All Jesuits of the Conference of South Asia
15 Nov, 2019 POSA Circular 2019/06
Dear Friends in the Lord,
Greetings of Peace! This circular brings you the responses of JCSA to the long process of REGAE II.
- GRATITUDE FOR THE JOURNEY TRAVELLED
JCSA said in 2014 at Phesama: “We call upon every member of the South Asian Assistancy to enter upon a process of Ignatian discernment to take up frontier missions with ‘commitment, competency and collaboration’. We want to launch structural planning, at the Province and the Conference levels, keeping in mind the need to optimize our human and material resources. … We are impelled to let go ‘even successful models, structures and attachments’ (personal and institutional) which block us from searching the magis of more interior freedom for greater and more universal availability…”
(Phesama Statement, 2014)
We are grateful to the Lord who has guided us through this long journey. The spirit of Phesama Statement led us to spiritual animation process (SAP) where more than two thirds of our men engaged their ‘hearts’ to recognize their attachments and imbibe more universal perspectives. On the basis of the Interim Report submitted to JCSA at Jabalpur in 2017, following the advice of Fr. General, a second phase was launched; this time renamed as ‘Re-orientation for Greater Apostolic Effectiveness’ (REGAEII). In sixty one Zonal Programmes, 2468 Jesuits were engaged in a process of discernment, through spiritual conversation. The outcome of their discernment was further discerned by a group of forty-seven delegates chosen from the Provinces/Regions, at a special workshop in Bangalore (August, 2019). They felt: “Re-drawing of boundaries in our hearts has begun. A critical mass of Jesuits has now been prepared. … The Lord is confirming the REGAEII process, take it forward; the Assistancy is praying for you, with you”
- RESPONDING TO REGAE II
At JCSA-Ranchi (October 2019), the outcome of REGAE II was discussed and discerned by the Major Superiors, in an atmosphere of prayer and spiritual conversation. We were much consoled in confirming and advancing the statements of REGAE II. We appreciate and are grateful to all those who have contributed to the success of this programme
Trusting the ‘special grace’ that we received at JCSA-Phesama, we launched the restructuring process. We were affirmed by the Spirit in REGAEII process who led us through the rediscovery of the ‘spiritual conversation’ as a significant spiritual tool; we propose to implement the following findings of REGAE II:
- THE CONFERENCE APOSTOLIC PREFERENCES
- Foster Peace and Reconciliation
- To work towards peace and reconciliation at all levels of the society.
- To expose endemic violence and hatred propagated by vested interests.
- To rediscover strategies for non-violent conflict resolution.
- Ensure Quality Education in accordance with the Jesuit Tradition
- To ensure quality education, especially for the poor and marginalized.
- To cultivate qualities of justice, peace and concern for the other, especially for culturally, socially different others and good governance at all levels.
- To protect and promote the dignity of every person and community, irrespective of caste or creed.
- Promote Ecology and Justice
- To care for the earth, our common home;
- To protect the environment from pollution and disasters;
- To evolve and live a model of development that is sustainable.
- Encourage Ignatian Spirituality
- To live the Ignatian charism of finding God in all things;
- To articulate Ignatian dynamics of a laboring God in our cultures and traditions;
- To promote Ignatian indifference and magis in response to a culture of consumerism.
- Accompany Youth
- To walk with the youth in their search for truth and meaning;
- To be with the youth in their struggles and joys;
- To learn from the youth of their aspirations and hope.
- ROLES AND FUNCTIONS OF JCSA
JCSA will exercise ‘collective responsibility’ in the following roles:
- Inter-provincial, inter-zonal networking and collaboration and sharing of resources.
- Ensure provincials make men available for common works of the Society.
- Strategize and implement UAPs and Conference Preferences at all levels and Common Missions.
- RESTRUCTURING OF SECRETARIATS
JCSA has agreed to restructure the Secretariats as follows:
- There will be four Secretariats related to the apostolic sectors of the Conference; they will be called Conference Apostolic Secretariats.
- There will be two Administrative Secretariats.
- The Province Apostolic Commissions should mirror the four Conference Secretariats with flexibility. Provinces and Regions, based on their local context, will have flexibility to implement this process of restructuring.
- Other Conference Apostolic Secretariats will function as “desks” under a Conference Apostolic Secretariat.
- In consultation with the future Secretaries and other experienced persons the roles and responsibilities of the Apostolic Secretaries and the “Desks” will be further elaborated.
- ZONAL APOSTOLIC PREFERENCES
The four Zonal Conferences agreed that the following will become Zonal Apostolic Preferences.
- Migration and Displacement
- Lay Collaboration
- REDRAWING OF PROVINCE BOUNDARIES
The Zonal Chairs will initiate discussions with the Zonal Provincial teams to make proposals for their zones.
- RESTRUCTURING PROVINCE WORKS (APOSTOLATES)
Restructuring of Province Works, undertaken by the Major Superiors, should be preceded by an audit of these works, using the criteria given by Fr Adolfo Nicholas ( 2011/16, 27th September).
- LOOKING FORWARD
JCSA reflected also on the need to foster Apostolic Planning and take forward the fruits of REGAE II. The emphasis was on the process of Apostolic Planning at the Province/Region level. The following decisions were taken.
- By August 2020, all Provinces/Regions will have Apostolic Plans aligned to UAPs.
- A person should be appointed to be in-charge of Apostolic Planning in the Province/Region.
- The Major Superiors will be responsible to coordinate and align the Province plans with that of the Conference Apostolic Preferences.
- At the Zonal level, collaboration with Secretariats and on emerging issues will continue as before.
With this letter we are bringing to a closure the long REGAE process that was initiated in October 2014, at Phesama. Among others, I believe, there are THREE main fruits of REGAE;
i) The practice of Spiritual Conversation is beginning to be a game-changer among us. Our community meetings and apostolic board meetings are experiencing new energy and zeal.
ii) The Zonal structures are acquiring more significance and relevance; they are invited to discuss and advance the issues of Province/Region boundaries and more apostolic collaboration.
iii) The sense of the Conference as a Body is growing and finding a resonance among us.
A closure is NOT the end, but bringing to a point of a new departure. After REGAE, we might say that Jesuits of South Asia are different. With intentional speaking and active listening, we are a little more at home with each other as companions; we are gradually prepared to cross the boundaries when needed. I am sure that The Lord will bring to fruition what He began with us: Let us be assured of Him walking with us.
George Pattery, SJ
President, Jesuit Conference of South Asia
The author is the former Provincial of Calcutta Province and former President of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (POSA).