The AFRAM Zonal Dimensions Coordinators meeting is a gathering of all the Coordinators of the Four main areas of missionary work of the Divine Word Missionaries in all Provinces, Regions, and Missions (PRMs) in Africa and Madagascar. This meeting is organized every three years. The main aim is to
Evaluate the missionary activities in all the PRMs, strategize and plan the way forward for the following three years. Apart from the various PRMs Dimension Coordinators, there are also coordinators for each dimension at the zonal level and then at the Generalate level.
The meeting has two main sessions: The first is a joint session, where all the participants meet to give reports, evaluate matters arising from the reports, and input on selected topics. The second is a separate session for each dimension to evaluate their previous action plan and prepare one for the following three years. At the end of the meeting, the participants meet to prepare a common action plan for collaboration between the four dimensions.
This year’s meeting took place at the Hospitalelas Sisters Conference Centre in Memo location of Marracuene district in Maputo, Mozambique. The meeting took an extraordinary twist because many participants were not able to be physically present in Maputo due to Visa complications. Those who managed to enter Mozambique were warmly received by the confreres in Mozambique led by the Regional SUperion Fr. Johnson Ippinkumar. Ten participants were refused entry at Maputo Airport and had to return to their respective PRMS. One confrere had to stay for two days at the airport because the return plane was already full. Others had to wait in Addis Ababa for their connecting flight back home.
However, with the help of the technical expertise of Fr, Giang Tien Nguyen, we arranged a zoom meeting. Though the first day there were some difficulties, the zoom meetings went on well and many of those who could not be physically present participated. The AFRAM Coordinator Fr. Willibrord Kamion Bhia, SVD, who also did not manage to enter Mozambique participated on zoom. Only two AFRAM Zone Dimension Coordinators were able to attend the meeting physically in Maputo, that is Fr. Dennis Pereira, SVD of Mission Animation, and Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD. The two present Coordinators help to moderate the meeting on the ground.
Prominent among all the discussions was the Covid-19 Pandemic that broke just 6 months after the AFRAM Zonal Meeting in June 2019 in Kara, Togo. This rendered difficult or impossible the implementation of many items in Action Plans for all Dimensions. However, many PRMs coordinators reported that they were able to do some via digital platforms such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Blog pages, TV, Radio, among others. There was a general feeling among participants that though Covid-19 Pandemic brought with it many challenges and negative effects on our missionary activities, it also opened our eyes to innovation, especially as per as the use of virtual platforms is concerned.
The meeting ended on Thursday and on Friday all the participants went on a tour of Maputo City. We also visited the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSPS) convent in Maputo. The sisters were very happy to receive us. On Saturday participants began to return to their PRMS. We thank God for the successful
meeting and ask him to help us implement the strategies and plans we have put in place for the next three years.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD
AFRAM Zonal Communication Coordinator