New Wine, New Wineskins (Luke 5:37-38)
The Society of Jesus considers formation as “priority of priorities.” Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach developed a set of documents on the various stages, concerns, and objectives of formation in the Society. In 2014, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás launched a programme of renewal of intellectual formation in the Society, with special emphasis on context, content, competencies, and charisms. The Formation Centres in the Conference have initiated programmes of review and revision of their curricula in line with the directives of Fr. Nicolás.
In the Conference of Africa and Madagascar, majority of Jesuits are in formation. Significant resources are directed towards the formation of Ours and the Formation Centres play an important role in the mission of formation. Also, several platforms exist for discussing and reflecting on issues and challenges in formation
In line with previous initiatives in the Conference, the present initiative seeks to convene a Conference-wide assembly on formation to discern and deliberate on some important and cross-cutting issues and challenges relating to formation in Africa and Madagascar in keeping with the call of GC 36 (d. 2, no. 3) to engage in discernment, collaboration and networking as constitutive dimensions of our way of proceeding.
In response to the evolving context and challenges of formation in Africa and Madagascar and inspired by the call of GC36 on the importance of discernment, collaboration and networking, to develop an integrated and seamless programme of formation in Africa and Madagascar in view of forming Jesuits for the apostolic mission of the Society in the 21st century. To realize this vision, the following constitute the major objectives of the assembly:
1. Envision new and creative ways of fulfilling the mission of formation in the present context of Africa and Madagascar.
2. Renew and align the mission of formation in Africa and Madagascar with the universal apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus and generate processes for their implementation.
3. Identify cross-cutting issues in formation with regard to the formation of Ours and the formation of formators and develop coordinated responses.
4. Share best practice as an impetus for stronger collaboration and foster a strong Jesuit identity, enhance accompaniment of Jesuits in formation, and coordinate the transition between different stages of formation.
5. Envision and develop a profile of Jesuits in Africa and Madagascar at different stages of formation and identify the necessary resources and programmes for achieving this profile.