The first JCSA meeting of the year was held online from 20th to 25th February 2022.
Fr General addressed the Major Superiors of the Conference online. In his address, he stressed the importance of integration of the provincial identity with that of the corporate identity of the Society. He pressed for the need of training of formators. The other areas he touched upon were, the process of granting final vows, prompt communication, restructuring, collaboration and networking in ministries, the celebration of the Ignatian Year, prayerful reflection on the vow of poverty, vocation promotion, and community life. He also asked the Major Superiors to focus on the issues arising of the National Education Policy (NEP), respond to persecutions of Christians in South Asia, ensure continuity of plans and give special attention to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
The main focus of the JCSA meeting was the Jesuit Social Action Ministry in South Asia. A team consisting of Fr Anthony Dias, Fr Denzil Fernandes, Fr Vincent Ekka and Fr Alwyn D’Souza presented the status report of Social Action in South Asia, the impact of the mission of Bagaicha and the perceptions of the scholastics towards the social action ministry. Other speakers included Fr Xavier Jeyaraj who spoke on the global perspective, Fr Walter Fernandes on the socio-eco-political context. Fr Joe Xavier presented a historical overview of Social Action in South Asia. Dr Vaishali Patil and Mr Basil Ekka, two of our lay associates, joined for a panel discussion and shared their perspectives on the Jesuit Social Action ministry.
The Major Superiors deliberated on proposals to make the Social Action ministry effective in and through a process of prayer and spiritual conversation. Besides decisions to strengthen social ministry in South Asia, the JCSA also drafted a Statement on Social Action and set in motion the preparation of ‘Criteria and Guidelines for Jesuit Social Apostolate in South Asia’. The Statement will be sent by the POSA to all Jesuits and collaborators.
The Regional Assistants Fr Vernon and Fr M.K. George explained matters regarding governance and norms for official correspondence with Rome.
Although the meeting was online, it was a profound spiritual experience, having prayers, spiritual conversations, examination of conscience, discernment and insightful presentations.
Shajumon Chakkalakkal, SJ