The JCAM Plenary meeting of January 18-19, 2021 was originally scheduled as an in-person meeting to follow up on the traditional April and October meetings of 2020 that were both held online. Unfortunately, with the deteriorating Covid situation post-Christmas festivities, plans for such a meeting were scrapped in favour of an online meeting. Furthermore, the safeguarding workshop for major superiors that was to follow was also put off for a future date.
It was going to be a historic meeting seeing that it was coming fifty years after the first meeting of the French and English Major superiors of Africa and Madagascar in Lusaka in 1970. It was also the first substantive meeting for some Major Superiors who had just begun service. Finally, it was also the last meeting of the Major Superiors of SAF and ZIM, whose provinces and regions along with the province of ZAM was going to become part of the SAP province. In effect, after the 25th of March, when the new SAP province will be inaugurated, the number of provinces and regions in JCAM will move from nine to seven.
With a scaled-down agenda, the meeting focused mainly on Fr. General's call to reflect on Solidarity in Formation (SiF) across the world. Major Superiors reflected on how to guarantee formation needs in all six conferences and the role that JCAM Provinces and Regions could play in this sense. Proposals will be forwarded to Father General Arturo Sosa, who will then make decisions on a global scale. While the proposed agenda of the in-person meeting was exhausted, the depth and friendship that this format proposes is obviously reduced.
After one full year of Zoom meetings, Major Superiors are now hoping that the Covid situation could abate so that they could return to in-person meetings. There are several reasons for this, not least of which is just the advantages of human contact and networking. The next rendezvous is the 50th-anniversary celebrations of MDG province.