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Another Step Along the Way

Today we hear from Br. Tony Shanahan, our Alumni Coordinator, about an online forum for alumni.

In October last year I invited alumni to “a continuing collaboration with us and with our network around the world… we want to support and assist you, and we would like you to assist us from time to time in our work”. Sometimes we face isolation or lack of understanding in our work, and the IADC alumni network offers a way of countering these difficulties.

The dream of ongoing collaboration took a concrete form on January 15, when alumni were invited to participate in an online forum.  The topic was “Cultural Resistance to the Safeguarding Message”, and 24 registered for the event. Unfortunately, several would-be participants encountered technical difficulties on the day and were unable to take part, but the 20 who did entered whole-heartedly into the sharing.

We began with short contributions from Sr. Agnieszka Jarkowska in Slovakia, and Fr. Alis Prasetya SJ in Indonesia. Their stories highlighted quite different social and cultural settings in their respective countries, e.g. the very different social position of the Church and Christians in these societies, and the way this context affects the work of safeguarding. This was followed by time for conversation in smaller “breakout” groups of 5 or 6 alumni, in which personal experiences relating to cultural resistance were shared.

This was a first, encouraging step in providing opportunities to alumni to share experience and learning.  It is hoped to offer an online forum every 6-8 weeks, via Zoom, usually on Saturday, at an hour that will allow for maximal participation.

The next Zoom forum is scheduled for SATURDAY, 5 MARCH. Alumni will soon receive an invitation with details.

In the meantime, you are most welcome to send me any suggestions or requests in regard to topics for sharing in these forums.