The meeting of Formation Delegates of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar took place on March 5-9, 2020 at the Loyola House Jesuit Residence in Nairobi, Kenya. Hosted by the Eastern Africa Province (AOR), most of the delegates were participating in this meeting for the first time and it was unique in the sense that the shadow of the Covid-19 epidemic was already hovering over participation. While Fr. Mark Ravizza, Fr. General’s Assistant for formation could make it to Nairobi from Rome, Fr. Chioma Nwosu, the ANW Delegate, could not travel because he was helping to coordinate surveillance preparations within his parish in Lagos which was within the perimeter of the first infected person in Lagos.

The main aim of the meeting was to gather formation delegates after the JCAM Formation Assembly to begin to map out a follow-up strategy for the outcomes of the Assembly which took place in December 2019. On the first day, after a welcome address by Fr. Lawrence Kyaligonza, the AOR Socius representing the Provincial. Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, the JCAM President, laid out the strategy for the implementation of the Assembly outcomes by commenting on the template that was drawn up after the Formation Assembly by members of the Planning Committee, who met from January 29 to February 2, 2020.

After Fr. Orobator’s presentation of the template of outcomes, Fr. Ravizza then guided the gathering to a prayerful reflection on personal activities thus far. The ensuing spiritual conversation permitted each one to understand the recent experiences of the others and also to begin to see how our received missions was a sharing in Christ’s mission. Faith sharing on this first day centred very much around ongoing conversion as a dimension of Jesuit mission in the world today.

FD meet Group sharings at Africama House in Karen, Nairobi

The second day of the meeting focused squarely on feedback on the template proposed by Father Orobator the previous day. By the end of the faith-sharing of the day, delegates came to the amazing realisation that the proposal of renewal and transformation within the document was not destined for Jesuits in Formation uniquely, but to every Jesuit striving to live a life that is faithful to the values of the Gospel.

On the final day of the meeting, a lot came together for each individual delegate, who not only reflected on the various aspects of their own practice but on the spiritual dimension of the mission of a formation delegate. Much of the conversation centred around how each one perceives this dimension, and how they intended to structure the accompaniment of the men entrusted to their care, going forward.

This meeting was a spirit-filled meeting that helped delegates to recalibrate their strategies of the accompaniment of men in formation. It should be recalled that the theme of formation for formation delegates was agreed upon during the December Formation Assembly and as delegates left Nairobi, they are were very satisfied that it was time well spent. Plans are underway for the next meeting to be held in Douala in 2021.

FD meet 2

Formation Delegates meeting group photo from left-Right: Fr. John the Baptist Anyeh-Zamcho (JCAM Assistant for Formation), Fr. Mark Ravizza (Fr. General’s Assistant for formation, Rome), Fr Peter Otieno (AOR), Fr Christian Nirina (MDG), Fr Nchimunya Bboloka Bubala (ZAM), Fr Bwanali George Mtaja (ZIM/SAF), Fr Forbi Kizito (AOC), Fr Jean-Christian Ndoki Ndimba (ACE), Fr Nkeramihigo Théoneste (RWB)