdays/feast days promote interpersonal relationship, harmonious and fruitful living. These are occasions when community members are helped and encouraged to bring their talents to fuller development.

5.6.1 Recreational and cultural activities call for presence and active participation of the formand making the interest and need of the community above their own.

5.6.2 Indoor and outdoor games are scheduled to provide times of relaxation & physical exertion required for healthy mind and body.

5.6.3 Any related activities must be well-organized and harmoniously integrated in the religious and missionary thrust of the community.


A. Rationale

Candidates seeking admission to the Society after graduation in college or after working for sometime in various jobs outside (Associate), possess certain experiences, understanding and aspirations about life that are proper to their age group and psychological development as young adults. As they enter into the Society, they bring these data with them into their formation. In formation candidates asked three related questions: 1) What does seminary life offer that makes one a religious? 2) How does one know that he has a vocation to be a religious? And how should he respond to it?

Although expected to be more mature and committed because of their age, college education and work experiences, the Associates’ questions and expectations, their own Christian life lived prior to their admission to the seminary need to be clarified, synthesized, and then integrated into religious life, in particular, the religious life in the SVD.

B. Description of the Program

The Associate Formation Program is a one-year introductory pre-novitiate program of formation designed for college graduates and young professionals who want to become a Religious Missionary Brother inn the Society of Divine Word (SVD). It is a “resident” program – the candidate will stay in a formation house for a year and will be recommended to Postulancy after an evaluation at the end of the program.

The orientation of the program is directed towards the recognition of Christian life as the foundation of the desire to follow Christ more closely, distinctly, and in more personal way – the SVD lifestyle. Christian faith and human maturity live outside seminary structure before will now be seen in the context of the SVD community life and formation. As such the task of the program is the integration of Christian experiences. Thus, the program is process-oriented and participatory, allowing the candidates to move on their own desired pace toward progress or growth.

C. General Objective

The general objective of the Associate Program follows the overall goal of the

To help the candidate understand the nature of a vocation and grow to a level of human and Christian maturity such that he can make a free personal response to the call to follow Christ, in the religious missionary life.

D. Specific Objectives

  1. To start an initial period of self-processing, of guided prayer and reflection of one’s past and present faith experiences.

  2. To enable the candidate to become aware of the necessary qualifications for the vocation to the religious missionary brotherhood in the SVD.

  3. To give the candidate an experience of community in which a person can gain a ”sense of belonging” to an apostolic group.

  4. To provide the candidate an initial experience of the SVD apostolate in which he can gain a sense of “passing-over” and of mission.

  5. To prepare the candidate for a worthwhile pre-novitiate experience.

E. Content Outline

  • First Semester : Integration of Christian Faith Experiences

    1. 1.Community Life

      • Monthly class meeting

      • Monthly fraternal correction

      • Weekly conference of matters of value formation

      • Daily schedule of activities, i.e. work, recreation, study periods, prayers, etc.

    2. 2.Self-Processing I

      • Monthly group dynamics, group process

      • Monthly guidance and counseling

      • Monthly individual conference with Prefect

      • Weekly class in psycho-spiritual integration

      • Psychology class at USC (every other day)

      • Twice a semester workshop in human development issues, i.e. goal setting, handling negative emotions, etc.

      • Journal writing

      • Monthly reflection paper (no specific topic, a summary reflection of the experiences during the month).

    3. 3.Christian Orientation I

      • Weekly spiritual direction (as a group)

      • Weekly Bible sharing and/or Faith sharing

      • Pre-requisite Theology classes – Christian Anthropology, Salvation History, Introduction to Theology

      • Leadership in daily liturgy

      • Weekly class devotion

      • Two community retreats a year

      • Overnight group recollections

      • Weekend parish apostolate (music and youth ministries)

      • Monthly reports of spiritual readings

      • Twice a week class on Christian doctrine

  • Second Semester : Introduction to SVD Life and Mission

    1. Reflective Reading on the SVD Story

      • Monthly reflection paper on the life of St. Arnold Janssen

      • Weekly guided readings on the history of the Society of the Divine Word

      • Mission talks by visiting missionaries

      • Daily community activities

      • Participation in the monthly AJS Faith Sharing

      • Twice a week class in Social Teachings

    2. Self Processing II

      • Journal keeping

      • Monthly individual counseling session

      • Psychological testing and processing

      • Guided readings on psycho-spiritual integration

    3. Christian Orientation II

      • The significance of silence and contemplation

      • Daily 30-minute meditation

      • Sacraments

      • Monthly Reflection Papers

  • Summer Program: Preparation to Postulancy

    • 10 weeks course on Clinical Pastoral Education in a hospital setting

    • Evaluation in view of postulancy promotion

    • Vacation


Evaluations are vocational discernments requiring serious reflection and prayer. To review the candidate’s commitment and growth in this vocation, described in the Brother Formation Program, each candidate will undergo a process of evaluation on an annual basis which consists of the following.

  1. A written self-evaluation in which the candidate honestly evaluates himself along the five areas of development: spiritual, religious-missionary, academic and professional competence, psycho-emotional, and social or community life. Areas of growth and those that needed change, or areas of strength and weaknesses are the two important aspects to evaluate.

  2. A written evaluation by community members wherein they express their perceived judgment concerning the suitability of the candidate to continue or not his formation. The Prefect writes his own evaluation of each candidate.

  3. A vote of the House Council based on the outcome of the community evaluation and the evaluation of the Prefect.

  4. The candidate meets with the Prefect or the Director of Brother Formation Program to discuss the result of the evaluation. He may be requested to respond in writing (defense) to the House Council’s decision if needed.

  5. A regular meeting with the Prefect (ratio) to assess progress and make plans for change.


The objectives of the formation program are best realize if internalized, and adopted values manifest themselves in concrete actions and in the consistent behavior of the candidate.

In order to experience these values, a minimal number of performance are expected. These expectations are minimal yet they establish some basic signs of seriousness of the individual’s desire to live and test religious life as a possibility for his life. Eventually, one is free and generous in spirit to live up to those expectations even to the point beyond it, done simply out of positive desire for a deeper relationship with Christ and with the religious community.

  1. To attend at the daily masses, liturgical exercises, community prayers, bible sharing, etc. on a consistent basis. These are pre-requisites if one is to grow in his vocation and relationship with Christ.

  2. To seek guidance through spiritual direction, confession, and counseling, and to spare time for personal quiet prayer and reflection.

  3. To show continuous growth in self-knowledge, in the ability to reflect on his own experiences, and in the effort to translate his ideas into change in behavior and character.

  4. - To factor Christian values and principles into one’s decisions and actions.
    - To strive for academic excellence in his studies and erudition.

  5. To be present in all community activities such as meetings, work, meals, sports and socio-cultural programs.

  6. To perform conscientiously his assigned task in the community as well as to take part actively in outside activities e.g. PASS, vocation programs, cultural presentations, apostolates, etc.

  7. To show exemplary behavior in words and deeds to all whom he come to relate with specifically to his peers, to the students and teachers in the university,

  8. To submit on time the required paper works in formation such as reflection papers, reports, evaluation, etc.

  9. To create an atmosphere of trust, openness, and honesty and spontaneity sharing of ideas and feelings among members.

  10. To fulfill one’s spiritual obligations during vacation and to offer services in the parish for a task proper to one’s condition. He should strive to keep the good name of the institution (religious formation house) he belongs.



  1. The choice of the courses to be taken by the brotherhood candidate or seminarian* takes into account the needs and priorities of the SVD and its mission. Consequently, certain courses, e.g., hotel management, tourism and foreign affairs, are not allowed. Courses in liberal arts, education, commerce, media, school administration, anthropology and sociology, certain courses in engineering and in natural and physical sciences are encouraged.

  2. For various reasons, shifting from one course to another happens. As policy, changing or shifting courses is allowed only once, only on the first or second year in the university, and only when absolutely necessary. Written explanation is required from the seminarian.

  3. In case of conflict of schedules between the seminary and the university, the seminary schedule takes precedence. For example, night classes overlap with certain schedules in the seminary. Thus as policy, night classes are allowed only to graduating seminarians, if possible only in the 2nd semester prior to his graduation. In view of finishing his studies within the expected time limit, the seminarian must plan his subject enrolments well, take summer for those subjects that are difficult to take during the regular semester’s day offerings, and be open to do cross-enrolments if needed. .

  4. Punctual attendance, active participation in classroom discussions, use of the library, good study habits, on-time submission of requirements, and clarity of ideas in project papers are desired behaviors for academic striving. Absenteeism, coming late to classes, inability to submit requirements on time, and laziness are considered undesirable behaviors.

  5. Required grade point average (GPA) is 2.0. Those who are getting the required GPA may qualify for tuition fee scholarship. In case of a failing grade of 5.0 in a given semester, a warning is given. After three warnings, a seminarian is sent out.

  6. Refusal to submit requirements, a defiant behavior, is a serious offense. Depending on the reasons behind it, a warning may be issued.

  7. A cellular phone caught ringing in the wrong time and in the wrong places will be confiscated. A confiscated item is returned only at the end of the semester (for the first offense), or at the end of the school year (for the second offense). Refusal to surrender an item after an offense – defiant behavior – is ground for dismissal.

  8. Computer schedule: 7:30AM-5:30 except the afternoons of Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  9. Cheating during tests and plagiarizing (copying texts from books into one’s papers without proper documentation of the names of the authors and publishers) are serious offenses. A written explanation will be required and a warning may be issued.


  1. Neglect and/or lack of enthusiasm to one’s spiritual life is not consonant to the desire to follow Christ. Examples of neglect are: irregular attendance, frequent lateness, lackluster participation in the daily community prayers, Holy Mass, benedictions and confessions (Mondays), spiritual conferences (Saturdays), personal prayertime (daily, 15 minutes) and in Bible sharing (Wednesdays). Seminarians exhibiting such behaviors will be asked to explain why; if the behaviors persist after several reminders a warning may be issued.

  2. Talking or singing loud inside the chapel in the presence of others who are praying or meditating are disrespectful behaviors. Attention of those concerned will be called.

  3. Serving and reading in liturgies are valuable opportunities to grow in the love of the Divine Word. Non-observance of schedules and lack of preparation are undesirable behaviors.

  4. Making good use of the time for SILENCE and MEDITATION train one’s capacity
    for tuning-in into the inner works of the Divine Spirit. Non-observance of are considered undesirable behaviors. Schedule as follows:

    1. Meditation - 15 minutes a day Monday to Friday

    2. Time for Silence: 6:00-7:00 PM daily; 8:15-10:45 PM except Friday and Sunday


  1. For all community activities like cultural programs, meals, common prayers, houseworks, and groundworks, the rule is punctual attendance and active participation.

  2. Television: Tele-viewing is only once a week, on Sundays 8:00-10:30. Other schedules will need special permission from the Prefect.

  3. Telephone: Monday to Saturday: 4:00-5:30PM, Sunday: 7:00AM-7:00PM

  4. Community Radio: 3:00-5:30 PM daily. Not intended for listening to drama, the volume should be such that others are not disturbed.

  5. Uses responsibly all seminary facilities and properties. If not sure whether the use of particular equipment needs permission from the Prefect/Rector or not, then it is advised that permission be asked first. Vandalism is a serious offense.

  6. NO Personal radio, VHS, VCD, portable DVD or VCD players are allowed in the seminary. Walkman and portable music CD players without internal or external speakers and without radio are allowed – use a head-set – but only during radio time and only in the dorms and living room.


  1. Courtesy, honesty, respect, prudence are expected is one’s relationship with seminary superiors, co-seminarians, women, and guests.

  2. Healthy friendship with women is encouraged. But having a “steady relationship” with the opposite sex or same sex is considered inconsistent with one’s intention to become a future religious. Proper guidance shall be provided to a seminarian who needs help on this matter.

  3. Use of pornographic materials is a serious offense.

  4. An unsocial and quarrelsome disposition which may result to physical or emotional injury is an undesirable behavior.


  1. Seminarians will be asked to participate in peaceful demonstrations, prayer rallies, signature campaigns, and other advocacy activities in order to support a common stand or present providing issues in society.

