“Having wings to fly across South Asia”

By Donald Miranda, Provincial of Patna

For the first time, the Major Superiors of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA) met online. The experience showed that, rooted in our offices, we could be at the same time having wings to fly across the Assistancy to different Provinces in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, even Rome.

The meeting began on the morning of 26 October with the usual fraternal bonhomie among the Provincials. Except, this time, instead of the usual back-slapping we had the waving of hands, strange looking “virtual” faces staring back on the screen, and even stranger backgrounds - lovely, colourful drapes and curtains, bookshelves, coffee-tables, air conditioners, etc. Some backgrounds had the sombre and holy pictures of our founder St. Ignatius and our Blessed Mother, to remind us of the seriousness of our online engagement.

After the initial welcome, online guidelines for the proceedings from the Socius, Fr. Keith Abranches, and the opening prayer, we got down to business. The new President of the Conference, Fr. J. Stanislaus D’Souza, gave the Action Taken Report (ATR) since the last JCSA in Kathmandu, Nepal. The rest of the morning was taken up with the mapping of Common Works / Personnel Presentation, and its implications for Conference Apostolic Planning, done very professionally and effectively by Fr. Siji Chacko, the Conference Development Director.

From Rome, Fr. General’s “5G, battery-powered” presentation (to use his own words) on vocation promotion and desired actions, followed by interactions with the JCSA, and a brief update on “solidarity in formation”, was seamless and engaging. Except, due to the vagaries of technology in some parts of India, the moderator went offline - some glitch in connectivity. The Socius came to his quick rescue, and the conversation between Fr. General and JCSA had a very fruitful conclusion.

2020-11-05_jcsa_zoom

The morning session of the second day was engaged in discussing the implications of the New Education Policy (NEP) for India, and JCSA’s engagement with JRS Afghanistan. The resource persons for the former were Frs. Sunny Jacob and Joye James, while Frs. Tom Smolich and Louie Albert reminded us of our commitments to Afghanistan. The second half of the day consisted in discussions in Zonal Groups, mainly about personnel for Common Works, the Brothers’ Ignatian Year Meeting in Rome, and matters arising from the morning discussions.

We begun day three with small group discussions on the conversation with Fr. General and the issues he had risen. We also talked about COVID 19 challenges and the Ignatian Year in 2021. The concerns within the Assistancy on the migration issue and ignatian leadership engaged the Provincials during the rest of the day. Valuable inputs on migration were made by Fr. Joseph Xavier, and on ignatian leadership by Fr. Joe Arun. The mixed group discussions on both these issues were most helpful.

The plenary sessions on the morning of day four were a fruitful distillation of the small group conversations of the previous three days. The evening session included a brief farewell ceremony for Fr. George Pattery, the outgoing President, finalizing of the decisions taken at the JCSA and a review of the entire meeting. The new President concluded with a vote of thanks, with the hope that we would be able to meet in person by the time of the next JCSA, February-end 2021.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles public relations.

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