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Reflection on the 18th GC Statement - Commitment to Intercultural living - Finance, Nos. 34, 35

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My name is Dante Salces-Barril. I am currently residing here in our Collegio del Verbo Divino in Rome while doing my studies. But before coming here I was the Provincial Treasurer of the Philippine Central Province.

And I remember in my first week, how one of the personnel informed that we needed money but we didn’t have enough money. I was shocked! Because I thought we were rich and I was the treasurer and not the treasure hunter scouring for treasure.

Before accepting the assignment, I was scared. Now, one week into the job, I was close to nervous breakdown. In my delirious dreams, I heard my name read in our Ordo of the Departed and confreres whispered: “oh! He was the person who brought PHC to bankruptcy”.

Yesterday, I checked and PHC is very much okay. Various expressions of missionary creativity are in full display. This experience reminded me of Missio Dei. Mission is God’s and this includes not only the Biblical Apostolate, Mission Animation, Communication and JPIC but also our finances.

St. Arnold would insist that our real capital is trust in the Lord and the support of the faithful. This succinctly captures the spirit of the Founder’s audacious trust in the Lord of the harvest. He would even say in his Foundation Day homily that if nothing comes out of what has been started, we strike our breasts and confess that we are not worthy of the grace.

Indeed, before the term Missio Dei was coined in the 1930’s, the Founder was already living it. He was deeply aware that he and his missionary brothers and sisters are workers of the richest vineyard. However, we are not ordinary workers of the vineyard. As we are sons in the Son. Heirs of the vineyard. So that the Arnoldus audacity is rooted in the experience of family.

When I was Treasurer, I treasure those moments when subsidies arrived and I had to write to Provincials and Treasurers whose names I could not even pronounce but I always recognize the three letters after their “unpronounceable” names. The familiar SVD. It never failed to warm my heart. It emphasizes that we are one family. So, I pray that we emphasize and we strengthen our family-ness in our finances. So, we try to become good stewards of the gifts so that we become better contributors of our missionary family. Not self-sufficient and independent from each other but contributors to our missionary family. So that we all become adequate and equipped for every good work in the vineyard of the Lord.

Thank you very much and God bless us all.

Fr. Dante Salces Barril, SVD


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