The 2018 ASCLA Meeting about the Brothers was attended by 5 Prefects of Formation (4 of whom are priests) of the Philippine Province and the Delegations of East Asia, Indonesia-Timor Leste, Korea and Sri Lanka, 4 perpetually professed brothers (1 of whom is a Prefect of Formation) and 3 brothers in formation. We held our meeting in the different formation houses of the Dependent Delegation of Sri Lanka – St. Claret Seminary, Kattuwa, Negombo; Casa St. Claret, Kurunegala; and Claret Nivas, Kandy – according to a proposal made during the 2015 ASCLA-East Meeting about the brothers in Muntilan, Indonesia, in February 2015 to conduct this encounter in the different formation houses of the host organism.
In all our reflection, discussion and interaction during the entire course of the meeting, we, the participants of this meeting – Fr. Royestan J. Peiris Pulle CMF, Br. Rojes Alve CMF (from the Dependent Delegation of Sri Lanka), Fr. Anthony Carreon CMF, Br. Joseph Roy Villarin CMF (from the Philippine Province), Br. Desiderio Ching CMF (from East Asia Independent Delegation), Fr. Peter Lee CMF (from the Independent Delegation of Korea), Fr. Nikolaus Ilan CMF, Br. Paulinus Besin Manek CMF, Br. Hieronimus Martyadin Ngampu CMF, Br. Edvan Andreas Ruu CMF, and Br. Francisco da Costa CMF (from the Independent Delegation of Indonesia-Timor Leste), uphold that we share the same Claretian vocation and identity. We live in a differentiated reality of priest, brother, deacon or student but received the same apostolic missionary gift. We make the same profession, enjoy the same rights and duties, belong to the same community, share the same mission in accordance with our own gift and with the special role we perform in the Congregation and in the Church. We acknowledge that it is from this vocation as a missionary that the Claretian brother draws his identity, and not from his ministries, talents and capacities, or the lack thereof. We affirm that what gives meaning to the vocation and consecration of a brother is not a question of task but of identity.
We recognize that within our Congregation we treat each other equally and that brothers are given the same recognition, respect and love as the priests, but the vocation to the brotherhood is not yet well appreciated in the Asian countries that comprise the ASCLA. In these countries, priests are put on a pedestal and are given very high regard, and this view so ingrained in the mind-set, culture and language, thus a bias towards priesthood and priestly formation is inevitable. It is for this reason that families and people who are close to the brothers or to those who want to become brothers lack the appreciation and understanding of the brother’s vocation. We acknowledge that our formation programs are not free of this bias and predisposition as well since these programs have been patterned mostly from the traditional seminary formation of the different regions where our formation houses are. Though not intentional on the part of the Claretian Missionaries in the ministry of leadership and formation, as most of them are clerics, our formation programs took on a more clerical orientation. Despite this, our formation from the very beginning has always been instilled with Claretian, missionary, religious and apostolic spirituality and charism.