Before he completes his studies and professes perpetual vows, an SVD in temporary vows experiences missionary life through the Cross-cultural Training Program (CTP). The program lasts from one to three years. Under the supervision of an on-site SVD priest or brother, the candidate lives with and ministers to the needs of people in a new culture and experiences new foods and customs. The end result can be an answer to one of his deepest and most personal discernment questions, “Can I do this?”
An SVD typically enters CTP one or two years after professing First Vows. Meeting with his formator, he settles on three or four locations and contacts the SVD provincial in each area, asking if the provincial would consider hosting him. An agreement is worked out with each provincial, which outlines what is expected from an SVD on mission in his province. This process to narrow down and arrive at a final location takes about a year.
CTP is considered one of the most effective programs to prepare new Divine Word Missionaries for life in different countries and cultures and is pivotal in a young man’s formation. It not only immerses him in ministry among the people of a different country and culture, but it greatly expands his life experience by moving him from theoretical studies and into the real world. It also serves as a critical point in his discernment to religious life as a Divine Word Missionary and member of the Society of the Divine Word. It helps him to decide if missionary life is his answer to God’s call.