UP CLOSE with … Michel Boniface, coordinator of ‘Formation à la vie chretienne’

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UP CLOSE with … Michel Boniface, coordinator of ‘Formation à la vie chretienne’

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:03 pm

UP CLOSE with … Michel Boniface, coordinator of ‘Formation à la vie chretienne’

‘If you live your faith to the hilt, your life will be fulfilling’

Michel BonifaceTraditionally believers of the Christian faith go to church and follow the religious rituals because their elders have been doing it for generations before them so it is normal to continue doing so. But how many are really and truly living their faith? How many whose faith go as deep as the religious rituals or are just doing completely the opposite of what they should?
It is for this reason that the programme ‘Formation à la vie chretienne’ was introduced here in 2005.
For two years a trainer from neighbouring Mauritius trained a group of animators to lead the programme here. After being part of the group who was trained, Michel Boniface has been the coordinator of the programme since then.
Last week I caught up with him as he led refurbishment works on a meeting hall for him to lead the training programme.
Before that Michel Boniface was already working with the Diocese coordinating and leading another training programme for young adults called Group 40.

Importance of a good and strong spiritual and Christian family life programme
The aim of the programme is to help people rediscover their faith and to review the way they live their lives, relook in a profound, in depth and heartfelt manner at the relationship which they have with family members, their social interactions with other people.
“Formation à la vie chretienne has three fundamental aspects: as a Christian how you need to live your life and testify your faith in Jesus Christ; as a baptised Christian how you live and maintain a good, healthy and true relationship with other people; as a Christian the responsibility you have and the type of relationship you maintain with your environment and the world is crucial,” Mr Boniface explained.
“Many people go to church and follow all the religious rituals as a habit and just for the sake of following a tradition which their elders before them have and it does not go deeper than that. But Formation à la vie chretienne has helped a lot of believers in the Christian faith to turn their lives and relationships around in a positive manner,” Mr Boniface affirmed.
“In order to live a fulfilled, satisfying and happy family life in harmony with nature while maintaining a good relationship with other people of different faiths, it is important for people to rediscover themselves,” Mr Boniface stressed.
Following the two-year training of trainers, Formation à la vie chrétienne was launched officially in 2007 and since then Mr Boniface has been its coordinator until today.
Mr Boniface has gathered a wealth of experience after having followed several previous similar training for trainers both locally and internationally to boost his skills in becoming a better trainer.
Before joining the Catholic Diocese Mr Boniface was a police officer for 15 years and had reached the rank of inspector when he left in 1979 to do a spell in the hotel industry soon after working as night manager and security controller at Beau Vallon Bay for another 10 years before joining the Diocese.
“I always had in me this innermost desire to bring the words of the Lord to the people. I was always close to the church and involved in activities of the Diocese and I was passionate about reading the Bible and as a police officer I used it as the basis for my inquiries. I always used word from the Bible to convince offenders to speak the truth and to reflect on the offences they have committed,” Mr Boniface recalled.
He said he also has in him this need to help and lead others in whatever way possible. As a person who had a wealth of experience managing hotel security, Mr Boniface recalled that he left Beau Vallon Bay a year before the Plantation Club Hotel opened in the early 90s. For a year he trained security personnel in preparation for the opening of the hotel and stayed on for another six months after the hotel had opened.
In his parish, Baie Lazare, Mr Boniface has since the early 80s been actively involved in church life, setting up first a youth group which was to be followed by different other movements all in which he had given a helping hand.

‘Formation à la vie chretienne’ has changed the lives of many believers
Since it started here in 2007, Formation à la vie chretienne has transformed the lives of a few thousand people. But Mr Boniface admits that the number of men who come forward to follow the programme is limited compared to the number of women.
“Most of the time it is the women who come forward seeking to access the programme for themselves and members of their families. They are the ones who most often want to see improvements in their family life and their relationships. But more recently we are seeing couples coming to follow the programme together and we have seen a whole family come together as well and I believe this is a good sign for the future,” Mr Boniface stated.
He expressed the hope that more people, especially couples, could come to follow the programme together so they could rediscover themselves together so they can better understand and improve their relationships and their lives.
“I am happy to note that so far everyone who have followed Formation à la vie chretienne have seen improvements in their lives and relationships and those who have completed the programme are encouraging others to come forward and follow as well. They find it fulfilling after they had improved their behaviour, changed their attitude and the way they look at things, that they better understand other people’s feelings, they listen more to others and they have changed for the better from the way they had been living their lives. They have also adopted a more positive attitude.
“The benefits are first and foremost personal for the person who now has a better understanding of his or her innermost and genuine way of living life in Christ, better understanding of things, how to compromise, communicate and interact with others,” Mr Boniface explained.
In 2014 to mark the 10th anniversary of the programme here, a large gathering of all those who have followed took place in the grounds of the Domus and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception before culminating in a religious service.
Dressed in bright colour T-shirts with the motto of the programme ‘Redekouver ou Lafwa…Reisir ou Lavi avek Zezi Kri’ the crowd were proud of the positive transformation that has taken place in their lives and they expressed their joy.

Happy and fulfilling family life in Christ
Now aged 71 years old, Mr Boniface -- a father of eight grown up children -- is still passionate about and eager to reach out to as many people who feel they need to make a transformation in their lives to save their families and relationships.
“I still feel I have the energy, the strength and the desire to commit myself to continuing to help bring understanding and more love in families and relationships. And as long as God gives me the strength, I am willing to continue,” Mr Boniface said.
Married for almost 50 years, Mr Boniface now lives alone with his wife and a grandchild as all the grown up children have left home.
“I am happy with my life and I can assure you that if you live your faith, you make Jesus part of whatever you do, your life will be fulfilling, you will be willing to share and spread the words of the Lord around you and be eager to help others and bring some joy and solidarity to them as well. This is how I feel,” said Mr Boniface.
Mr Boniface said most of his time is spent doing something related to the programme Formation à la vie chretienne or helping out at the parish. But most importantly he spends quality time with his wife. Something which he says is extremely important for a healthy relationship and family life.
“Dialogue is extremely important. Couples need to make time for each other to talk, to listen to each other to make their relation grow. No matter what you believe in, it is important to understand yourself and others around you and make time for others,” he stressed.
He also does a lot around the house like cooking and gardening.
“I enjoy doing some gardening and grow most of the things we consume as well as some gro manze which I love very much,” Mr Boniface said.
He is not much for television except watching the news, some documentaries and an occasional detective film. He is of the view that if people understand and listen to each other, make time for others, be more positive in their attitude and in the way they look at things and do things, the world would be a better place for everyone.
(The accompanying photographs show some highlights of the activities organised to mark the 10th anniversary of the programme here in 2014).



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