  2. Seminarians are required to do a weekly three-hour exposure work with old folks, many of whom are sick or dying, at the Gasa sa Gugma center. There is some risk involve in this apostolate although there should no cause for worry if one works with caution

  3. Parents will be asked to sign a “participation agreement” (see below) to signify their consent. If parents refuse to sign a “participation agreement,” the seminarian will not be forced to do the two apostolates but will be given other areas to go. (See Appendix )

VI. PERMISSION from the PREFECT, or from the Rector, IS NEEDED WHEN

  1. Leaving the seminary premises outside official schedules like apostolates

  2. Attending activities outside the official schedule of classes at school. However, no permission will be given if the teacher or instructor of the said class activity makes a disclaimer that they are “not accountable” should any untoward incidents happen.

  3. Going home outside vacation time. Official vacation times are semestral break, Christmas break, and summer break. During the semestral break, the seminarians are spend some time for vocation campaign in their neighboring high schools

  4. Going home in case of death among the immediate members of family. For death of an uncle or aunt or cousins, or lolos and lolas – permission, in general, is not granted. But exception maybe granted on a case-to-case basis.

  5. Escapism and absenteeism are serious offenses.


1. Feeling Sick
If a seminarian claims that he is feeling sick and could not make himself carry on with his normal daily responsibilities, e.g., classes, community prayers, he has to be brought to the hospital for treatment and in order to determine the degree of the seriousness of the ailment. If he refuses to go to the hospital, it is considered that he is lying about being sick – in truth, he may just be feeling lazy. Lying is considered an undesirable behavior.

2.Personal Appearance
Seminarians are to give an appearance of a neat and respectable person even if they are only beginning in their formation. Proper dress code should be observed for different places. This also means no earrings and other body piercings.

3.Fraternity Membership
Membership to any fraternity is inconsistent with our efforts to build a religious community at the formation house with a clear mission goal to become missionaries in the future.

4.Medical Needs and Hospitalization
Medicines for ordinary ailments like cough and colds, headaches, fever, allergies, LBM, and others, are provided for free.

Hospital expenses including prescribed medications, consultation fees, or fees for surgery are the responsibilities of the parents. In case of emergency need, the Parents Formators Associations (PFA) has passed the following resolution : “…hospitalization loan of up to 5,000.00, two months to pay with 2% interest; in case of a double need for loan (hospital and tuition) only a hospitalization loan shall be granted within a year’s time; accommodation for hospitalization: WARD not private room.” (Minutes, 04 October 2003)


Gleaning from the above mentioned policies, the following are then considered undesirable behaviors:


  • TRUANCY – Chronically late in any of the seminary activities

  • INCORRIGIBILITY – a continual breaking of rules and for schedules even after repeated reminders and warnings

  • LAZINESS in the area of work, or in spiritual activities


  • DEFIANT BEHAVIORS against corrective discipline

  • CHARACTER DEFECTS OR UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIORS such as lying, cheating, and stealing.

In addition, the following are regarded serious offenses:




  • Possession and / or use of PROHIBITED DRUGS

  • Possession of PORNOGRAPHIC materials

  • Possession of DEADLY WEAPONS


The St. Freinademetz Formation House reserves the right to decide whether a seminarian is fit to continue his formation or not. Any of the undesirable behavior or serious offense stated above could be sufficient ground for dismissal. However, no seminarian shall be dismissed with out due process. This means that the first principle should be to help the seminarian learn from his mistakes, make the proper correctives necessary, and move on in his formation. It is only when available means for help do not work in the service of the seminarian’s growth in formation that issuing a warning becomes a possibility.


On Undesirable Behaviors

  1. On the first offense, a seminarian is admonished. He will also be required to put in writing what and why the violation was made.

  2. On the second offense, the seminarian will have to explain his case in writing. His parents will be called and will be informed of the situation. A second warning is given.

  3. Upon a third violation or offense, the seminarian will be dismissed. The parents will be informed in writing.

On Serious Offenses

  1. An investigation is conducted by the Prefect of Discipline.

  2. The House Council meets and decides on the merit of the report of the Prefect. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, a seminarian may be dismissed or given a probationary period and a strong warning.

  3. The parents will be informed about the case and the decision of the Council.


A dismissed seminarian may apply back to the seminary after two (2) years unless otherwise stated.





Parent(s) Signature











The Formation Program at the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House (SFFH) is holistic in approach. Part and parcel of the program is an awareness that the socio-economic and political realities of our country has much influence to our being human, Christian, and religious at the same time. A formation of particularly Christian response to these realities is therefore called for.

In our attempt to accompany the seminarians in this aspect of formation, we, the formators, will allow them to get in touch with cause-oriented groups which contact, to our estimation, would be helpful in the formation of a reflective and creative Christian social awareness and identity. Consequently, we will participate in peaceful demonstrations, prayer rallies, and other related activities, in order to support a common stand on present pressing issues in society. The formators of the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House will be responsible in selecting the groups to support and the common stand to be arrived at.

In this connection, therefore, we ask you to allow your son to join such mentioned concerns and activities we hope to support. We will respect whatever opinion and feelings you have on this matter, and they will never influence us in the way we look and deal with your son’s formation.

Date : __________________
Parents/Guardians : __________________
BFFH Prefect : __________________
BFFH Rector : __________________












NOTE: This stage of formation is done in common with the clerical candidates in Tagaytay for one year. The following is the common program:

1. Preliminary Remarks

The word Postulancy is derived from the Latin word “postulare” which means to ask with insistence, determined by a conviction. Postulancy then is a period wherein the postulant is helped to reach a conviction that he is called by God. Having come to such a conviction, the postulant is expected to express his intention to proceed to the next stage of his formation that is the Novitiate.

The emphasis of the SVD Postulancy Program is the growth of the postulant in the psycho-emotional aspect of his personality. The other aspects of his integral religious formation[ spiritual, social, academic, and apostolic / missionary

2.Historical Background

Postulancy for SVD seminarians before was undergone during the last semester of their fourth year of philosophical studies or , as in the case of the Associates, during the second half of the Associate Program. Based on the past experiences, Postulancy happened only on paper since academic pressures that were felt very much during the last semester of philosophical studies hampered the full implementation of the program. The clamor from those who have gone through such a program was for a program wherein psycho-emotional concerns are addressed. Such a program needs an atmosphere where the said concerns are faced unhampered by academic pressures. During the SVD Natoinal Formator’s Assembly on April 1991 held in DWS Tagaytay, a six-month Postulancy Program was proposed and unanimously approved by the body to be presented to the Generalate for official approval. The said approval was obtained and the first batch postulants underwent the program in June to November of 1993.

The program was eventually extended to eleven months [June to April of the next year. The change was based on the unforeseen difficulties regarding synchronization and an overlap of two classes in the Novitiate. This arrangement of an eleven-month Postulancy has been implemented for the second batch of postulants till the present.

3. Rationale and Immediate Goals

As pointed out earlier Postulancy aims to provide a transition between the Pre-Novitiate which is academically hectic and the Novitiate which is an enclosure- a comtemplative in lifestyle so to speak. Therefore, the immediate goals for the Postulancy are to provide an experience of religious missionary life in as community, to deepen the understanding of his own psychodynamics, and to continue learning about the SVD, its origin and charism, from the opening prayer of the Postulancy acceptance ceremony, it reads:

My brothers,
we welcome you in this program. May it be an opportunity for you to spend more time with the Lord, and so come to know more clearly your vocation within the Church. May it offer you the opportunity to experience the religious missionary life in the Society of the Divine Word, and to discern your place within it. We pray that the Lord may bless you, and be your constant help. May the Spirit of God increase your generosity, and grace you with inner peace and contentment. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

In this ritual formula, it is very clear that the Postulancy Program has a three-fold task to accomplish, namely: (1) discernment; (2) community living; and (3) self-knowledge. This three-fold task is also the core value of any religious missionary formation. Emphasis on self-knowledge is important since it is very difficult to have a spiritual transcendence in the Novitiate when it is wanting.

4.Participating of the Program

The following are the participants of the Postulancy Program:

  1. Regular Philosophy Graduates

  2. Associates after their one-year program

  3. Brother candidates who have already finished a college degree

  4. Master of Arts in Philosophy Candidates /Graduates

  5. Special cases, i.e those who were accepted by the Admission Board of respective Formation Houses and deemed ready for the Postulancy.

5.Content of the Program

Inputs of the program are mostly obtained through seminar-workshop [modular classes] given by competent resource speakers and facilitators.

    Change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Most of us struggle through such periods. This three-day orientation prepares the postulant in making the most of change by providing a road map of the transition process: endings [recognizing endings as opportunities as well as losses], neutral zone [important time for reorientation], and new beginning [launching new priorities].

    This is a workshop that teaches the postulant to develop his skills in dramatics [acting, directing, scriptwriting, dancing, and singing] and thus enables him to gain more self-confidence. It also helps to discover the importance of the body as a powerful instrument to express his creativity, ideas, and emotions. Moreover, he is led to be in touch with his profound feelings and be at ease with his owned self.

    This is an orientation to the value of personal writing and introduces the postulant to the various techniques of making a journal, which will help him see the underlying patterns and rhythms in his personality leading to a deeper self-knowledge and a sense of direction in one’s psycho-spiritual journey.

    This workshop provides the postulant a powerful combination of breathing, grounding and gentle body movements that replenish and maintain the body in its natural healthy condition. The culmination of the process harmonizes the body and mind to express the unity of the life-giving source within us and with whole of creation. As an art and a discipline, it creates a sense of wholeness in the person. It is relaxing and therapeutic. Done gently and gracefully to the rhythm of his breathing, it creates a profound attitude of prayer-communing with the Creator and his creation.

    This discussion-workshop offers the postulant with the necessary tools to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the films and TV programs he watches, the news he receives, and the advertisements he patronizes.

    This course explores Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development and Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. It leads the postulant toward a better understanding of his own inner dynamics in achieving true personhood. More specifically, the relationship between his past and present life he now lives is brought into the fore and is given emphasis. It provides an opportunity to look into the events and influences in his childhood that affected and/or continue to affect his present behaviors and ways of looking at reality. The process in itself discusses growth implications in the physiological, psycho-emotional, and spiritual levels.

    This workshop deals with the dynamics and various forms of prayer. It also provides the postulant some creative aids to prayer and practical ways of handling distractions like guilt, anxiety, fear, anger, etc. Prayer then becomes a source of joy and strength for him. It is not doing something but being with Someone.

    This seminar offers a general overview of the whole Scriptures-its general content and significance. Basic attitudes and different approaches to the study of the Sacred Scriptures are presented.

    This seminar-workshop provides the postulant an opportunity to learn basics skills and techniques in opening/maintaining a conversation, making an interview, formulating a short story, and facilitating a meeting. It is intended to help him express himself skillfully in oral form and make him effective in relating with others in the community as well as in his field of apostolate.

    As a sequel to Human Development, this course considers the significant role of the body, feelings and emotions in human relationships. It enlightens the postulancy to see sexuality as a healthy and positive dimension of his personality. It allows sexuality to assume its proper role in living and loving. The postulant then is helped to recognize sexuality as a friend rather than as an enemy. It is a helpful tool to face celibacy in its positive aspects, because it focuses on the biological [male and female], cultural [masculine and feminine], and psycho-spiritual [man and woman] dimensions of the person. Better understanding of what human sexuality is all about creates a strong foundation upon which self-integration is built.

    This seminar stresses the relevance of setting priorities based on a value system. It helps the postulant clarify his needs not his wants.

    This is a seminar that offers a study on non-violence, its theory, origin, and practice. It leads the postulant to discover that non-violence is the authentic Christian response to violence. This is a big help in community living as well as in parenting. Since community living and parenting hope to resolve conflicts among individuals in peaceful manners, this enables him to gain some skills in that regard.

    This seminar is designed to encourage the postulant to discover the positive aspects of his rich religious-cultural heritage as a Filipino and develop them for personal and apostolic reasons. It also hopes to lead him not only to a deeper historical appreciation of his Filipino Christian identity but also to his total conversion within the context of a Filipino set of religious values.

    This is a two-week in-depth journey from the reality of the self to the reality of God and others. It is divided into two parts. The first part accompanies the postulant in exploring his own unconscious to go through the process of becoming – mending the broken pieces and hopefully making his self-whole anew. This process of integration specifically deals with the physical and psycho-emotional aspects of the self [September].

