A welcoming community
Unknown to many, tucked away in a little-known corner of Melbourne’s east is a community of Redemptorist priests and brothers.
The Formation House in suburban Kew is the largest Redemptorist community in the Oceania Province that includes Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and China. As well as the finally professed priests, there are students who are studying at Yarra Theological Union (YTU) and the English Language for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) in Box Hill.
The students hail from various countries and the community, under the care of the Oceania Province, is an international centre for advanced theological studies in the Asia-Oceania Conference.
Fr Sam Kono CSsR, who’s in charge of the students, said the community caters for the Redemptorists’ wider mission. “In this understanding then the Kew Formation House is an important place for the Redemptorists because it nurtures the spirit of collaboration for mission among the Redemptorists in the future around the conference and across the world,” he said.
“We develop what we call one-on-one formation approach which aims to deepen the five dimensions of formation (spiritual, academic, human, community and pastoral) in each individual.
“We observe freedom that comes with responsibility and helps promote human maturity. We believe that each student has unique strengths and talents, different perspectives and needs, rich thoughts and gestures towards life based on their personality and cultural background.
“By working with and attending to that uniqueness and differences, we strive to continue to create a family based on the spirit of brotherhood in the community and nurture our call as Redemptorists.”
Students are encouraged to pursue self-discovery and true relationships with the people and the world in which they live. “Seeing themselves as a larger entity in life is our goal for them because it enables them to view the world with courage and gratitude, open-minded and a compassionate spirit,” said Fr Sam.
“We do prayers, sports, studies, weekend pastoral work, volunteering and recreations. We manage our duties around the community, and we enjoy the differences as they open up to creativities and welcoming attitudes.
“Sometimes disagreements occur as it happens in every family, but we value disagreement as a sign of growth in life. We often encourage each other to express our own feelings and views as we know that learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, welcoming and working with new students can be challenging at times.
“However, we know that in giving out our very best and be willing to share with one another what we have or capable of sharing, bounded by faith and the call we have in common as Redemptorists.”
Fr Sam said the community would appreciate peoples’ prayers, especially for the students as they continue to “enrich themselves with studies and formation of the mission”.
“Formation into community life is an essential part of our lifestyle. Without community life, we have no sight of growing our vocation as Redemptorists, as we believe that the presence of others are the gifts for growth for us as persons and the light of companionship for us in the mission.”
Sam Kono CSsR is the Prefect of Students at the Kew Formation House.
Middle image: Students preparing for a prayer service.
Bottom image: Students and friends involved in a multi-cultural activity.
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