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The IX PANAM Zonal Assembly was held recently from August 17-22, 2017 in Techny Towers, Northbrook, Illinois.

The Assembly included the participation of General Councilor, Fr. Paulus Budi Kleden, the zonal coordinator, Fr. Marcelo Cattaneo, the Provincials and the Regionals from the American continents and the Caribbean and the coordinators of the different areas and characteristic dimensions.

It was notable that in this zonal assembly of the three regions and thirteen provinces of the PANAM zone, half of the regional and provincial administrations have been newly appointed. These eight new provincial and regional superiors previously attended the workshop for new superiors held in Nemi last July 2017.

The Assembly dealt with different topics and issues on the PANAM Zone and its participation in the coming 18th General Chapter. Among the topics discussed were the history of the PANAM as a Zone, the sub zonal reports and the areas of characteristic dimensions, and vocation promotion.

General Councilor Budi Kleden and Marcelo Cattaneo presented the different steps, timeline and other pertinent issues leading to the XVIII General Chapter. Fr. Steve Bevans SVD, a noted missiologist and a much-sought speaker internationally, presented the topic Spiritual Renewal and Leadership.

The Assembly was an occasion to make some decisions and agreements as well as provide guidelines and project activities in the different areas and dimensions in the sub-zones during the triennium 2017-2020.

During the Assembly, a new set of officers was elected. Their names will be officially presented upon the confirmation of their appointments by their respective provincial/ regional superiors.

Fr. Marcelo Cattaneo, the Zonal Coordinator of PANAM, in the name of the participants of the IX PANAM Zonal Assembly, offered thanks to the Provincial and the treasurer of USC, Quang Duc Dinh and Dariusz Garbaciak and other collaborators for staging an assembly where fraternal sharing and dialogue were at their best.

Published in the newsletter “Arnoldus Nota” – Sept 2017


What is a Panam Zonal Assembly?

The Assembly is held every three years. The Zonal system is meant to foster more collaboration, coordination and collegial leadership among confreres ministering in the same geographical area. Currently there are four Zones in the Society, Europe (13 PRMs) Pan American Zone (16 PRMs) Asia Pacific Zone (19 PRMs) and Africa/Afram (11 PRMs).

This kind of Assembly favor and promote leadership and collaboration among confreres. There were about thirteen nationalities represented at the assembly and this was surely a strong witness to a world that is increasingly divided on account of racism, bigotry, prejudice and. We reflects hope, respect and unity through our community life which in itself is a mission.

This was the first time the Panam Zonal Assembly was held in the Northern Sub Zone, thanks to the generosity of Chicago province. It was a time to share and listen about the activities in the provinces/regions as well as a chance to meet with the provincials personally. It was also a time to explore the possibilities of collaboration. The experience of each provinces are so diverse. We are indeed very much international and intercultural.

The main concern shared by both the Generalate and the 2017 assembly is how to connect Panam zone to the daily ministry and the everyday life of the confreres in the zone. It is not an easy task as the Zone is so diverse. The 2017 assembly continues to encourage collaboration on the Zonal level while re-emphasizing the need for more participation and involvement in the sub zone.

The Zone is further divided into sub zones for better coordination and collaboration. There are five Sub Zones in the Panam Zone – Sub Zone South (Paraguay, Argentina, Chile) Andina (Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia) Brazil, Mesoamerica (Mexico, Cuba and Panama) and North (the US). The next assembly (2020) will be held in Mexico.

Published in the newsletter “Council Notes” of USW- August 2017