    The second part [January] focuses on the transcendent and pneumatic aspects of the self, that is, the part in him that is connected to God. A professional team of facilitators from the Emmaus Spirituality Center handless the whole course. This two-part seminar further enables the postulant to assess his psycho-emotional needs that are important in the dynamic functioning of his person. It also explores how his needs directly affect, positive or negative, the living out of his religious commitment. Consequently, it helps him make a mature and free decision to proceed to the Novitiate or take a leave of absence. His heart then learns how to make a choice.

    This course refers to the basic process used by all persons encode, transfer, guide and modify behaviors. As a follow-up to PSI Part I, it is designed to help the postulant respond to a variety of problems in a very immediate manner. It can eliminate physical afflictions, improve social relationships through increased self-confidence and enhanced assertiveness, modify self-defeating thoughts, eradicate stubborn negative behavioral patterns, and develop elusive desirable behaviors. It can indeed improve his personal outlook in life and deepen his spiritual commitment.

    This seminar gives the postulant another way of looking at his personality type. It explores the compulsive coping styles of individuals and their patterns of unique giftedness [virtues], along with their unique limitations and sinfulness. Greater self-knowledge is thereby reached. The postulant is thereby led to discover ways of relating to God and others according to his personality type.

    This course, which is coupled with a personality type testing, enables the postulant to understand himself better why he perceives reality, makes decision and takes a certain course of action the way he prefers it to, and why others do differently. Likewise, it orients him to live a life of prayer suited to his personality type.

    This seminar enables the postulant to discover friendly strategies in making affirmation/adjustment/correction on another person’s behavior. This is important for an effective interaction with others in a community.

    This seminar presents the categories of motivation orientation and the various signs/elements of a vocation to the religious life. It helps the postulant to gain needed insight into the content and dynamics of his motivation and thus discover the authenticity of his personal calling to the religious life.

    This is a seminar that helps the postulant to cope up with the stress in daily life. Coping mechanism are provided; while certain creativity in battling pressures and tensions are learned.

    This seminar-workshop discusses the issues of development and their implications to the environment. It points out to the postulant how he contributes to the degradation of nature and what he can do to save Mother Earth. Waste management and greening of the environment are added features of this course.

    This seminar is useful technology for health care. It enables the postulant to discover and learn the therapeutic effects of proper food preparation, proper chewing and eating, proper diet, and harmonious relation of self to nature. It also trains him to apply correctly self-massage and reflexology.

    This seminar-workshop, which deals with the current issues affecting Philippine society, hope to raise the postulant’s consciousness on what is going on around him. As an awareness course, it is designed to make the postulant learn the survival issues of human persons and of Mother Earth. Social, economic, political, ecological issues are very urgent. Knowing them would encourage him to be agent of change wherever he may be – making practical decisions as well as courses of action to work for justice and peace.

    This seminar offers a contemporary method of prayer that reduces the obstacles to the gift of contemplative prayer and facilitates the development of habits conducive in responding to the inspiration of the Spirit. It allows the postulant to prepare his faculties to cooperate with such a gift and experience what it means to wait and be with the divine in solitary silence.

    This seminar presents and discusses the contemporary basic understanding of the theology of mission. Such theological discussion hopes to clarify and strengthen the postulant’s motive in joining a religious missionary congregation.

6.Important Features with Regards to the Process of the Program

Through individual processing, a postulant is helped to understand the inner dynamics going within him. The IC’s could take different directions depending on the needs of each individual. It is a combination of spiritual direction and guidance counseling.

One area in which seminarians shows a lot of weakness is in the area of self-confidence that has direct connections to low self-esteem. Productive activities, timely interventions, and other necessarily helpful in-puts are provided to enhance self-esteem.

These group-processing sessions which have already started in CKMS and which seminarians have considered very helpful. Being a form of peer counseling every postulant learns the skill of listening and developing his empathy. Such sessions also foster class unity and camaraderie.

Each postulant is to keep a journal. This journal could be used as material for one’s personal reflection and one that he cold share with his formator if he so desires.

Every postulant is to write essays that are products of his reflections regarding life issues. Whatever realizations and insights he has gained from a particular seminar workshop form a greater part of such essays.

Personality tests that were previously taken in CKMS are given more time and importance in Postulancy. These tests are taken up again. With more in-puts taken and more understanding obtained, such tests become more understandable for an individual postulant so as to gain more self-knowledge from them.

The adage “ORA ET LABORA” finds application in the Postulancy. Beside the usual housework and groundwork, all the postulants have their farm work. Working with the earth’s soil leads to in-touchness with one’s self. Love for manual work’s enhanced so that they could become more dedicated workers for God’s Kingdom.

These exposures are along the lines of the three-fold dialogue – with the poor, other faiths, and other cultures – which is very much emphasized in the SVD mission spirituality. More than the in-puts are the true-to-life experiences of living with the poor and with people who are non-Catholics and non-Christians even. The exposures are real introductions of the postulants to the SVD mission and apostolate.

This dialogue involves the various sects around Mt. Banahaw [Dolores, Quezon], Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the urban poor worker [Metro Manila].

The postulants are afforded the opportunity of doing the marketing/purchasing of the nutritional as well as maintenance needs of the community. Budgeting then becomes part of their task. Cooking and learning how to cook much better become a good preparation for a life in the mission.

The goal of this feature is not only learning skills but also an opportunity to experience what the daily household chores are.

A good number of the seminars are taken with other male as well as female postulants belonging to other congregations or houses of formation. This arrangement is helpful in enhancing their skills for interpersonal relationships particularly with the opposite sex.

After three months of staying together, written feedbacks are given to each postulant by ten of his peers. The postulant concerned is given affirmation as to the positive points he has and is also encouraged to improve on points which his peers sees as his weakness.

At the beginning of the last month of the Postulanaty, the postulants give qualified recommendation on each other’s suitability or non-suitability for further religious formation. The votatio is done in the spirit of fraternal love and concern.

Evaluations of activities and of the community are done o a regular basis. This helps in finding out where the community is heading and how activities are proving to be helpful for a postulant’s formation. If not helpful, alternative activities are considered and resorted to.

Every postulant discovers that much of his personal issues have their roots in his early growing years which usually took place in the family. The whole month of December is then spent with the nuclear family in order to address such personal issues. In order to make the experience fruitful and growth enhancing, the postulants are accompanied in their preparation for such a worthwhile activity. They share with each other their plans, write such plans and talk these plans out with their formators. The family immersion experience is processed with the community and with the formators once they are back to the Postulancy.

The second family immersion is slated in summer [months of April and May] before they proceed to the Novitiate. Towards the third week of May, they return to the Postulancy. Another week is allotted for the processing of their experiences during the second family immersion.

They are also asked to make a genogram wherein they discover the kind of relationships and events the family of three generations has treasured. The genogram also enables them to understand certain “patterns” in the family lineage. Subsequently, it helps them to resolve some of their personal issues rooted in the family.

This is a precious moment wherein the postulants are given the opportunity to ritualize their prayer of farewell. As they leave the Postulancy and move on to the Novitiate, they remember the God who is with them and who understands the good-byes they are experiencing. It is also a celebration of each other’s goodness and of God’s constant love – remembering one another’s good qualities and memorializing His fidelity.


Evidently, all the modular classes and formation activities are aimed at helping every postulant develop his uncultivated potentialities and clarify his unresolved issued in life. These are meant to make him responsible of his own psycho-dynamics, be in touch with his core, and eventually become a well-rounded and integrated person.

Thus considered, formation in the Postulancy really becomes the art of forming the individual human person. It is a laborious art that presupposes competence and the availability of time and energy, a love for this special service and for the person entrusted to the formator’s care. However, it is also a real and personal art, a capacity to enter into God’s beautiful world, to recognize God’s formative act and contemplate the action of the Spirit who molds the heart of Jesus in the heart of a young and promising postulant. Such a noble gesture equips every formator a particularly attentive eye and a continual availability for listening and discernment. This entails giving priority to the mysterious action of God, by noticing and supporting the impulses of a postulant, even if he takes unforeseen and unheard direction which overthrows or seems to disregard a particular plan of formation activities. A fomators who is rigid in the application of his program causes the same disasters as the formator who has absolutely no method whatsoever. Too often, both ways of doing ways of doing formation are just routes of escape rater than calls to service.



NOTE: This formation stage is done together with clerical candidates


To help the novice clarify and deepen his vocation towards the radical re-orientation of his life to Christ through a responsible decisions for the religious missionary life in the Society of the Divine Word.

1. Spiritual Level

Specific Goal:

To help the novice clarify and deepen his religious missionary vocation through personal striving to follow Christ in the path of the evangelical counsels towards a radical re-orientation of his lifestyle to a life of discipleship in the SVD.


  • accepts Christ as personal friend and healer

  • believes and accepts the values, teachings and attitudes of Christ

  • believes in the need for regular and sustained relationship with God

  • encounters God in His Word in Sacred Scriptures, Sacraments, liturgy, work events in his life prayer, Church, and in himself (his conscience)

  • believes in God’s special call to the religious life

  • aware of the radical nature of his call

  • ready to make changes in life

  • believes in the need for detachment

  • undergoes conversion in his own spiritual journey

  • believes in the need for guidance in his human and spiritual growth

  • is open to growth through spiritual direction

  • shows understanding of sinfulness in self and in others

  • believes in the Sacred Scriptures as the basis for his spiritual growth

  • cultivates love for and commitment to the Society, its spirituality and its apostolate

  • believes in the positive contribution of the Blessed Arnold to the spiritual life of the Church

  • believes in the responsibility to participate and share in its mission


A. Retreats and Recollections

  • Pre-investiture (3 days – directed, last week of May)

  • Marian (8 days – directed, August 7-15)

  • Ignatian (30 days - directed, Nov. 7 to Dec. 8)

  • Pre-Vows/AJ/SVD Spirituality (5-8 days – directed, first week of May)

  • Individual private retreat at the hermitage

  • Customary SVD Saturday recollection

(Personal reflection paper is required after the Marian, and AJ-SVD spirituality retreats. After the Ignatian retreat one writes his ‘Fifth Gospel”)

B. Liturgical Activities

  • Daily Holy Mass

  • Monday evening devotion in honor of the Holy Spirit with Benediction

  • Holy hour every Thursday evening (and before First Friday)

  • Liturgy of the Hours: - Morning Prayer (30 minutes) and Meditation (1 hour)

  • Noon Prayer

  • Mid-afternoon prayer/ devotion / short meditation

  • Evening prayer

  • Night prayer with consciousness examen

C. Spiritual Readings

  • Sacred Scriptures

  • Encyclicals

  • Vatican II

  • SVD Constitutions

  • Recent General Chapter, Generalate documents

  • Lives of the Saints

  • Readings on the writings of the Early Fathers

  • Other spiritual books

D. Other Activities

  • Group bible sharing

  • Homily Sharing

  • Processing/Sharing of experiences/realizations on exposures

  • Composing of personal prayers for Benediction, Prayers before and after meals, etc.

