The JCSA Socii meeting, which was scheduled for July 2020 but postponed because of COVID-19, took place after three years on 7 – 9 July 2023 in Ashirvad, Bengaluru. Except Fr. Devadoss M. (MDU) who could not make it due to his illness, 22 Socii of JCSA participated in the meet.
The meeting began with a prayer by Fr. Raymond Kerketta (RAN). Fr. Dionysius G. L. Vaz (KAR), the hosting Provincial, welcomed all, thanking the Socii for all they do. He honoured Fr. Antoine Kerhuel, Secretary of the Society and Fr. Stanislaus D’Souza, POSA and went on to highlight the history and the ministries of KAR Province.
The POSA, in his inaugural address, listed 15-points considered as best practices regarding the Socius and his role. Fr. Antoine K., engaging all participants in four full sessions, enlightened them with his wisdom in the area of governance in the Society, and answered the questions from participants regarding their role as admonitor, maintaining archives, organising catalogues, final vows, Houses and Works, letters to Rome etc.
In three different groups (zonal and mixed) the Socii shared their views on (i) being a Socius: consolations and desolations, (ii) office of the Socius: the best practices of the Provinces and (iii) practical matters related to the office of the Socius, familiarizing with Practica Quaedam, preparing the Catalogue, Archives etc.
Fr. Trevor Miranda (BOM) moderated the plenary session at which the groups shared their reports. Doubts about Zonal Catalogues by the Coordinators and meeting of Archivists were clarified.
The forum decided to have the Socii Meet every year for two days on the second Saturday and Sunday of September, hoping that the climate at that time will be conducive anywhere in South Asia. During this two-day meeting, half a day could be allotted for Zonal level deliberations. The next meeting will be hosted by Goa Province, on the theme ‘Documenting the Historical Aspects of our Missions’.
Fr. Arun Luis, Superior, Ashirvad, shared his views on the State Assembly elections in Karnataka. At the final evaluation, the Meet gratefully highlighted the inspiring presence of Fr. Antoine K, Secretary of the Society, the hospitality of the Ashirvad community and meticulous planning and implementation by Fr. Shajumon Chakkalakkal, Socius to POSA and Fr. Joseph Antony D’Mello (KAR). It suggested to the JCSA to provide the Socii with ‘Guidelines for the Admonitors on Constitutional matters’ in consultation with the Regional Assistants.