More reflections on our participation

The activities of the SAPI group were the most effective and the most ?Jesuit? part of the Jesuit activities at the Forum. I am a little uneasy with talk of our lacking focus. If (which I doubt) it is meant to imply that 50 of the Pope’s storm troopers should have descended on Porto Alegre and pursued a single aim with military discipline, that would have been against the spirit of the Forum and, what is more, destructive. On the other hand, the SAPI group came with real issues and an agenda from the grassroots and the Jesuit delegation helped them find a base for their activities in the Forum. The Jesuit part of their contribution was facilitating their participation. If IJND, to take one example, could have assembled a similar group, consisting mainly of lay colleagues, they would have been justified in pursuing their line in the same way. ? We complained about poor planning and poor information, but we should have looked first at our own poor planning and poor information. The programme of Forum events was available in print on the morning of the first day. It was available on the Internet (if you had a fast connection) much earlier. ? It would have been a fairly big job, but someone could have been deputed to print out a copy of that programme for an initial planning meeting, then we could have done more meaningful planning. But the purpose of such planning should be to facilitate the initiatives from the grassroots (such as SAPI) or networks such as IJND, not prepare and present a single ?Jesuit line?. A Jesuit stand, such as we had at WSSD (World Summit on Sustainable Development) in Johannesburg, would be a great help, as a place where the various people under the Jesuit umbrella could rest a little, share more easily and quickly with each other, take lunch or be found by anyone who wants us. Since the Forum is not run on a single agenda (out of somebody’s head) but many strands from head and heart, a wise (old?) Jesuit based at the stand as a centre for discerning the movement of the Spirit in all the strands of the Forum would be very useful. (Brian Mac Garry SJ, Zimbabwe).