The purpose of the formation process in the Movement is to discover the fullness of life, which has its source in the sacraments. It is a process during which a person grows to Christian maturity in a Christian community. To be a mature Christian means to act like a Christian in each and every situation and to win other people to Christ. No one is born Christian, each of us is continually becoming a Christian. The deuterocatechumenal formation program of the Light-Life Movement has been developed on the basis of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
The purpose of the deuterocatechumenal formation is to teach people who participate in the formation program the new way of living that is characteristic of mature Christians. It is not only about gaining theoretical knowledge about the right attitude about life but also about enacting it everyday. In the catechumenal tradition, six principles were taken into account:
- Living according to the Word of God;
- Living in a Christian community;
- Bearing witness to other people;
- Participation in sacramental liturgies;
- Continual conversion through inner transformation.
The deuterocatechumenal formation in the Light-Life Movement lasts genelarrly about three years but it can take longer if necessary.
Earlier, before making the decision to follow Jesus in a deuterocatechumenal community of his disciples, candidates learn about the six aspects characteristic of mature Christians beginning with the fifth day of the NLO1 (cf. the purposes of the deuterocatechumenate).
After the retreat is over, the formation process continues for the next ten months. Members meet in small groups for eleven Scripture-based discussions, with the purpose of reinforcing and deepening the teachings of the NLO1. This lasts usually from September to Advent (if the NLO1 retreat took part in July or August). After that the members become acquainted with and reflect upon “The Ten Steps Toward Christian Maturity” or, in other words, “The Guideposts of the New Person.” This lasts from the first Sunday of Advent to Pentecost. These summarize in 10 points the principles of Christian life and at the same time constitute a set formation program.
The second year of the deuterocatechumenal formation focuses on encountering Jesus Christ in the liturgy and sacraments. It begins with the New Life Oasis retreat oif the second level. The retreat is marked by a distinct liturgical and sacramental initiation program based on the events described in the Book of Exodus. The formation process continues for the next 10 months. The small group members participate in eleven Bible study meetings, with the aim of reinforcing and deepening the teachings of the NLO2. The purpose of the meetings is to present the entire salvation history as described in the Scriptures. This stage lasts for three months. After that the members participate in Bible and liturgy study meetings, which draw on the readings of the respective Sundays. The aim of these meetings is to introduce the group members into the way of life defined by the Paschal Mystery, which is celebrated during the liturgical year. This stage should start with Advent at the latest and end with Lent.
The most important event in the second year is the participation in a retreat during the Paschal Triduum. The retreat is characterized by a solemn renewal of the baptismal covenant on the part of the members. The Lenten period plays a major role as it prepares the members for this event in a spiritual sense. According to RCIA, Lent should be a time during which the catechumens are prepared to receive the sacrament of Baptism. On the first Sunday of Lent, the Rite of Election is celebrated. In RCIA, Lent is considered the period of purification and enlightenment and special services are held then.
The second year of the deuterocatechumenate ends with the Paschal Triduum. What follows is the next stage of the formation process, which is called mystagogy in the history of the catechumenate. The deuterocatechumenate shares this term with RCIA. In RCIA the members who had received the sacraments of Baptism during the Easter Vigil were taught about the meaning of the liturgical rites and became part of a specific Christian community through the participation in special catechesis, the liturgies, and through meditation on the Gospel. Those who have completed the deuterocatechumenate and once were inactive members of the Catholic Church, are now called to be the Church’s living cells that would feel responsible for the Church to a certain extent. This is why they are invited to attend courses for Oasis group leaders (animators), which would prepare them for that kind of ministry.
The third year of the formation program focuses on encountering Christ in the community of the Church. Those who participate in the formation deepen their understanding of the mystery of the Church and recognize its many different aspects. The purpose of this stage is to (1) discover one’s place in the Church, i.e. to discern their vocation and charism; and (2) undertake responsibility for the Church by choosing a particular ministry called diakonia – in accordance with one’s vocation and charism.
The third year of the formation process formally begins with Easter. However, practically speaking, this period begins with the New Life Oasis retreat of the third level, which is organized in the summer time. The program of this retreat is built around the mystery of the Holy Mother Church (Ecclesia Mater) and Mother of the Church (Mater Ecclesiae).
The formation process continues for another year. Movement members meet in small groups to reinforce and deepen the teachings of the NLO3. First they discuss eleven topics which aim at deepening their ecclesial awareness. This stage lasts for three months. After that, from Advent to Pentecost, they use the see-judge-act method during meetings according to the program “Charism – vocation – ministry” which leads them to taking up service in the Church in accordance with the vocation and the charism they received from God. It might be advisable to attend a Charismatic Renewal Seminar at this stage of formation.
The members of the Movement can also take part in various kinds of formation retreats and courses throughout the year which help them in choosing a proper diakonia (there are courses and retreats for animators as well as retreats for those involved in music, liturgical, prayer or other kinds of ministries). The climax of the formation process is the reception of a mission as an animator and the benediction granted to new animators during the Pentecost Triduum. This is the moment of their initiation into Church ministry and taking responsibility for a certain field in their local parish.