The 59th plenary meeting of major superiors of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) took place between the 21st and the 23rd of October 2019 in Douala – Cameroon. All statutory members were present including the nine major superiors of provinces and regions across Africa and Madagascar, the JCAM President and his Socius, as well as the Assistant for Africa in Rome. Also present was Fr. Antonio “Tony” Moreno SJ, the President of Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP), and the in-coming provincial of West Africa Province, Fr. Mathieu Ndomba.
It was the last time for the host provincial Fr. Hyacinthe Loua SJ to participate in the meeting in his capacity as provincial of West Africa Province, and he received a heartfelt farewell from the assembly. A special welcome was given to his successor Fr. Mathieu Ndomba SJ, who will begin his tenure as provincial of West Africa Province in January.
JCAM plenary is a time for provincials to take stock and pray together
The JCAM plenary is always a time for provincials to take stock, pray together and put things into perspective. The first day was entirely dedicated to prayer, spiritual conversations and sharing. Some of the topics of conversation were responses to specific questions asked by Fr. General, to which provinces and conferences needed to give answers.
The next two days were dedicated to business and a major worry for provincials is the political situation in Zimbabwe. Coming at the heels of Cyclone Idai, it preoccupies not only because of the economic and political woes of the country, but also because the biggest Jesuit community across the Conference is in Harare. Companions have to face the brutal energy and water crisis while keeping pristine the tenets of Jesuit formation. All this stands in a balance when one considers that any help that the formation house receives must not give the appearance of gentrification, vis-à-vis the local Zimbabwean community.
On the minds of provincials, also, was the tertianship programme in South Africa. As it begins its second year, the challenges of immigration have not subsided. However, the team in South Africa received praise for the way things have gone so far, but also because a new facility has been purchased in Zinkwazi, Durban and it will be purpose fitted in time for the third intake in 2020.
JCAM Formation Assembly to hold in December in Nairobi
All was not fret and trouble as the formation centres were praised for showing the way forward as they are currently engaged in a process of reflection on the Universal Apostolic Preferences in keeping with Father Arturo Sosa’s letter of the 21st of April 2019. In the same vein, an update on the JCAM Formation Assembly to hold in December in Nairobi was given, and provincials agreed to encourage those chosen to participate to be deeply involved. It is hoped that in line with Fr. General’s orientations on the UAPs this event will proceed in a spiritual atmosphere and provide a roadmap for formation for the future in the Conference. The Child Protection and Safeguarding programme also received applauds from provincials as it has continued to register significant progress. Provincials resolved to deepen their commitment to promote a culture of protection within works and communities and continue to strengthen safeguarding mechanisms in provinces and regions.
On other matters, there is a new look at Africama House as the building has reached practical completion and the process of habitation is ongoing. Fr. Paul Hamill, SJ and his team were congratulated for the dedication in accomplishing this work.
The next plenary will hold in April 2020 in Johannesburg
As they returned to their challenging responsibilities, members expressed profound gratitude for the presence of JCAP President Fr. Tony Moreno as a concrete instance of collaboration between JCAP and JCAM. He was commended for the personal care for Jesuits from JCAM missioned to JCAP formation houses. It was also agreed to continue strengthening ongoing collaboration between the conferences of JCAM and JCAP.
The next plenary will hold in April 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa and it will be a strong moment of collaboration as it will coincide with the assembly of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials. Wamukelekile to all the provincials.
From JCAM website