  • Confession (once a month)

  • Meditations (daily)

E. Prayers/Devotions/Novenas

  • Sacred Heart

  • Holy Spirit

  • Community rosary

  • Individual rosary

  • Perpetual Help

  • Divine Mercy

  • Blessed Arnold Janssen

  • Stations of the Cross

  • Quarter Hour prayer

  • Prayers before and after meals (personal composition is encouraged)

  • Daily prayer for Vocation

  • 3 O’clock prayer

  • prayer before and after work

  • Anima Christi

* Other personal devotions are encouraged

F. “Ratio

  • Once a month with each Formator (scheduled)

  • A novice may go for a “ratio” any time he wants

G. Conferences

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday

  • Non-scheduled (as need arises)

  • Suggested Topics:

    • Silence

    • Prayer

    • Meditations

    • Dyads

    • Consciousness examen

    • Discipleship

    • Religious life

    • Detachment

    • Deepening of the 3 evangelical vows

    • Self-denial, fasting and abstinence

    • Further spiritual growth

    • AJS

H. Seminars/Inputs

  • Meditations (Oriental and Western)

  • Liturgy with the Holy Eucharist in depth

  • Prayer and Discernment

  • LSS

I. Video Viewing

  • - Lives of Saints

  • - De Mello’s talk series

  • - Other spiritual films

J. Daily Schedule

5:30 - Rising
6:00 - Morning Prayer (6:00-6:30)(Sat. 6:30-7:00---Shibashi)
    - Meditation (6:30-7:30)
    - Bible Sharing “
    - Dyads
7:30 - Breakfast
8:00 - Prayer after breakfast (Prayer before work and Quarter Hour Prayer are integrated here)
8:15 - Light Housework; Saturday is general housework
9:00 - Groundwork/gardening
10:00 - End of groundwork/gardening. Glory be. Clean Tools, Merienda
10:30 - Shower time
11:00 - Spiritual Reading and Quarter Hour Prayer
12:00 - Noon Prayer
12:15 - Lunch – Prayer; Reading of the next day’s first reading
1:00 - Silence
2:15 - Rising
2:30 - Mid-afernoon prayer
    Monday: Divine Office and Meditation
    Tuesday: Novena to Bl. Arnold
    Wednesday: Perpetual Help Novena and Meditation
    Thursday: Novena to the Novices’ Patron Saint
    Friday: Stations of the Cross and Meditation
    Saturday: Rosary and Meditation
    O’clock prayer, Daily Prayer for priestly and religious vocations
3:00 - Conference : Monday/Wednesday/Friday
4:00 - Personal time (Silence)
5:00 - TV News/CNN/Personal recreation
5:30 - Silence/Showers
6:00 - Mass, with sharer, evening prayer after communion (or integrated)
Saturday : Mass at 6:00, then Compline at 8:15 PM or Evening Prayer at 6:30, then Contemplative Mass at 8:15.
7:00 - Supper; Grace before meals and reading of the following day’s Gospel Recommending birthday celebrants and deceased members of the Arnoldus Family to our prayers and Grace after Meals.
  • Silence is observed even in the dining hall during Saturday as part of the SVD tradition. This Saturday silence also serves as Recollection time for every member of the community.

8:15 - Monday: Compline and Devotion to the Holy Spirit and Benediction
    Tuesday: Compline
    Wednesday: Compline and Video Viewing
    Thursday: Holy Hour
    Friday: Compline
    Saturday: Contemplative Mass/Compline

K. Sunday Schedule

5:30 - Rising
6:00 - Morning Prayer
7:00 - Holy Mass (Homilist)
8:30 - Breakfast
9:30 - Cable TV
11:00 - Spiritual Reading
12:00 - Private Noon Prayer
12:15 - Lunch
1:00 - Silence up to 3:00 PM
3:00 - Private mid-afternoon prayer, Cable TV
5:30 - Silence, shower time
6:00 - Vesper
6:30 - Supper, Sunday Special
9:00 - Compline


*N.B. - First Semester: 1-hour dyads
  - Second semester 30-minute dyads
  - Private mid-afternoon prayer, Cable TV
  - 15 minutes examination of conscience is inclusive of every compline
  - praying for the birthday celebrants of the day (novices, confreres, relatives) during the Mass
  - petitionary prayers for deceased relatives

Means (Summary)

  • Daily Eucharist

  • Liturgy of the Hours

  • Monthly “ratios”

  • 30-day retreat

  • Marian retreat, Saturday Recollections, Individual retreats

  • Retreat of the Holy Spirit

  • Weekly Conference

  • One-hour daily Meditation

  • Shared homilies

  • SVD Constitution, devotions and spirituality

  • “Visits” during the day

  • Spiritual readings: Sacred Scriptures and others

  • Regular Confessions

  • History of spiritualities

  • Prayer and Workshop

  • Dyad

  • Group Bible sharing

2. Missionary Level

Specific Goal:

To help the novice appreciate the missionary dimensions of the SVD vocation foster
enthusiasm for the missionary work of the SVD, and develop an awareness of the contemplative dimension of the active apostolate.


  • willingness to participate in the apostolate of the formation community

  • acceptance of the centrality/primacy in the apostolate

  • appreciation of the value of manual labor

  • manifests interest in the missions

  • convinced that the mission of the Society is his mission in life

  • manifest attitude of service

  • manifest concern of the poor

  • following the example of Jesus’ incarnation, he inserts himself in the actual situations of those whom he is serving

  • having an open mind and deep respect for the culture and religion of others


Historical and Pastoral Presentations with Exhibits

1. The Three Philippine SVD Provinces: The Novices are divided into 3 groups corresponding to the 3 Philippine SVD Provinces. Each group will make some research on the history of the particular province. The week-long presentation starts with the opening of the exhibits. Afterwards there are daily presentations of the districts, the apostolates of the province, personnel, problems encountered, the challenges, hopes and prospects. The weeklong presentations end with a cultural night when the Novices present songs and dances native to the particular province. Some friends are invited to participate in the program. Others form part of the audience. After the pastoral presentation, the group is asked to evaluate their activity and reflect on their experience and write down what they have learned from the whole activity.

2. The Four SVD Zones Worldwide: The Novices are divided into 4 groups. Just like in the 3 provinces, the Novices do research on the different provinces of the 4 zones of the SVD Worldwide. They get know where the SVD’s are working all over the world. They learn to appreciate what they are doing they are inspired very much especially by the pioneering work of our confreres. Each zonal presentation ends with a cultural night. After their presentation, the group reflects on their work and make a written report on what they have learned from their groupwork.

A. Exposure (Major)

a. Mangyan Exposure (2 weeks)

Before the Mangyan exposure, an Introductory Course on the Mangyan culture is held (cf. Fr. Ewald Dinter SVD and Fr. Jiggs Orcino SVD). At the end of the Mangyan exposure is a day of evalution.

• Purposes of Exposure:

  • solidarity with the poor, passing over and dialogue

  • inculturation

  • apostolate of presence

B. Exposure (Minor Exposure)

  1. Participation in the Liturgical calendar of the parish

    • Christ the King Feast

    • Fiesta, Fluvial Mass and Parade, New Year, etc.

  2. Sunday mass at the Mission House/Cathedral

  3. Dialogue with the disabled (deaf and mute)

    • To show concern and widen the novices perspective on humanity

  4. Operation Gift-Giving (1 day with “palaro”)

  5. Field Trips, Camping, Hiking

  6. Giving retreats/recollection, singing engagement

C. Workshop/Seminars

  1. Novitiate as threshold to Religious Life

  2. Practical Skills Training (1-day session each)

    • electrical know-how

    • Plumbing

    • Culinary art

    • First aid

    • Carpentry

    • Bookbinding

  3. Agriculture/Animal Husbandry

    • gardening (1-day)

    • Theology of the land (1-day)

    • Forestry (ways and means and methods)

    • Hog raising, poultry (techniques and methods for increased production)

  4. Leadership Training

    • Values

    • How to handle groups, problems

    • How to facilitate

    • Ins and outs, etc.

D. Talks/Inputs/Conferences

1. Diffferent charisms of the SVD
(1 day session each and slides, limited to the SVD Apostolate)
* for the awareness of the aspirants’ inclination

  • Mangyan Mission

  • School Administration

  • Formation

  • secular

  • SVD

  • Communication/Mass Media

  • Parish

  • Odisco(?)

  • Marriage Encounter

  • Superior delegates

  • OTPs

  • Provincial Superior

  • Treasurer

2. Arnoldus’ Family Talk and Mission sharing

  • SVD Brotherhood

  • Talks with the SSpS

  • SVD Friends

* to have a deeper and good interrelationship

3. Constitutions

  • class discussion, reporting and paper work

  • starts after the Retreat

  • the novices is already decided to live the religious life

  • the Novice Director gives the introduction

  • there are groups for every topic, then reporting and class discussion follow

  • individual reflections (2-3 pages)

4. Workers representative

  • jeepney drivers association

  • porters’ association

* for social awareness and solidarity

5. SVD Friends’ Talk (1 day)

  • to know the nature of the SVD Friends

  • to know their mission

6. Bishop’s Hour

  • 2 times a year (June to December)

  • updating in the Vicariate’s activity/sharing

7. Alternative Lifestyle

  • Marriage Encounter

  • Single Blessedness

8. Awareness of Various Congregation Charisms

  •  Reporting

E. Film/Slides

1. Missionary Correspondence

  • newsletter (at least 2 issues)

  • missionary penpals (at least 4 missionaries)

  • subscription magazines

  • World Mission

  • Other SVD Mission Magazines

2. Suggested Readings

  • Analecta

  • General Chapter

  • Document, Encyclicals, Pastoral News

3. Giving recollections and retreat in nearby schools and parishes.

F. Paperwork

  1. Post-Exposures Reflections (at least 5 pages) Mangyan

  2. Constitutions (2-3 pages)

  3. Missionary Life of Bl. Arnold Janssen ( at least 5 pages)

  4. Invitation-Giving Talks

  5. Reflections on one of the 3 Evangelical Counsels

Means (Summary)

  • talks by visiting Filipino Missionaries

  • publication

  • daily work (in the vegetable garden, laundry, kitchen, gathering firewood, feeding animals, household chores, library

  • correspondence with our missionaries

  • inputs on the mission and charism of the SVD

  • Mangyan exposure

  • Seminar on Missiology and Anthopology

i. Psycho-Emotional Level

Specific Goal:

To lead the novice to arrive at psycho-spiritual integration whereby he begins to attain self-identity defined by the religious vows and thus be prepared to make a free and responsible choice for the religious/missionary life in the SVD.


  • at ease with one’s strength and weakness

  • willing to correct and be corrected

  • is aware and accepts the need to be loved and to love

  • accepts one’s own worth and the worth of others

  • at ease with one’s own and other sexuality

  • able to handle emotions for one’s growth

  • is aware and accepts inner conflicts and contradictions

  • able to handle periods of quietness and capable of handling loneliness

  • capable of compassionate feelings for others

  • manifests happy and serene attitude as a religious

  • is self-initiating, responsible, and creative

  • able to cope up and take the consequence of one’s decisions

  • able to articulate to others and for himself the motives of his choice

  • is at home with the decision to take the vows or to live his Christianity in the context of another vocation

  • shows certain directedness in life in terms of personal goals

  • has positive attitude towards the vows as the necessary means to give himself fully and freely to his new way of life

  • is happy and comfortable with a simple lifestyle

  • is comfortable with the role of superiors in his new life.

Means :

I. Exposure No. 1 - DWCC-DAPO

Expected Outcomes :

  • acceptance of self through others’ self worth

  • the experience can encourage the individual to develop his talents

  • awareness of the social illnesses

  • awareness of dignity of human life as temple of the Holy Spirit

  • These persons must not only be regarded as object of our pity and love, i.e. objects of apostolate but equally important, they teach us to value human life.

  • Reflection papers and group processing

II. Servant Leaders

Term of Office : General Servant : 3 months
    Other Servants : 2 months
    Some servants : 1 months
    1st batch - by appointment
    2nd batch - by election
    3rd batch - volunteer by desiderata
    4th batch - volunteer (1st come, 1st serve)
Reasons for the following:
Appointment : - for the appointed novices to be able to accept responsibilities given by the superior, in consonance with the Society’s thrust of apostolic obedience as one of the counsels
- to develop one’s humility and flexibility
Election : - to be able to accept the decision of the community as regards the office
Volunteer : - to be able to develop one’s capacities and potentials in serving the community through one’s initiative

Topics for Wednesday Conferences:

  1. Values and the importance of Openness

  2. Responsibility to God, to self and to others

  3. Praying our goodbyes

III. Other Activities

  1. psycho and /or spiritual films plus sharing of reflections

  2. counseling after confession

  3. attending Big and Biggest day

  4. Acceptance of invitation from outside (talks and Seminars)

  5. Ratio/spiritual direction (at least once a month)

B. Group Processing

  • to build up trust which would eventually establish an atmosphere of openness in the community

  • to share reflections, experiences, problems

C. Fraternal Correction/Peer Evaluation

  • - willingness to correct and be corrected, thus helping the individual to be aware of his own strength and weaknesses.

    • Both written and oral

    • Mechanics:

      • Written: by areas covering the 5 aspect of formation; positive and negative comments inclusive

      • Oral: class openness (group process) with the presence of a formator as a facilitator


  • 1st fraternal correction:

    • it is presupposed that the written evaluation has been received by the novice concerned.

    • during the group process the facilitator will be the one to read the written evaluation once the novice concerned positions himself infront of the class

    • after the reading the novice concerned will give his response

    • if anyone among the class wishes to elaborate some of the comments given and heard he may do so.

