Good Shepherd Sisters and partners in mission in Asia Pacific are participating in a virtual Inter Continental Assembly (ICA) from September 14-18, 2020. The Province of Philippines-Japan belong to Group 4 of the eight ICAs organized by the congregation. Other provinces in Group 4 are Australia-Aoteroa New Zealand, Northeast Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong and Macau), and Singapore-Malaysia.
The ICA is a preparation for the Congregational Chapter held at the Mother House in Angers, France. Previously organized ICAs were held for three groupings: ICA Asia Pacific- 2008 in Thailand, 2014 in Malaysia; ICA Europe-RIMOA (Reseau Iles, Moyen Orient, Afrique or Network of the Isles, Middle East and Africa) both held in Angers, France, and ICA America (for North America and Latin America provinces) in Ecuador.
The planned ICAs for 2020 should have been held in Angers, France with mixed groupings from Asia Pacific, Europe-RIMOA and the Americas. Due to the pandemic, the Congregational Chapter Planning Committee with the Congregational Leadership Team had to opt for a virtual ICA to enable sisters and mission partners to join the sessions without the danger of acquiring Covid-19 because of travel. The CCPC considered the different time zones where participants are coming from and have regrouped the provinces whose sisters and partners in mission are now distributed to eight ICAs instead of three.
The other five units in Asia Pacific, Central East India-Nepal, East Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia), Indonesia, SouthWest India and Sri Lanka-Pakistan will attend ICA 8, the last group.
The theme of the 2020 ICA is taken from the Congregational Chapter theme 2021, "Drawn by Love, Passionate for Justice." Facilitators of the ICA are Donna Fyffe and Catherine Schneider OSF, while liturgists are Monica Brown and Hilary Musgrave. Sr. Monique Tarabeh, communications coordinator in Rome, sees to it that the internet and information communications technology in the different units are functioning well.
Since this is a virtual ICA, instead of those elected delegates during the Province Chapters, the participation was extended to more sisters and partners in mission who have committed themselves to study the documents and attend the sessions, for two 2-hour sessions everyday for five days. For Philippine delegates that means 12 noon-2 p.m. and 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Break from 2-4 p.m. and Japan 1-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. and break of 3-5 p.m.
The participation of sisters and lay partners in mission has been noted to be most enriching during the past days of sessions. Discussions during the small group sessions were reported in plenary and other important points were emailed to Sr. Anya Borbon who is the chairperson of the CCPC. These points will taken during the succeeding meetings of the CCPC with the CLT as fruits of the 2020 ICA.