Online COREAM Assembly and Network Meeting from 19th to 23rd July 2021

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From 19th to 21st July 2021, the Conference of Africa and Madagascar (COREAM) organized its annual Assembly. This year, it was an online meeting. Were present at the Assembly the Superiors of the Units of Africa and Madagascar, the vocals for the Units with more than 20 members, a Representative of the Brothers, a Representative of the Lay partners, the Procurator of the Fund for Africa and Madagascar, the COREAM Coordinator and his Council, the General Consultor from Africa and Madagascar, Fr. Nicolas Ayouba and Fr. General Michael Brehl. Three translators and two notaries were also present. We were a total number of 27 confreres and 1 Lay Partner, from 10 Units: South Africa Province; the Vice Provinces of Nigeria, Luanda, Madagascar, Congo Matadi, and Afrique de l’Ouest; the Region of Zimbabwe; the Missions of Kenya, Ghana, and Mozambique.

After the opening of the Assembly by the Superior General Father Michael Brehl, many themes were presented:  

– The Restructuring Process in COREAM: the Common Houses of Formation and the Common Missionary Projects.

– Reflection on Africa and Madagascar, Priority of the Congregation.

– Timeline for the Restructuring Process.

– The transfer of Ghana Mission to West Africa Vice-Province.

– A Presentation from the General Bursar Office.

– Finances in COREAM and Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults.

– COREAM Revised Statutes and Ratio Formationis.

– Report on Partnership in Mission in Africa and Madagascar

– Communication from the General Chapter Preparatory Commission.

On the 1st day, Fr. Manny Rodriguez, the General Secretary for Formation, gave us a wonderful Conference on Interculturality. And on the last day, we had a group discussion. The secretary of each group gave us the report of their group discussion. Some information was given by the Coordinator before Fr. General closed officially the COREAM Assembly, on 21st July 2021.

COREAM Assembly was immediately followed by the Network Meeting, on 22nd and 23rd July 2021. The Network Meeting is a meeting of the COREAM Assembly members with the 11 Provincials of the Founding Units: the Provinces of Naples, Dublin, London, France, Bangalore, Bogotá, Denver, St Clemens, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, and the Vice-Province of Fortaleza. The Coordinator of Europe, Fr. Johannes Römelt, was also invited. At the Network Meeting, we were a total number of 37 confreres and 1 Lay Partner.

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The goal of this Network Meeting is to keep the Founding Units informed about what is going on in Africa and Madagascar and to ask for their support and accompaniment to achieve this Restructuring Process. That is why some themes of the COREAM Assembly were presented again to them, mainly:

– The Restructuring Process in COREAM: the Common Houses of Formation and the Common Missionary Projects.

– Reflection on Africa and Madagascar, Priority of the Congregation.

– Finances in COREAM

We had time to discuss in groups and also in plenary. Fr. General then gave some thoughtful reflections on how the Founding Provinces can accompany the Restructuring Process in COREAM. At the last session, Fr. Tryvis gave us the summary of the Network Meeting. After that Fr. Johannes Römelt gave an address to the members of the Network Meeting followed by the COREAM Coordinator’s Words of thanks. Finally, the Network meeting was closed by Fr. General, on 23rd July 2021.

At the end of the COREAM Assembly and the Network Meeting, we can say that the Restructuring process is going on in COREAM. We want to have three Common Houses of Novitiates in South Africa, Ghana, and Madagascar, from July 2022, if covid-19 permits. We want also to have three Common Houses of Theologate in Kenya, Nigeria, and Burkina-Faso. We are envisaging four Common Missionary Projects, in Zambia, Togo, Congo Brazzaville, and South Sudan. After the prospecting visits, COREAM Assembly will decide where we will go. We want to better assess our finances to find ways to fund our common formation and our common mission. Finally, we need to increase as soon as possible the Fund for Africa and Madagascar, so that the interest can support the common projects and the common formation. That is why the next 12 months will be a time of large dialogue in COREAM.

Fr. Noël Koutré SOTTIMA,

Coordinator of COREAM

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