    • Suggestions for the growth of the novice concerned are most welcome

  • 2nd fraternal correction:

    • during the group process, the novice concerned will first give his self-evaluation before he receives the written evaluation of the class about him

    • the method will give rise to an atmosphere of honest and personal assessment of the novice regardless of what others say

D. Human Sexuality

Relevance : The topic is considered as a response to the life of a novice being initiated into the Religious Life where he learns to embrace the beauty as well as the challenges of celibacy in contrast to what has been presupposed in the pre-novitiate program.


  1. Human Dimension

    1. relation with the opposite sex and same sex

    2. issues on effeminacy and homosexuality

    3. perversions

  2. Spiritual

    1. sexuality as a gift from God; giving up something good for a greater good

  3. Social

    1. how to cope with questions and problems concerning celibacy, e.g., celibacy as a form of escapism, seminarian-girl relationship: ban or boon?

  4. Missionary

    1. celibacy, a life-long commitment

E. Seminar on Health and Wholeness

  1. healing of memories

  2. healing of hang-ups

  3. stress and tension management

  4. oriental medicine

    • panic healing

    • emotionally-induced illness

F. Seminar on Psycho-Emotional Spiritual Integration

  1. interpersonal relationship

  2. love and friendship

Note : Apologizing

  • acceptance of one’s mistake and failures

  • humility and accountability

IX Marriage Encounter and/or Dialogue with Couples

The novices gains a deeper insight on commitment in relationship viz-a-viz the life-long commitment a religious missionary life entails. It can also lead to awareness and acceptance of the need to love and to be loved.

Means (Summary)

  • Write-up of personal history

  • Seminars/group process for self-knowledge and growth

  • Conference on guidance

  • Meditation, awareness examination, confessions

  • Interviews

  • Journal writing

  • One week seminar on the art of listening and intensive journal writing

  • Seminar on dream analysis

4. Social Community Level

Specific Goal:
To help the novice experience and value the spiritual dimension of community life implied by the religious vows and its apostolic dimensions contained in our missionary vocation.


  • knows the vision and charism of the Society

  • aware of the apostolic dimension of the community life.

  • Accepts the responsibilities and the roles to contribute to the building up of the community

  • Accepts the need to belong to the community as his primary group

  • Accepts the priority of community good over personal interest

  • Willing to share his faith experiences

  • Participates actively in community activities as in liturgy and prayer, recreation, planning, evaluation

  • Has the capacity to bear each other’s personal weaknesses patiently and with the tensions resulting from differences of temperament, age and culture

  • Able to enter into personal relationship with each one and contribute toward an experience that all feel accepted and at home in the community

  • Feels personally responsible for any community outreach program


• WORK :

  • groundwork(M-F) 8:45-10:15 AM

  • housework (daily) 8:15-8:45 AM

  • general housework(Saturday) 8:15-10:00 AM

  • the novice learns to accept the priority of community good over personal interest


Outdoors/indoors: Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday
(3:45-5:00 PM) (Sunday is optional)

  • to know one’s attitudes and sense of personal discipline

• DYADS (Monday-Saturday) (Novice-novice sharing)

  • - scheduled dyads (after morning prayers)

  • - unscheduled dyads (permission from the Novice Master

* for one to personally know each of the members of the community

• GROUP SHARING (Bible Sharing)

* the novices feed one another with the Word of God by sharing faith experiences. One from the group shares the fruits of the sharing during the Mass of the day.

• SINGING PRACTICE (Monday and Friday, 3:00-4:00 PM)

* To improve the liturgy


  • anyone may share his reflections based on the Gospel to the community

  • foster a free atmosphere of sharing in the community within the context of the Eucharist

• SUNDAY SPECIALS (Supper time)

  •  spontaneous sharing of talents: songs, poems, jokes, compositions

* To help the novice develop a sense of confidence in himself and learn to appreciate the uniqueness of others

• FAMILY HOUR (monthly, last Sunday of the month)

  • theme

  • prayer before and after

  • talent portion

  • sharing of one’s life

  • tribute to the birthday celebrants of the month

  • the numbers presented center around the theme, e.g., love, peace, etc.,


INTRAMS (Tuesdays-Thursdays-Sundays)

  • Kick off:

  • parade, invocation, oath taking, cheering, games outdoors and indoors, etc.

  • essay writing (s), logo making, song composition, culmination in “Pulo”, awarding, swimming

* To deepen the spirit of camaraderie

• GROUP GROWTH (weekly, Saturday afternoon)

  • small group processing an activity in which the novices process their emotions and share their growth by finding support from one another

• SVD Novices “Big Day”

  • Activities

  • joint celebration with the SVDs in Mindoro

  • Eucharistic celebration

  • joint meal

  • programs

  • games



  • enhances creativity of the novice


  • develops the value of working as a team/group



Through relevant media exposures: TV and radio programs

  • news

  • social discussions

  • religious issues

  • talks by some TV personalities

  • monthly Mass in the Mission house

  • votatio


  • sharing by some SVD’s in Mindoro

  • class meeting depends on the needs and situations

  • beta viewing (Wednesday, sharing of reflections the following day)

  • dorm arrangements, sitting arrangements (dining hall, study hall, chapel):

  • monthly the novices become aware and learn to accept difficulties connected

  • with community life

  • servants’ meeting depends on the needs and situations

* The novices help solve each other’s problems.

  • birthdays

  • singing card

  • spontaneous program

  • interaction with those around:

    • SVDs and SSpS

Means (Summary)

  • inputs on community life

  • daily schedule

  • community building activities

  • community responsibilities

  • community group sharing

  • correctio fraterna

  • evaluations

5. Academic Level

Specific Goal:
To help the novice integrate the love of study and reflection in the context of contemplative prayer and apostolic work.


  • is able to articulate his novitiate experience in written and oral forms

  • shows love and passion for truth

  • is faithful in his spiritual readings

  • shares his knowledge to others

  • shows discipline in the making of his paper requirements by submitting them on time


  • paperwork

  • post- exposure reflections

  • post- retreat reflections

  • personal salvation history

  • favorite saint

  • Blessed Arnold Janssen/Blessed Joseph of Shantung

  • paper on the vows

  • article and book reviews


The Formation Program at the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House (SFFH) is holistic in approach. Part and parcel of the program is an awareness that the socio-economic and political realities of our country has much influence to our being human, Christian, and religious at the same time. A formation of particularly Christian response to these realities is therefore called for.

In our attempt to accompany the seminarians in this aspect of formation, we, the formators, will allow them to get in touch with cause-oriented groups which contact, to our estimation, would be helpful in the formation of a reflective and creative Christian social awareness and identity. Consequently, we will participate in peaceful demonstrations, prayer rallies, and other related activities, in order to support a common stand on present pressing issues in society. The formators of the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House will be responsible in selecting the groups to support and the common stand to be arrived at.

In this connection, therefore, we ask you to allow your son to join such mentioned concerns and activities we hope to support. We will respect whatever opinion and feelings you have on this matter, and they will never influence us in the way we look and deal with your son’s formation.

Date: ___________________________________
Parents/Guardians : ___________________________________
BFFH Prefect : ___________________________________
BFFH Rector : ___________________________________




SIGNED: _____________________________



The Formation Program at the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House (SFFH) is holistic in approach. Part and parcel of the program is an awareness that the socio-economic and political realities of our country has much influence to our being human, Christian, and religious at the same time. A formation of particularly Christian response to these realities is therefore called for.

In our attempt to accompany the seminarians in this aspect of formation, we, the formators, will allow them to get in touch with cause-oriented groups which contact, to our estimation, would be helpful in the formation of a reflective and creative Christian social awareness and identity. Consequently, we will participate in peaceful demonstrations, prayer rallies, and other related activities, in order to support a common stand on present pressing issues in society. The formators of the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House will be responsible in selecting the groups to support and the common stand to be arrived at.

In this connection, therefore, we ask you to allow your son to join such mentioned concerns and activities we hope to support. We will respect whatever opinion and feelings you have on this matter, and they will never influence us in the way we look and deal with your son’s formation.

Date: ___________________________________
Parents/Guardians: ___________________________________
BFFH Prefect: ___________________________________
BFFH Rector: ___________________________________




SIGNED: ________________________________________




In the SVD, there are two kinds of vocations: the priesthood and the brotherhood, laymen and clerics (SVD Const. # 104, 511.5). Each vocation is unique but complementary to each other. Both share in the one religious missionary vocation in the SVD.

A candidate for the priesthood devotes his formation life to years of study in philosophy and theology, living in a religious community of individuals with the same aspiration and goal, and doing various apostolate exposures to gain experiences for future ministry (SVD Const. # 516ff). His spirituality is specific to his future priestly ministry.

A candidate to the brotherhood gives years of study in various professional courses, which includes a two-year study in theology, lives in a religious community which considers the living of the evangelical counsels, prayer, and work central, and does apprentice works related to his professional educational training (SVD Const. # 515ff). His spirituality is specific to his future lay-religious ministry in the SVD and in the Church.

Thus when a seminarian shifts to the brotherhood naturally his whole orientation has to be tuned-in to the life and mission specific, but not exclusive, to the brothers. That need is the focus of a one-year program of formation.


The program is intended for those who shift to the brotherhood after novitiate. The venue will be the brother formation house in Cebu, and the director of the program will be the prefect of post-novitiate or the national director of the brother formation program. The time frame is one year depending on the evaluation of the growth, or lack of it, in the person of the candidate.

The one-year program is a period of introduction. There are three key areas which the new brother will have to be introduced into: 1) identity of SVD Brother, 2) community life with the brothers, and 3) a new program of study. The program of activities is inclusive of the standard five areas of development – spiritual, psycho-emotional, social, missionary, and academics – with emphasis on the three areas identified above.

The program will be process-oriented; all existential experiences and the cognitions born thereof shall be put into the context of a conversation where they will be shared, reenacted, interpreted, pieced together, and personally owned. At the end of the year, there will be an evaluation of the program, of the formator, and of the junior brother’ growth.


The program aims to introduce the new brother into the whole understanding of the unique vocation of brotherhood in the SVD. A reading, reflecting, and sharing about the history of brothers, its self-understanding, formation, vision, spirituality of mission, the brother image and issues related to status, hierarchy, and culture is essential to an understanding of the identity of the SVD brother.

Through an experience of living in a community of brothers the program also aims to provide a strong existential, affective, and relational experience to the new brother. What would be offered in the experience is an invaluable knowledge – factual and intuitive – of the reality of the brothers. For example, community prayer and work play a key role in the life experience of a brother. Such experiential knowledge will be helpful when the junior brother moves into a bigger SVD community of priests and brothers.

To prepare the junior brother into an area of specialization where he will be professionally competent the program will provide sufficient time for academic development. Based on one’s aptitude and the needs of the society, the new junior brother will embark on a study program of choice to gain the skills and knowledge specific to the kind of ministry he will do in the future in the SVD mission.

III. BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES (or indicators of growth)

After one year of various formational activities, the junior brother will have achieved the following as will be shown in written and verbal evaluations, and in observable behaviors shown in the areas of self-knowledge, understanding the brotherhood vocation in the SVD, academic performance, community living, faith life, and ministry exposures:

  1. Appreciate the life and mission of the brothers in the history of the SVD

  2. Identify oneself with the various roles the brothers play in the SVD mission today

  3. Explain with clarity and conviction, to himself and to others, the unique aspects of the brotherhood vocation and those aspects that brothers share with their clerical counterparts in the one religious missionary vocation in the SVD

  4. Face and deal with constructively those elements of the Filipino culture that are bias against the religious brothers

  5. Complete at least 18-27 units in graduate study

  6. Obtain a 2.0 grade point average in courses taken, no 3.0 or NC grade

  7. Develop a meaningful connection between his studies and SVD mission

  8. Demonstrate, via practical contributions to community, initially acquired skills and knowledge in line with one’s field of study

  9. Attend regularly most of the community activities

  10. Show respect to others in their differences

  11. Point out instances in which he feels the community has made him mature in faith and in relational life

  12. See himself as a brother, happy and contributing, in the SVD mission

  13. Feel confident that this is what God wants him to be



  • monthly spiritual direction

  • weekly conferences

  • weekly guided readings and reflection – Rel. Life, SVD Brotherhood

  • semestral recollection and annual retreat

  • monthly ratio

  • monthly AJS faith-sharing


  • schedule: common prayer, meals, recreation, housework, meetings, recollections, and extra-community activities

  • policies: accountabilities, use of community resources, vacations, etc..


