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A workshop on Discernment and Apostolic Planning was organized from 5-10 February in the Jesuit Curia, Rome by the office of the General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning with 28 participants from the six conferences across the world. The workshop convened to help the Society of Jesus implement GC 36’s recommendations rregarding 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.

Opening the workshop, Father General noted that the Society is a multicultural apostolic body journeying in fulfilment of her mission in the Church. "We want to walk together, religious and lay people, to incarnate the Church-people-of-God (Vatican II). The Society 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. That is why discernment in common is urgently needed." Father General called on the workshop to "come up with key principles, tools and methodologies for discernment in common." He acknowledged that it is an enormous task, nevertheless, reminded the participants "if we have that common base, that common foundation, we can move forward."

The workshop was also intended to share tools and resources pertaining to discernment in common and apostolic planning in a more systematic way throughout the Society. Thanks to the presentation of these tools and the gathering of resources in a common online database.

The first two days were dedicated to sharing of personal experiences, to inputs regarding previous experiences of communal discernment in the Near East and African provinces, the history of the use of discernment in common in the Society of Jesus and the presentation of principles, methods and tools for communal discernment and apostolic planning modelled on the ISECP and ESDAC 2 3 approaches. During the remaining two days, participants met in their respective conference teams, spoke with the President of the conference and with the Regional Assistant to hear about needs and to discuss possible ways forward, and drafted proposals about possible next steps.

Raj Irudaya, SJ, Brian, SJ, Siji, SJ and Ms. Astrid represented the Conference of South Asia. During the workshop the South Asian participants interacted with Fr. George Pattery, SJ (POSA) through skype and had direct interactions with Fr. Vernon, SJ (General Assistant). Fr. John Dardis, SJ was the Chief Organiser of the programme. The Coference of South Asia has planned to take the learnings forward through engaging Jesuits and Collaborators though a sustained plan of action. The programme planning and design is underway.

Compiled by Siji Varghese, SJ

(Also included some inputs from

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