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Africa and Europe: A new and dynamic relationship.

Comm Mixta IMG 0398 23Written by John Dardis S.J

Sunshine, music, prayer, reflection, laughter. These are the words summarising this year's meeting of the high level group that promotes collaboration between African and European Jesuits. This year's meeting took place in Kigali, Rwanda.

"As I write this report I can hear music and singing from a Mass which is being celebrated just outside my room" said John Dardis, CEP President. "Rwanda is a society that has come through a genocide in 1994, has picked itself up and is moving through the challenging and painful process of reconciliaion. Faith is playing a key role in that reconciliation. In Africa, faith is never far from people's minds and hearts. Europe can learn a great deal from this wonderful continent." 

The Commissio Mixta was set up to develop, deepen and promote mutuality between African and European Jesuits and our mission partners. It comprises the two Presidents, the head of the Xavier NGO and mission office network, three provincials from JESAM and three from CEP. When the meeting is in Europe, three Provincials from Europe attend; when it is in Africa, three provincials from JESAM attend.

 

Memorial Shrine to the 17 people killed in 1994 at Jesuit Centre Christus

Comm Mixta IMG 0389 23 1

"Mutuality is our guiding principle" said John Dardis "In the past, Africa was receiving from Europe and Europe was giving. That is changing; the relationship is becoming one of mutual benefit. Africa has so much to give in terms of ideas and relationships. There is so much richness of vision".

This year's meeting included an update from the Conference Presidents on new events in the two Conferences. We also shared about our Solidarity in Formation Programmes. We reviewed the visit of some of the CEP Provincials last year to Kenya, Rwanda and Congo and discussed possible future visits by European Provincials to Africa and by African Provincials to Europe.

The meeting acknowledged the financial aid given by CEP to the Historical Institute in Nairobi to fund its work. We reviewed the joint project in Madrid where a scholastic from Zimbabwe-Mozambique and a scholastic from South Poland are working side by side in a project for migrants at La Ventilla. It is a small but significant symbol of the desire in both Conferences to reach out to migrants and refugees and of a commitment to tackle this crucial issue of our time.

"We are working together to challenge stereotypes from the past and to build a new understanding" said John Dardis. "Things are moving, many changes are afoot, the mission is going forward, watch this space!"

The Commissio Mixta meeting was on 27th April in Kigali, Rwanda. The next meeting will take place on October 13th 2017 in Ludwigshafen Germany, just before the annual assembly of CEP Provincials.

 

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