On 22 June 2020, the SIGNIS World Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted to delay its World Congress and Assembly of Delegates, originally scheduled for August 2021 in Seoul, South Korea. The vote was 12 in favour and one abstention and was made after the board received an approval letter from the Dicastery for the Laity, which oversees SIGNIS’ adherence to its canonical statutes. The communication from the Dicastery, signed by its prefect and secretary, provides a rationale for the delay and guidance to SIGNIS regarding how to abide by the spirit of its statutes: “Given the ongoing international health emergency, and its effects on freedom of movement and assembly, as well as its financial consequences, and given the importance to SIGNIS of holding an Assembly of Delegates with as many participants as possible,” according to the correspondence from the Dicastery, “the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, dispensing from the relevant conditions of article 9 of SIGNIS’ statues, hereby gives its consent to the postponement of the SIGNIS Assembly of Delegates until summer 2022.
“Furthermore, dispensing from the relevant conditions of Articles 9 and 10 of SIGNIS’ statutes, the Dicastery grants a one-year prorogation of the mandates of SIGNIS office holders and other members of the Board of Directors, until the Assembly of Delegates now due to be held in summer 2022.” The World board of directors agreed that SIGNIS regions could make their own determination on the necessity of delaying regional assemblies and elections. The board also strongly encouraged planning committees and others who are already preparing for the World Congress to continue with their efforts.
It was noted that the financial impact of the pandemic will create additional challenges for many of our members to participate in the World Congress. “We believe this decision is prudent and just,” explained SIGNIS President Helen Osman. “It is necessary for the Assembly of Delegates to properly discharge its duties and responsibilities, and our world gathering provides a time of solidarity and fellowship for our members. It is important we plan so that as many people as possible can safely participate in the World Congress, and the full cohort of delegates are able to attend the Assembly of Delegates. I very much look forward to a robust and productive gathering in Seoul, in 2022!”