Jose Parappully, Director of Sumedha Centre, facilitated a four-day work shop (September 19-22, 2012) at Don Bosco Renewal Centre,
on the theme “Midlife Dynamics and Psychosexual
This workshop was part of a six-week long Salesian Renewal Course (somewhat ambitiously termed “Second Novitiate”) that has been organised by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia. All Salesians in
Asia within 15-20 years after Perpetual Profession are to attend
these renewal programme that will be held every year.
This inaugural programme had 26 Salesians from 11 different Salesian Provinces of
. Forty eight had been
Parappully presented how men and women in the midlife years experience gradually, and sometimes dramatically, discontent with how things are and desire something more in life. He described the various midlife dynamics, especially a re-awakening of sexuality and intimacy needs and how these can be integrated into one’s celibate commitment. He presented the major challenge in the second half of life for religious committed to the celibate way of life as moving away from the pressure of personal accomplishments based on self-reliance and self-sufficiency to deepening of one’s spiritual life and cultivating a more intimate relationship with God.
The participants found the workshop immensely useful for them at this time in their life. In fact, one suggested that “every Salesian at this period of their life should attend a programme like this. It will really improve our religious and community life.”
One of the things that the participants especially appreciated is the atmosphere created during the workshop that enabled them to share freely about sexuality and intimacy. As one 43-year-old priest disclosed, “This is the first time in my life that I have ever spoken to anyone on these topics. It has been very liberating.”
Many participants remarked that the workshop has given them a lot more of knowledge and awareness about midlife dynamics, sexuality and intimacy that has helped them to understand themselves and others, and which will also help improve their inter-personal relationships and their ministerial effectiveness.