This part of your Passionist journey is an informal time, which is usually done from your own home whilst you continue to study or work. During this time, you are encouraged to “come and see” one or more of our communities, in order that you might get to know us, and so that we can get to know you, too!
Upon completing a suitable amount of time as an aspirant, you may wish to explore this vocation in a deeper way, as a Postulant. This is a more formal period of your formation journey. During this time, you will spend 12–18 months living in our student community at Holy Cross Centre, Templestowe, Melbourne, studying theology and philosophy while continuing to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and Passionist life. You will be able to fully participate in the life of this community through daily prayer and mass, fellowship, and opportunities to engage in local ministry. Throughout this period, you will be accompanied by a formator, as well as a spiritual director who will both be able to help guide you through your discerning.
After completion of your Postulancy, both you and your formator will discern whether you wish to enter the Novitiate (currently located at The Monastery, Glen Osmond, Adelaide). This is considered a high point for many religious. It is a year spent in deeper prayer and contemplation, reflecting on and studying the Passionist Charism in a more dedicated way. You will be guided by your Novice Master and Vice Master, who will give classes on the Passionist Rule of Life, charism, and history. Particular attention is given to the three traditional vows, poverty, celibacy and obedience, as well as the fourth vow that is unique to Passionists. This vow asks us to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus in our minds and in our hearts, promoting it by our life and ministry.
After mutual discernment between yourself and your Novice Master, you may take temporary vows as a Passionist Brother at the end of this year, thus completing your Novitiate year.
You will then move back to our student community in Melbourne where you will continue your theological studies at Yarra Theological Union (YTU), Box Hill. YTU is a college of the University of Divinity, and the staff and student body are drawn from different religious communities and lay people, most of whom are training for ministry within one of the Christian traditions, particularly the Catholic Church. Those who wish to be ordained complete a Masters of Theological Studies. If you intend to minister as a Passionist Brother, will also complete theological studies, as well as other courses that relate to your chosen ministry.
During this time, you will also take part in pastoral opportunities, either locally, or elsewhere in the province. These may include, but certainly are not limited to: parish ministry, youth ministry, retreat work, catechetical ministry or adult faith formation. This will depend on your own strengths and areas of interest.
Perpetual (permanent) vows can be taken after three years of temporary vows, making you a fully-fledged member of the Congregation. Depending on what you and your formators have discerned by this time, you may feel the call to continue on to priestly ordination (which will take at least another year and a half), or begin ministry as a Passionist Brother.
While this is the end of your “initial formation” period, it is not the end of your formation journey. We, as a province, are strong believers in “life-long formation.” This means a life-long endeavour to integrate our spirituality, study, ministry, and emotional and physical wellbeing, within the context of a loving and supporting community of brothers.