  • individual counseling sessions – USC counselors

  • psychological tests

  • guided readings and reflections – selfhood, culture, and value formation

  • CPE (timed outside school schedule)

  • referral talks

MINISTRY EXPOSURE (any one of the following)

  • work at the SVD communication center

  • JPIC related work

  • teaching load at USC

  • campus ministry at USC or elsewhere

  • NOTE: Processing of work experiences is integrated in the weekly conferences unless otherwise needed


  • requirements for study approval: application letter, statement of purpose

  • study of choice to be agreed upon and approved by the director of the program in consultation with the brother formation team

  • master’s level or graduate study – considered as specialization study


  1. Midyear Performance Report (first week of October)

    • written self-appraisal by the junior brother

    • feedbacks from the academic adviser at school

    • feedbacks from the formation team

  2. Annual Votatio (first week of February)

    • written self-evaluation of the junior brother (middle of February)

    • feedbacks from the members of the formation community (simple format)

    • evaluation from the formation team

    • evaluation and recommendation by the program director to Provincial Council


  1. List of Readings – 2 sets: 1)faith-vocational , 2) affective-motivational

  2. Daily Schedule

  3. Format: Midyear Performance Report

  4. Format: Annual Votatio – Simple Format



A. Introduction

This Brother Theological Formation Program in the Philippines is based on the written SVD Formation Program for the Philippines presented by the Formation Board and duly approved by the Inter-Provincial Councils of the Country. Since Theological Formation falls under the area of ACADEMICS, this rationale will be limited to this area alone.

B. Rationale

Goal of Post Novitiate Program

The Post-Novitiate Program alms at enabling the confreres in temporary vows to further internalize their vocation and appropriate a methodology of growth towards a life-long personal commitment to Christ in the SVD, and the development of an attitude of readiness to assume responsibility and the missionary task of the Society as a Brother or Priest.

This overall goal for the Post-Novitiate Program is supposed to be approximated through the FIVE AREAS OF GROWTH (psycho-emotional; social; spiritual; missionary; academic), which in turn have their own respective goals to be achieved.

Since we are concerned with the ACADEMIC AREA alone, we spell out here the goal of the academic area.

Goal for Academic Area

1. To help the confrere in temporary vows attain familiarity with the World of God and the Living Tradition of the Church and cultivate a sensitivity to the signs of the times and thus be able to reflect on their own faith experiences and thus occasion and challenge people to reflect on theirs.

The guiding and leading people to articulate their own faith experiences IS NOT the primary role of religious in the Church. Primarily, the life-style (not so much direct preaching) of a religious is supposed to challenge people look into their own. In fact our constitution proposed to the brothers emphasizes precisely this point.

Cons. 515:
The 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.

Cons. 515.2
Brothers should be offered a SUITABLE BASIC THEOLOGICAL AND MISSIOLOGICAL EDUCATION in addition to their professional training so that they can enter more deeply into their vocation and work in catechetical and pastoral fields.

Given the above mentioned constitutional stipulations, we can gather the following as motives for this THEOLOGICAL FORMATION.

Program Objectives

  1. to enter deeply into their vocation (i.e. carrying out the missionary task of the Church entrusted to every Christian but in the decisive way called for the religious life).

  2. to help them in their catechetical and pastoral apostolate – especially for those who will be doing this kind of work directly.

Program Description

The program is envisioned to run for two (2) years, the main focus of which is academic, i.e., studies on various theological courses.

The content of the courses follow a basic “theological thread” of INVITATION and RESPONSE (God who invites and man who responds to the invitation). This approach not given in the same way as it done in theological faculties, will hopefully home-in to a deep reflection on basic issues about vocation: What are my needs? Are they compatible to my values? Why do I want to be a Brother today? Who is this God I’m relating to?

The second important component of the program includes an apostolate done with any one of the four SVD-preferred dialogue partners – poor, faith seekers, other religions, other cultures - and the accompanying individual conference aimed at processing faith experience.

The third component of the program is a 10-week course in Clinical Pastoral Education done during summer after the first year of theology studies. The course offers to the young brother an opportunity for serious self-appraisal and self-enhancement in a supervised clinical-pastoral context in a hospital. Moreover, the experience the young brother gets in this course will give him personal skills for pastoral work.

Indicators for Growth

The goals mentioned above are approximated through the five areas of growth namely, psycho-emotional, social, spiritual, missionary and academic each with corresponding set of indicators. Of great importance in the program is the specific expectation on the brothers to gain a clear knowledge of the understanding and misunderstanding of the brotherhood vocation. This expectation presupposes a critical confrontation of the role of the religious given its historical and cultural context, i.e. strong clerical orientation in the Filipino culture, clericalism in the church, new challenges for brothers today, etc.

Matters to be Covered

  • Introduction to Theology

  • Introduction to Scriptures

  • Christian Anthropology **

  • Salvation History

  • Grace

  • God

  • Christology

  • The Church

  • Mariology

  • Sacraments

  • Christian Spirituality **

  • Religious Life **

  • SVD Charism **

  • Faith

1. Collation:

1.1. To be taken during Pre-Novitiate

  • Salvation History

  • Christian Anthropology

2.2 To be taken during Novitiate

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Religious Life

  • SVD Charism

3. Rationalized

The theological course for the brothers should not be given in the same way as it is done in theological faculties. However, this should not mean a short changing as far as content is concerned. The course has rationale to approximate. This should, therefore, influence the content and the process of how to achieve the rationale.

4. The Content


  • Introduction to Theology

  • Introduction to Scriptures

  • Faith and Secularization


  • Grace (The History of God’s Invitation)

  • The God who invites

  • The Invitation in Christ

  • The Invitation that is the Church (Spirit)

  • The Invitation in the Sacraments


  • Response as Grace

  • Christ the Pattern of Response

  • Christian Life

    • Virtues

    • Sin/Conversion

    • The Spirit in Christian Life

  • The Mission of the Christian

*Time line
The above program is to be spread out in two years time ( i.e. in four (4) semesters).





The Junior Brother in this stage of formation is usually in the 3rd Year in temporary vows. He has already attained college education, had been introduced to religious life in his novitiate, and had initial experience in living out the evangelical counsels in a community of professed religious while being assisted, through his theological formation program, to understand more deeply the meaning of his vocation. Naturally, he is experiencing “movement” of growth is envisioned to be achieved by a continuity of the formation process placed in a “new environment” outside the formation center community—temporary assignment program---which will require from him more active, apostolic involvement in the area of his interest and training or profession.

Description of the Program:

The stage of temporary assignment is a two-year period of supervised apostolic ministry done in any local SVD community in the Philippines, outside of formation house in Cebu. The Junior Brother, after his theological studies and prior to his renewal of vows, applies for temporary assignment. Following its approval by the Provincial Superior (cf Guidelines….Communicating the Information) he is assigned to a fulltime job “that corresponds to his abilities and inclination as well as to the missionary task of the Society” (Cos. 515.1)

It is called temporary assignment and it form as a part of the Brother Formation Program. (It is not an assignments for perpetually professed SVDs). All Junior Brothers are, therefore, required to go through it.

The active, “new”, less structured lifestyle of the placement area is the context of the process of growth. Its contents are the work assignment, the formation covenant, the supervision provided, and various tools to be used for monitoring and evaluating performance, reactions and reflection to experience, and growth (cf. Means to Achieve the Objectives). The venue of the work varies: supervisory work in media centers, radio, specialized support enterprises (mechanic, carpentry), teaching in schools, apostolic work in the parish, administration work in a retreat house, district house or provincial house. At the end of the assignment, the Junior Brother will be evaluated for his readiness and suitability to prepare for perpetual vows.


In addition to the objectives stated in Constitution 513, the objective of this period of formation is “to assist the Junior Brother to integrate himself into the life and works of the Society in the Philippines, and in the world.”

Means to Achieve the Objectives

1. Formation Covenant

This is a signed contract between the Junior Brother and his formation supervisor which itemize the functions, responsibilities and expectations of both parties. This is one of the tools to be used for the performance’s evaluation of the Junior Brother (cf. Appendix A).

2. Work assignment

Work assignment is the job which the placement area assigns to the Junior Brother. The type of work depends on his interests and professional training.

3. Journal

A journal is a record of personal reactions, reflections to any event encountered by the Junior Brother in his life and work during the assignment. Done faithfully and regularly, it will bring out certain trends in the personality of the Junior Brother which could be guided towards a healthy full-flowering of himself in formation.

4. Performance Appraisal Report

This report is to be accomplished in the middle of the school year (last week of October) by both the supervisor (s) and the Junior Brother, and submitted to the Brother Formation Team (BFT) in Cebu. Contents of the report would be the following:

  1. Junior Brother’s performance in his area of work (cf. Formation covenant, job descriptions)

  2. His performance as a member of the SVD Community

  3. His life as a religious.

5. Supervision

The formation supervisor plays a vital role in the growth of the Junior Brother through supervision. “Supervision is a method in which the supervisor (SVD Brother or Priest) covenant together to reflect critically on their ministry as a way of growing in self-awareness, professional competence, theological understanding, and Christian commitment” (DWS Regency Program). The experience in temporary assignment becomes truly significant when the Junior Brother comes to grips with the reality of the events he encounters and becomes aware and understands the manner with which he is responding to those stimuli, with the supervisor’s guidance (supervision). This is the proper formation event of this program. Of utmost importance in supervisory function is the monthly formation reflection (cf. Guidelines... Responsibilities of the Formation Supervisor)

6. Annual Votatio

The first annual votatio is to assist the BFT in determining the Junior Brother’s suitability to renew his temporary vows; the second, for the perpetual vows. All members of the community who are in vows (perpetual and temporary) are expected to contribute in the evaluation process. Other people, i.e., secretaries, parish workers, etc. may be invited to participate depending on the discretion of the formation supervisor. (cf. Appendix B)

7. Yearend Supervisor’s Evaluation

This separate written evaluation by the supervisor (s) is an addendum to the annual votatio done by the community. The rationale behind is to obtain more information (inputs) for the Junior Brother’s evaluation as the supervisor (s) would have more knowledge of him and his performance given the close working relationship with him. Using the standard format, the evaluation is expected to be more detailed and includes specific recommendations for the benefit of the Junior Brother’s formation.

8. Personal Evaluation

The Junior Brother is to make an evaluation of himself and the program every year based on his experiences and reflections (cf. Appendix C)

Note: All evaluation are to be done in February and submitted to the BFT and House Council of the Formation House-Cebu. The Cebu House Council will then cast their votes and make recommendations to the Provincial Council.


In addition to the indicators of the Post-Novitiate level as outlined in the overall formation program in the Philippine SVD, the Junior Brother in this particular stage of formation is expected to experience growth in terms of:

  1. His ability to take the position of a learner, humbly and with gratitude, working effectively with people who are far more experienced and more competent than he is.

  2. His ability to enter into a level of interpersonal relationship where he is expected more and more to give himself to others while maintaining a balance in his own life, continuing to grow in relationship to God.

  3. His ability to recognize opportunities wherein he could contribute his ideas and talents for the common goal.

  4. His willingness to spend long hours to active apostolate.

  5. Ability to be accountable to the appropriate persons according to the nature of the activity: self. Local community, province, c-workers, superiors.

Guidelines for Practical Implementation of the temporary Assignment Program

  1. Communicating the Information

    1. The BFT looks for a community where valid formation is possible and where there is a formation supervisor available.

    2. The BFT informs the Brother Advisory Board (BAB) and the provincial Superiors of the list of Junior Brothers who are ready for temporary assignment. The information that will be passed pertinent to the temporary assignment application should include: their training, choice of placement areas, preferences for type of work, letter of application, and the recommendations of the Brother Formation team and the House Council of Cebu.

    3. The Provincial Superior and his Council gives the final decision on the applications and communicates this to the local community of the placement area, the BFT, and the House Council in Cebu.

    4. The BFT visits the local community and acquaint the concerned confreres (those whom the Junior Brother would have to closely work with) about the temporary assignment program, and the need to appoint a local formation supervisor. A list of names (nominees) is to be forwarded to the Provincial Superior.

