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A workshop on Discernment in Common and Apostolic Planning was organized from 4-6 May at indian Social Institute, Bangalore for the Western and Southern Jesuit Provinces of the Conference of South Asia. The programme had 25 participants from all the provinces, except, Pune. The workshop conducted as a follow up of the World Wide Workshop (WWW) Conducted in Rome is aimed at implementing GC 36’s special recommendations regarding communal discernment and apostolic planning, highlighted in Father General’s requests to the whole Society in his letters dated July 10, 2017, September 27, 2017 and October 3, 2017.

The key resource persons were Raj Irudaya, SJ ( ADF), Brian Pereira, SJ ( Secretary JYMSA) and Siji Varghese, SJ (Coordinator-PDOs/ADO). At the opening of the workshop the resource persons reminded the members on the purpose of the workshop recalling Fr. General’s address in the WWW workshop in Rome held in Rome in Febriary 2018. Fr. General said, “The Society of Jesus across the world is facing key choices. There are many calls. And yet, we Jesuits and our mission partners cannot keep reaching out to an indefinite number of needs. We have to make choices.

The workshop designed as a Training of Trainers (TOT) was for preparing Master Trainers (MTs) in the South Asian Conference, also intended to share tools and resources pertaining to discernment in common and apostolic planning in a more systematic way throughout the Conference of SA.

The methodology of the workshop was a combine of input sessions, prayer and reflection, followed by group sharing and presentations. The inputs were mostly on the ‘Deliberation of the Founding Fathers of the SJ’, the historical developments of discernment in common in the SJ, Fr. General’s letters, especially on Universal Apostolic Preferences and Discernment in Common, Spiritual Conversation as a tool and method and Apostolic Planning process. The group went through an exercise on suggesting universal apostolic priorities (UAP’s) through the process of Communal Discernment.

The members felt a tremendous bond, togetherness, generosity and greater freedom. Most felt moved reflecting over the rich Ignatian heritage and left with certain concrete action plans to take the learnings, skills and experiences back to their respective provinces. All felt that this was an affective experience in an ambience of love and prayer.

The group was well taken care by Indian Social Institute, Bangalore and also by Arrupe Niwas Community in St. Joseph’s College Bangalore which hosted a special dinner to the Jesuits. The members expressed gratefulness to Fr. George Pattery and team at Jorbagh and also to all the provincials of the two zones.

- By Siji Varghese, SJ

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