The JCAM plenary meeting kicked off today, Monday 24 April 2023 at the Mwangaza Retreat Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing together all the Major Superiors of the Conference.

As a meeting of major superiors, the “Conference aims to build up the Society of Jesus in Africa and Madagascar into a prayerful, discerning and apostolic community of Jesuits and collaborators, and to foster union, communication, effective leadership and planning towards a common vision and the universal mission of the Society.”

It is a weeklong meeting that will come to an end on Friday, 28th February 2023 and the JCAM apostolic directions that was recently promulgated in 2022 will provide the main orientations for the agenda of meeting. Major themes will include Formation matters, matters concerning the Universal Society, matters of concern ad-intra in the Conference, as well as peer-to-peer cura personalis which involves listening and sharing of experiences since the last plenary.

In attendance are the following major superiors: Fr. Chukwuyenum Afiawari, SJ, (ANW), Fr. Fulgence Ratsimbazafy, SJ, (MDG), Fr. Fabien Gasigwa, SJ, (RWB), Fr. Kizito Kiyimba, SJ, (AOR), Fr. Leonard Chiti, SJ, (SAP), Fr. Mathieu Ndomba, SJ, (AOC), Fr. Rigobert Kyungu Musenge, SJ, (ACE), and Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, (JCAM). Also in attendance are other companions and collaborators namely: Fr. Fratern Masawe, SJ, (Father General’s assistant for Africa), Fr. John the Baptist Anyeh-Zamcho, SJ, (Socius JCAM), Fr. Jose Minaku, SJ, (President-designate JCAM), Fr. Jocelyn Rabeson, SJ, (Provincial-designate MDG), Fr. John Ghansah, SJ, (Provincial-designate ANW), Fr. John Guiney, SJ, (Father General’s Assistant for the Promotion of a Consistent Culture of Protection, PCCP), and Dr Sandra Racionero-Plaza (PCCP Office-Rome).

The morning session began with a prayer led by Fr. Fulgence Ratsimbazafy, SJ, provincial of Madagascar province, followed by a welcome message by the host provincial of AOR province, Fr. Kizito Kiyimba, SJ. In his presentation, he gave an overview of the province, highlighting the history, the strengths, and challenges, as well as the hopes and dreams of the province. In his assessment, despite endemic conflicts in some of the countries and tensions in others, there was a lot of hope, due to the growing numbers of quality men in the province, the willingness of men to own the province, the engagement of friends and benefactors and the spirit of reconciliation in the province. A sign of this hope, he noted was that there was increasingly a significant uptick in the number of intake into the province novitiate from year to year. He concluded by thanking all the members of the province for their sense of support and collaboration in the mission of the Society, especially the various curia officers. It should be noted that the East Africa Province covers 6 countries including Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. It has an estimated 544100 sq. Kms, with about 339.1 million people.