    5. The Provincial Superior, in consultation with the local community and the BFT, appoints in writing a local formation supervisor with copy furnish to the BFT and the local community. Attach to the appointment for the implementation of the temporary assignment program, and form of the formation covenant.

    6. The BFT makes the final arrangements, i.e., time of arrival, transportation, briefings to the Junior Brothers.

  2. Giving the Orientation

    1. The appointed local formation supervisor shares and discusses the outline of the formation process with the Junior Brother soon after his arrival in the placement area in view of formulating and signing a formation covenant.

    2. The supervisor introduces the Junior Brother to the members of the local community as well as to other SVD and religious communities. Whenever suitable, the Junior Brother is also introduced to the Bishop (cf. Responsibilities of the Formation Supervisor)

    3. In situations where the work of the Junior Brother is supervised by a confrere other than the formation supervisor, said confrere (work supervisor is to give the orientation of the work involved, a written job description, and introduces him to his co-workers in the area of work (cf. Responsibilities of the Work Supervisor).

    4. Other necessary orientation relative to the life and work in the community or district level is to be received from the local superiors --- Rector, District Supervisor or the School President. Examples: House Policies and School Policies.

  3. Formulating the Covenant

    1. The Junior Brother and his formation supervisor develop the plan of growth. (cf. Appendix A).

    2. The local community, through the formation supervisor, enters into a formation covenant – a written contract – with the Junior Brother. This is to avoid confusion and conflicts which may arise from unclear rules, responsibilities and hidden expectations of both the Junior Brother and his superiors in the community. The contract then details those rules, responsibilities, and accountabilities of both parties.

    3. A copy of the covenant is sent to each of the local superiors-Rector, District Superior, School President, Work Supervisor- and to the Brother Formation Team.

Responsibilities of the Formation Supervisor

The temporary assignment program is a part or normal stage of formation of the Brother candidate. As such, the formation process is taken over by the local community where the Junior Brother is assigned. This accomplished through the appointed local formation supervisor. His responsibilities include:

  1. To communicate the support of the SVDs of the Province to the Junior Brother and to welcome him to the local community. To introduce the Junior Brother to his local superiors, to the Bishop if it seems suitable, and to others SVD communities in the placement area.

  2. To collaborate with Junior Brother to his local superiors, to the Bishop if it seems suitable, and to other SVD communities in the placement area.

  3. To collaborate with the Junior Brother to his local superiors, to the Bishop if it seems suitable, and to other SVD communities in the placement area.

  4. To monitor, through a monthly formation reflection (cf. Appendix D), the progress of the Junior Brother in his effort to be faithful to the covenant and accomplish his goals.

  5. To assist the Junior Brother in all his talents, gifts, limitations, by encouraging him to take part in opportunities for personal and professional development, i.e., organizing a vocation week program, recollections, and other enrichment workshop.

  6. To provide competent spiritual direction and resources-books, retreats-for his spiritual growth.

  7. To challenge the Junior Brother to integrity, to generosity, to self transcendence, and to deeper commitment as the need arises, i.e. conflict situations, etc.

  8. To respond to the request for assistance to the various needs of the Junior Brother, i.e., financial needs for projects and travel, giving permission except for leave of absence and home vacation, etc.

  9. To assist in the promotion to vows procedure by facilitating the process of evaluation for the Junior Brother in the local community. To submit copies of evaluations to the BFT together with his (supervisor’s) own evaluation of the Junior Brother. (cf. Appendix B)

  10. To assist the Junior Brother discern his readiness for final commitment, and plans for immediate preparation as needed. ( The Junior Brother is due for final vows as the next stage of his formation).

  11. To periodically (October and February) inform the local superiors and BFT of the progress of the Junior Brother’s life and work in the community: performance appraisal report and yearned evaluation. (cf. Means to Achieve the Objectives)

Responsibilities of the Work Supervisor

The work supervisor is a person or confrere other than the formation supervisor who overseas the Junior Brother’s performance in his work. This happens when a Junior Brother is assigned to a particular school department (Engineering), special apostolates (media center, Radio, Community Organizing), or Campus Ministry in our colleges or universities, and the formation supervisor is not the head or director of the said apostolate or department. The duties of the work supervisor include:

  1. To receive, introduce and orient the Junior Brother to his work, c-worker, and work environment.

  2. To issue and clarify with the Junior Brother his job description (also expectations). A copy of the job description is to be attached to the formation covenant of which the formation supervisor and the BFT has a copy.

  3. In case where work demands are in conflict with the Junior Brother’s other responsibilities, the work supervisor should coordinate with the formation supervisor. Note: The primary obligation of the Junior Brother is his overall formation. As such, the demands of work should not sacrifice his other responsibilities.

  4. To assist in the formation process of the Junior Brother in terms of written evaluation reports: performance appraisal, report, votatio, yearend evaluation, submitted to the formation supervisor. (cf. Means to Achieve Objectives, #4 & 7).

Responsibilities of Local Superior(s) and Community

The local superior in the placement area is the canonical superior of the Junior Brother. He has the full authority over them and the responsibility to look after their well-being However, the immediate responsibility for supervision is fulfilled by the formation supervisor. The local superior and local community’s duties in the program include:

  1. To determine the work assignment and placement of the Junior Brother in consultation with the provincial superior and BFT.

  2. To assist the BFT in recommending a list of possible formation supervisors to the Provincial Superior.

  3. To keep in touch with the Junior Brother, whenever possible, in view of giving him personal support and guidance, and for monitoring his progress.

  4. To give permission for home vacation and leave of absence (if requested), in consultation with the formation and work supervisors.

  5. To participate in the promotion to vows procedure in terms of a written votatio done usually at yearned prior to the renewal of vows, as well as before the end of the term of the Junior Brother’s assignment.

Responsibilities of the Brother formation Team

  1. To assist the Junior Brother in making his application for temporary assignment to the Provincial Superior.

  2. To communicate his availability for temporary assignment to the three provinces in the Philippine SVD as well as to the local community or placement area within the province.

  3. To coordinate with the local superior of the placement area in finding a suitable formation supervisor for the junior Brother.

  4. To acquaint the local community especially the formation supervisor, of the philosophy, goals and contents of the temporary assignment program, and their corresponding responsibilities in implementing it.

  5. To identify and clarify specific needs of the program like the completion of the formation covenant, monthly formation reflection with the Junior Brother; days for reports, votatio and for renewal of vows.

  6. To explain and discuss with the Junior Brother the goals and expectations for the temporary assignment prior to his departure to the placement area.

  7. To visit the Junior Brother twice a year, at the least, in the placement area.

  8. To secure the support and involvement (in terms of visits, invitations to meetings, sharing of experiences on a given opportunity) of the Brothers working near or around the placement area of the Junior Brother assigned.

  9. To maintain regular contact with the formation supervisor for purposes of monitoring the progress of the Junior Brother.

  10. To initiate yearend evaluations, votatio, and recommendations to the Provincial Superior.




The local superior of the placement area is the canonical superior of the Junior Brother although the immediate responsibility of implementing the temporary assignment program, as arranged with the BFT, is fulfilled by the formation supervisor.

The type of work to be assigned to the Junior Brother should be in line with his interest and professional training (Cons. 514.1)

The Junior Brother should not be placed in the level of a fulltime managerial position immediately – something that is beyond his competence. His assignment, or may be called an apprenticeship, is mainly for purposes of formation which allows him to work and contribute only so much according to the level of his capacity, and guided by his formation goals, under the supervision of a competent SVD confrere in charge.

Work demands should not sacrifice or make second priority his other obligations as a formand, i.e., his presence and participation in community activities such as prayer, meetings, etc.. In case of conflict, coordination is utmost importance.

The Brother Formation House will shoulder the Junior Brother’s transport expenses to the placement area. All other subsequent expenses incurred during the assignment until his return back to Cebu, is to be paid by the local community or receiving community. Said expenses include monthly allowance (expectedly the same amount given to other members of the community, and a travel allowance for a privileged annual retreat together with the Regents in the province as well as for his home vacation.

As provide for in the Constitution 308.3, the Junior Brother could go for a three-week home vacation. Timing should be such that it is the most suitable opportunity considering the needs of the placement area. With endorsements from the formation and work supervisors, the local superior is to give the permission for home vacation. The cost of travel and pocket money is to be provided by the local community. Further, the 3 weeks should be spent in one stretch only. It is intended to be spent with family and relatives.

Invitations from family members are relatives requesting the Junior Brother’s attendance for weddings, birthdays, reunions, anniversary parties and other occasions, except for a death in the family, are normally not to be accepted as valid reasons that would merit a permission for a leave of absence by the local superior in consultation with the formation and work supervisors.

Plan of activities, i.e. classes, camps, that would entail going out from the placement area the whole summertime is to be requested in writing by the junior Brother from the BFT (Cebu) through and with the endorsements of the local superior and formation supervisor. Submission of the said request will be in February and will need the approval of the BFT.

The end of the temporary assignment is 2 weeks before the end of the school year. It is expected then that the necessary preparations for termination were done already during this time. Expected arrival in the Brother Formation House is April 1.

As a policy, temporary vows could be extended to the ninth time. In this connection, extension in temporary assignment is possible only if the Junior Brother is recommended for a one year extension of his temporary vows because he is not ready to prepare for final vows. In which case, a decision of extension of assignment




A. Rationale

The Junior Brother at this stage of formation will have already renewed his vows for the 5th or 6th time. Fully aware of the growth process he had undergone and internalized throughout the years in temporary vows, he now faces the reality of making his religious-missionary commitment to the Lord, permanently, that is, by professing the perpetual vows in the Society (SVD).

B. Description of the Program

The discernment process proceeds in four phases:

First, the Brother signifies in writing his sincere desire to prepare for final vows; his suitability and readiness to it is ascertained by an evaluation process. The second phase involves a more internal preparation: “The immediate preparation for perpetual vows take place under special spiritual direction, regularly of meditation.”

The third phase concerns the discernment for the application of first mission assignment. The Brother is advised about the life demands of missionary work especially the assignment to foreign mission. He is guided as to the present needs and priorities of the Society and where his own personal charism would be best utilized. On the other hand, it is very important that the Brother understands that first assignments are permanent in nature. The whole phase is completed with the accomplishment of the Petitio Missionis.

The last phase involves a ten-day-retreat where the Brother intimately and prayerfully dialogue with God to whom he will commit himself for life. At the end of the retreat is the profession of final vows to be received by the Provincial Superior of the Province where the Brother belongs.

The preparation period lasts six (6) months to one year with the accompaniment of the Director of Brother Formation, done in a formation community where such preparation and accompaniment assured (Cons. 514.1)

C. General Objective

“To help the brother make a serious, mature assessment of oneself in relation to ones own spirituality, relationship to others, and relationship to God as lived during the preceding stages of formation in view of discerning one’ worthiness and readiness to make a lifetime commitment of self to the Lord, to serve him in the mission of the Church as a member of the Society of the Divine Word”

D. Specific Objectives

To help the Brother…

  1. Integrate the various experiences and values encountered in the early stages of formation

  2. Identify and clarify the verbal and non-verbal motivations at play on those experiences

  3. Evaluate the different sets of healthy and unhealthy responses or coping mechanisms to difficult situations and relationships, as a way of determining one’s fitness to living in community

  4. Appreciate and consolidate one’s skills in various ministries

  5. Affirm one’s capacity and fidelity to live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience

  6. Prepare for his Petitio Missionis

E. Content of the Program

  1. Psycho-Emoitonal

    • Personal history of human development

    • Psychological testing (personality inventory)

    • EPPS Test

    • Input: relationships, coping mechanism, review in psycho-social development (Erikson)

    • Community assignment as a structure to help one’s integration in the community

    • Activities to develop self-awareness i.e., Enneagram, etc.

