The Meeting of Major Superiors of the Conference of Asia Oceania was held via zoom on the 7th and 8th September 2021. Fr General and Fr Sebastian Ani Dato (General Consultor) along with Fr Jovencio Ma (Conference Co-ordinator) attended the two-day online meeting. The Meeting first condoled the very sad and tragic passing away of Fr Copernicus Perez (Nico) the Provincial of Cebu who succumbed to Covid-19 in the month of August. Fr Bert Cepe the vicar of the Province of Cebu and now the Provincial gave an account of the last days of Fr Nico. The Group welcomed Fr Bert as a Major Superior and wished him well as he takes up the leadership of the Province of Cebu in this painful and challenging time.
A lot of time on the first day was spent in sharing on the situation of the Pandemic in each of the Units of the Conference and on the responses of each Unit to carrying out the mission of the Congregation in this challenging time (Oceania, Indonesia, Japan, Manila, Cebu, Thailand, Vietnam, S. Korea, Malaysia Singapore, Colombo, Bangalore, Liguori, and Majella). Fr General addressed the group giving the group an overall picture of the progress of Reconfiguration in the Congregation at the moment, then sharing his observations and giving the group some very important aspects of our Vita Apostolica to reflect on.
The next item of the Agenda was the Presentation of the Working Document on Reconfiguration in the Conference and the progress made in the 3 groups regarding Reconfiguration (3 Confederations in the Conference).
On the second day of the meeting the group reflected on the status of Formation in the Conference in the Novitiate (42 Novices in 4 Common Novitiates in Lipa (Philippines), Kotagiri (India), Vietnam, and Indonesia); in the Common Theology and Philosophy Houses like SATMI (Philippines), Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangalore, Goa, Australia, as many as 275 students in Philosophy and Theology. The concerns regarding Formation in these common Formation Houses were taken up and discussed.
The next item of the agenda was the reports on the Conference Common Projects, namely: Migrant Ministry in Singapore and Youth Ministry. Fr General shared with the group the process at work towards the XXVI General Chapter next year. Fr Jovencio Ma shared with the group certain issues concerning various matters in the Conference. The 1st Phase of the XXVI General Chapter in the Conference was decided upon (30th May to 10th June 2022). This would be followed by 2 days of Conference Assembly.
The Conference Coordinator, Fr Jovencio Ma along with the Council of the Conference will continue to plan the preparation for the 1st Phase and to oversee the progress of the Conference regarding Reconfiguration. The meeting ended with a renewed commitment to solidarity for mission in these challenging times among the Major Superiors.
Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.