The month of April 2020 was to host a historic event, the first joint meeting of the Jesuit Conferences of Europe-Near East (JCEP) with Africa-Madagascar (JCAM). But instead the historic event was the first online assembly of provincials in Europe. The JCEP Provincials are missing the opportunity to meet their African confreres, and they send their best wishes in these difficult times. Their meeting point now for all is before the Lord, it is in the space of prayer where they meet.
The logistics of the online meeting is simpler than the face-to-face one, but it requires order, punctuality, organisation and some technological knowledge on the part of all. The 20 major superiors of JCEP were divided into four groups that meet at different times with the President and the Socius. All of them arrived on time and overcame any diffchallenges of each province in times of pandemic. The provincials shared that they feel in God's haiculty to make the meeting possible.
The content of the meeting was to share the conditions and nds. Like every crisis, this is an opportunity to go inside and look outside. There are many differences between the countries in the Conference. Some governments have made the right decisions at the right time. But in other countries, provincials have shared the anger, pain and depression when measures were insufficient and delayed. They would like to be closer to the victims, especially when it comes to deceased Jesuits, relatives and friends. And they know that in some countries the pandemic is accompanied by other human tragedies, such as the earthquake in Croatia and the economic and political crisis in the Near East and Maghreb.
The Provincials have shared good practices in areas such as communication, community life, government, health, finances, ecclesial and social dimensions. They were aware that this is a time to pray together, a time to keep in touch, a time to go inside, a time for encouragement, a time for solidarity, and a time to contemplate the world and face the multiple challenges of the present with faith and hope.
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