  2. Spiritual

    • Input: Religious life, based on PCP II, Vatican II, SVD Documents

    • Theological and Spiritual reflection of religious life

    • Scriptural reflection of Religious Life

    • Historical and evangelical counsels and their meaning

    • Celibacy, sexuality

    • Obedience

    • Poverty

    • Intimate relationship in religious life

    • Liturgy: Eucharist, celebration of the Word, confession

    • Prayer and Scripture

    • Contemplation

  3. Social

    • Conflicts in community life, their role and importance

    • Daily schedule of activities, structures in life

    • Anthropological reflection of community life

    • Communication

    • Review on the significance of healthy coping mechanisms

    • Group dynamics of community life and problems

    • Internationally of SVD

    • “passing Over” in relationship, values

  4. Missionary

    • Signs of the times

    • Present priority apostolate of the SVD

    • Various ministries open to Brothers

    • Role of Brothers in Mission

    • Scriptural reflection on apostolic spirituality

    • Inculturation, passing-over

  5. Academics

    • Guided readings and reflections on topics above

    • Opportunities for workshops outside the formation community

    • Journal keeping

  6. Implementation/Tools for Monitoring

    • Weekly formation interview

    • Twice a month spiritual direction

    • Journal writing

    • Testing

    • Monthly refection papers

    • Evaluation of community

    • Self-evaluation of the Brother

    • Petitio Missionis

    • Active apostolic involvement during preparation and its corresponding processing

    • Daily community activities




A. PERSONAL AWARENESS RATING (Mid-Year Evaluation –PreNovitiate)

NAME: (Person being evaluated) ______________________

Formation Level: ___________________________________

Date: _______________________________



    1. just following the others

    2. unobtrusive

    3. has initiative, but needs backing

    4. dynamic, quickly coming out


    1. often wrong

    2. good, but not precise

    3. good, open

    4. very good, precise, delicate


    1. No

    2. very little

    3. Sufficient

    4. much


    1. negatively

    2. Vaguely

    3. rather positively

    4. very positively


    1. indecisive, not stable

    2. rather stable but unsteady

    3. balanced (normal)

    4. very balanced, steady


    1. inclined to routine

    2. with difficulty

    3. Easily

    4. very flexible, easily adapts himself


    1. Slovenly

    2. rather good

    3. polished or veneer

    4. Outstanding


    1. not good

    2. Mediocre

    3. Satisfying

    4. Very good


    1. little talent

    2. Mediocre

    3. learns and incorporates

    4. very easily learns and incorporates


    1. never present for them

    2. helps as far as he feels attracted

    3. quickly helps

    4. looking for occasions to help


    1. stiff, self-conscious

    2. Mediocre

    3. relates to certain small groups

    4. smoothly, joyfully relating


    1. looks for reasons to be absent

    2. often late or absent

    3. sometimes late

    4. always present


    1. he lies, unreliable inclined

    2. not to be straight-forward

    3. not considerate in his words

    4. often and honest


    1. he escapes if possible

    2. inclined to neglect

    3. serious

    4. joyfully involved


    1. does not give enough attention to it

    2. attention without spirit

    3. sufficient attention

    4. constantly working for it


    1. rejects authority

    2. authority opposed

    3. sometimes dialogues

    4. looks for open and honest dialogue


    1. no attention

    2. little attention

    3. attention

    4. honestly involved


    1. very weak

    2. works only to pass exams

    3. works diligently for self-development only

    4. works diligently and shares with others



B. YEAR-END EVALUATION (Annual Votatio-PreNovitiate)

Name: (Person being evaluated) ______________________
Formation level: ______________________
Date: ______________________

In spirit of prayer and fraternal love; and in order to help him to have an over-all picture of himself and also, to assist the formator in their task of forming him, I do hereby summarize my evaluation and/or recommendations as follows:


  1. What good qualities do I see him as a candidate in formation?

  2. In what ways do I feel could he still improve (Negative comments should be descriptive, not judgmental)


  1. I feel that he has the following strong points in his personality…

  2. I feel that he could still improve in the following aspects…


  1. How does his personality help in building up the community (e.g. improving the community spirit, witnessing, work, responsibility, initiative, dedication, etc.)

  2. Relationship with others: peer, group, authority, opposite sex, other people, etc.)…


  1. Good qualities I see him in the pursuit of knowledge…(academic excellence, initiative, study habits, skill development, etc.)

  2. In what ways do I feel he could still improve in his commitment to intellectual and professional growth


  1. Work and Responsibility: What are the qualities I see him in his commitment to the assigned task and responsibility

  2. In what ways could he still improve to develop more missionary spirit and service

Please encircle the letter of your choice and use the empty space in the form to state your reasons:

  1. That he is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to continue his vocation.

  2. That he is RECOMMENDABLE to continue his vocation.

  3. That I cannot resolve in my INDECISION as to whether he is recommendable or not to continue his vocation in the SVD.

    • reasons should be stated clearly (in this category, one is doubtful whether the person could still improve or not)

    • as much as possible, reason shall be descriptive, not judgmental

  4. That he is NOT RECOMMENDABLE to continue his vocation in the SVD

    • reasons should be clearly stated, supported by hard-facts

  5. I ABSTAIN from making any recommendations (reasons should be clearly stated)


C. ANNUAL VOTATIO FORMAT: Annual Votatio – Theological Formation

In the spirit of prayer and fraternal love, and in order to help BR._________________, SVD to have an overall picture of himself, and also, to assist formators intheir task of religious formation, I do hereby summarize my evaluation as follows:













  1. Recommended

  2. I have a serious doubts about his suitability to renew his vows

  3. Dismiss

  4. Abstain, I don’t know him well enough

Evaluator’s Signature: _______________ Date: ____________


B. WRITTEN SELF-EVALUATION (for Brothers in Temporary Vows)

1. Introduction
Example: In the spirit of prayer… …

2. Contents

5. Christian Identity

6. Human Maturity

7. Community Identity

8. Mission Identity

  1. Apostolate

  2. Academics

Note: The Junior Brother is expected to treat each comprehensively (one page short bond paper per topic according to his experiences)

3. Concrete Action Plan of Improvement for the subsequent years on formation, including a realistic timetable.

4. Conclusion



  1. What are the goals you set for yourself?

  2. Are these goals still valid in the light of present growth and situational realities?

  3. What factors (values, attitudes, possible goals change, feelings, etc.) are contributing to the completion or lack of completion of your goals?

  4. In what ways are these goals helping you to grow in the areas of personal maturity? Relationship to community? Relationship to Christ? And your religious missionary vocation?

  5. Which of your qualities are helping you to grow?

  6. What is holding you back and how are you dealing with these factors?

  7. Check for regularity of: Spiritual Direction, Confessions, Journal Writing, etc…




Person Evaluated: ______________________________________
Stage of Formation: ______________________________________
Reason for Evaluation: ______________________________________

Evaluating Community: ______________________________________
No. of Persons Evaluating: ______________________________________


  • has a deep confidence of being loved by God______________

  • has a grounding sense of trust and faith in God ____________

  • a sense of gratitude along with a deepening appreciation of one’s God-given vocation_____________

  • a sense of basic goodness and self-worth_____________

  • fidelity to vows___________

  • fidelity to community__________

  • a disposition of joy and hope____________

  • regularity in prayer and the Eucharist__________

  • integrates prayer in daily endeavors___________

  • uses spiritual direction, retreat, and recollection for his own growth_____

  • finds God in his works and relations_________

  • sees God’s loving hand in life’s paradox of blessings and sufferings______

  • shares his faith and religious convictions with others________





  • updated on doctrinal and spiritual issues__________

  • habitually seeks meaning from experiences___________

  • has depth and objectivity in his ideas and reflections___________

  • overly influenced by personal prejudices and biases_________

  • presumptuous in his thinking and beliefs_________

  • listens and recognizes truth in others_________

  • makes a habit of reviewing his thoughts and convictions__________

  • he reads and is mindful about what’s going on around him_________

  • engages in conversations re current issues_________

  • attends talks, seminars, community meetings and reflections for his continuing education_______

  • has professional competencies_________

  • possesses problem-solving skills_________

  • can make his own decision________

  • translates his ideas into useful contribution to others________

  • constructively critical about his own and others’ self-understanding______






  • recognizes the need to affirm and be affirmed__________

  • generally interested in people__________

  • comfortable with “small talk”___________

  • trusting, trustworthy, and well-liked_________

  • easily invests time and attention in relationships___________

  • comfortable in both being friendly and constructively critical to others__________

  • has sense of humor__________

  • sees the value of nourishing friendships to one’s growth__________

  • psychological blocks:

    1. easily overwhelmed by anger?________

    2. episodes of depression?_______

    3. deep hurt_________

  • too needy for personal recognition___________

  • capacity for both empathy and sympathy (caring)__________

  • able to receive expressions of love without being overwhelmed or embarrassed_______






  • driven by values_________>

  • he is more driven by personal needs__________

  • easily forgives and forgets the wrong done to him_________

  • evidently practices the “golden rule”________

  • sees the need for ongoing personal conversion_________

  • honest in small things_________

  • honest in big and more serious things_________

  • hampered by addictive behaviors:

    • Alcohol?______

    • Night life?_____

    • Needy exclusive relationships?______

    • Luxurious lifestyle_______

  • a sense of fairness, compassion, and justice_______

  • values basic goodness in himself as a person_________

  • committed to principle-centered living________

  • makes a habit of reviewing one’s values and commitments_________






  • can delay satisfaction of personal needs__________

  • inordinate attachment to material things__________

  • responsible in the use of money and community resources_________

  • is settled with the issue of declaring family inheritance_________

  • values availability to others________

  • able to work within one’s limits and resources_________

  • is content with basic necessities of life_________

  • able to make sacrifices for others_________






  • make’s time for building relationship inside and outside the community_______

  • his choice of entertainment, language, and expression of affection is consistent with religious lifestyle_______

  • maintains a healthy affective self___________

  • maintains close relationship with family and friends__________

  • able to share his true feelings with openness and confidence_________

  • relates to both sexes with ease and in appropriate manner_________

  • has weakness for needy exclusive friendships_______

  • capacity for intimacy to self and others_________

  • capacity for intimacy with God through prayer_______






  • is he free of authority hang-ups?________

  • has no difficulty in responding to the needs of the community_______

  • overly critical of superiors and of community_________

  • can understand and accept decisions that do not go with one’s expressed wishes_________

  • reliable and responsible in assigned tasks___________

  • able to express disagreement prudently without being overwhelmed by his emotions_________

  • has he a problem with anger?__________

  • openness to learn from peers as well as from younger fellows______

  • possesses skills and right attitude for dialogue_________

  • seeks God’s guidance in significant decisions_________






  • makes time for community prayer and recreation_________

  • offers as much constructive suggestions as criticisms for community building_________

  • easily finds a role identity in community _________

  • honors the role of community to one’s personal growth________

  • identifies himself with the values of the community________

  • participates in community involvements inside and outside_______

  • finds joy in religious community living________

  • respects confrere’s sensitivities by coming to community gatherings and meetings on time________

  • handles conflict through dialogue_______

  • escapes or isolates himself when conflicts arise_________

  • puts the interest of community first over one’s own_________






  • desirous of working in foreign mission________

  • effective work habits and ethics_________

  • has developed some proficient skills for specific ministries________

  • sees fidelity in God as basis for desiring to do ministry________

  • sees ministry as God’s gift________

  • has some experience and knowledge in promoting peace, justice, and active non-violence________

  • integrates his identity and personal charisms with the characteristic dimensions of the SVD_________

  • has a spirituality of compassion and care_______

  • has sufficient leadership skills and personal initiative_________

  • practices the values of diversity and collaboration_________

  • critically open to the truth of other faiths and persuasions and to the least-heard-off truth of the minorities and poor________






  • is he happy as a brother?_________

  • is he settled with the fact that to be a brother in this our kind of society, order, and culture is difficult?________

  • has he the self-confidence grounded in faith and a theological understanding that his vocation is God’s gift (a grace) that is unique to him?__________

  • appreciates the truth in the ‘one religious missionary vocation’ in the Arnoldus family__________

  • anti-cleric?_______Or, is he comfortable in their company?________

  • evidently finds meaning in the life and ministries of the SVD______

  • can stand confidently in the face of a non-affirming question that won’t go away – a question that often comes from one’s own family, friends, mentors, SVDs: Why be a brother and not a priest?__________

  • has the emotional strength to deal with the anger that comes, but often not owned, with non-affirming situations __________

  • finds meaning and strength in his own basic goodness as an individual and as a religious person__________

  • finds his identity in the evangelical counsels__________

  • centers his identity in Christ__________

  • practices the traditional brother “ora et labora” spirituality_______