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Virtual Asia Pacific Assembly held August 10-12

Submitted by: regina
On: 26/08/2020


A virtual Asia Pacific Assembly of apostolic and contemplative members of the Religious of the Good Shepherd and mission partners was held August 10-12 via Zoom.

The participants represent the nine provinces in the region: 1) Australia-New Zealand, 2) Central East India-Nepal, 3) East Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia), 4) Indonesia, 5) Northeast Asia (South Korea, HongKong, Macau, Taiwan), 6) Philippines-Japan, 7) Singapore-Malaysia, 8) SouthWest India and 9) Sri Lanka-Pakistan. The RGS in the region is composed of these units present in 19 countries.

Theme of the assembly was taken from the words of St. Mary Euphrasia, "Though old stars burn out and die, look to new horizons and even beyond."

More than 500 participants registered for this first assembly. Srs. Francine Muthugala, Joan Lopez and Sabina Pathrose were the members of the Asia Pacific Regional Assembly Planning Committee, while the facilitation team was composed of Ms. Theresa Symons, Ms. Paula Sgherza and Mr Jamie Sgherza, who are in Malaysia and Australia.

Participants from the different communities in Province of Philippines-Japan were led by Sr. M. Susan Montano and her team. 

It was during the meeting of the nine Province leaders in Asia Pacific in 2017 that they discussed  about the possibility of an Asia Pacific Assembly. At that time, the congregation has planned that ICA 2020 will be held in Angers, France, and the nine units in Asia Pacific will be divided in three groups of three provinces to join other units from other continents.

It will be recalled that during the first ICA in 2008, the units in Asia Pacific gathered in Thailand while ICA 2014 was held in Malaysia. Other continents like the America (North and South America) had the ICA in Ecuador, while Europe and RIMOA (Reseau Isles, Moyen Orient, Afrique or Network of the Isles, Middle East and Africa) had the ICA in France. The ICA is held as a preparation for the Congregational Chapter.

With the pandemic and the restrictions on travel, the planned ICAs in Angers for the different continents will not push through, and instead of three ICAs, there will be 8 ICAs. Asia Pacific will be in ICA 4 (Australia New Zealand, Northeast Asia, Philippines-Japan, Singapore-Malaysia) and ICA 8 (East Asia, Indonesia, Central East India-Nepal, Southwest India and Sri Lanka-Pakistan). The new groupings put consideration on the time zones in the whole congregation and the location of sisters, lay mission partners and the facilitators.

Before the Asia Pacific Virtual Assembly, participants had to study important documents about the Asia Pacific Region and the various teams that work collaborate during the past years. You may visit this website to view the documents and videos on FFormation, Spirituality, Justice & Peace, GISF Regional Office, Website, Learning English, Art of Skilled Facilitation, Partnership & Co-Responsibility, Asia Pacific Integration Committee and other relevant information: https://bit.ly/3hPosR9

Exercises were held like Stargazing, Tonight we Dance, and Dialogue Walk. Star Circle gave the small groups opportunity for deeper sharing outside the zoom meetings. The harvests of the day are also posted on the website. There are also news and updates. Additional information on the history of Asia Pacific are also posted. Click here.

The virtual meeting was a creative way to meet online during this time of pandemic, and one way of generating participation from sisters and lay mission partners.

They look forward to the ICA 4 and ICA 8 scheduled this September.