AJSC Newsletter

Newsletter # 14

Steyl – July 2011



        Sincere and warm greetings from the Team of the Arnold Janssen  Spirituality Center  (AJSC) in Steyl: Aneta Kołodziejczyk  and Celestina Tangan,  Renato Gnatta,  Peter Dusicka  and Emmie Vas.  

        May your ministry of spiritual animation continue to fill you with joy and to bring forth much fruit.


OUR E-MAIL ADDRESS:   ajscsteyl@gmail.com


In this bulletin:

1.   GOOD NEWS -- One more member for the AJSC Team

                                                          ( Sr. Celestina Tangan SSpS)

2.  To be spiritual is to be human      

3.  AJSC Future Vision

4.  AJSC Activities

5.  News from the Provinces 

6.  Keeping in Touch



1.   GOOD NEWS -- One more member for the AJSC Team

                                                                     ( Sr. Celestina Tangan SSpS)

        I am Sr Celestina Tangan, the latest additional member of the AJSC team.  I arrived in SteyI on May 20, 2011, the feast of Blessed Josepha. I come from the Philippines and in particular from the Trinity Province. I have been involved in the different ministries of the Province including retreat giving and Spiritual direction.  Hopefully all my experiences and learnings in the past   will greatly help me to make a significant contribution in this particular ministry that we are called to do.  I look forward to be working with the members of the team.


2.  To be spiritual is to be human

        Although in last December’s issue, Peter McHugh bid goodbye to the AJSC Team in Steyl, I would not like just to overlook his valuable contribution to the three Congregations as an AJSC Team member for the last 15 years, through workshops, seminars, retreats, accompaniment of the tertiate and renewal groups, chapters and assemblies.


        How small the world is, and truly it is! When I joined the AJSC Team in 2004, just beginning to take feeble steps beside the strong, firm and steady steps of those who had vast experience in this field, one day in my casual talk with Peter McHugh I asked him if he knew the book on Spirituality where the image of coal is used. I was not even remembering the title of the book. I know this book which I, as a novice, had studied from the first page to the last. One thing that stayed with me was the image of the coal. “We are the pieces of coal, lying dirty, cold and lightless. Just like the coal which is transformed by the fire, the Spirit’s love transforms us.” (The Spirituality of our Founder and our Congregation [SSpS], Rome 1978) I was gripped by that symbol. I wanted to get that book in my hand again and read that section.  Peter, then without hesitating said, “Yes, I think I know it, I wrote that book”; and he went on passionately narrating the symbol. Wow! I said to myself, you are the author of that book. I was on the one hand ashamed of my ignorance. But on the other I was delighted to be with the person who had gone deep into our spirituality. I felt myself very small beside the ocean of experience that person was carrying.

        Yet here I am, very grateful for the privilege given by God, to team up with Peter McHugh for the last seven years.  It has been a wonderful experience to work with him; he reached out in a simple way to bring out the best in me. During this time I witnessed Peter’s selfless and dedicated service to the members of the three congregations. His availability never ending, he was always there to help, support and empower people.

        He has been a living message of love, respect and compassion to many in our congregations. Through his deep and thought provoking reflections, he has challenged us and has led us to a deeper missionary commitment. He is a man of few words, but with ears in his heart. With quiet and inspiring presence, with simple life-style, he makes everyone feel comfortable beside him and with his simple gestures makes one feel welcome. He is really there for the other while listening; forgetting himself and his commitments. He is truly a graced person!

        Words would not express all that Peter has been to us, to the Arnoldus Family. All the same we would like to say a Big thank you for his tireless service; for generously sharing the given talents, especially the knowledge of our founding generation and of our spirituality. Peter’s favorite theme is ‘God’s love’ and he affirmed everyone with conviction whenever he had a chance to speak about it. “If only you knew how much God loved and accepted each one of you…God’s unconditional love and acceptance despite our weaknesses and limitations. We are his most beloved sons and daughters.”

        I can truthfully say that this affirmation of God’s love truly sprang from the conviction and the experience of God’s love for Peter as a person. It is not an abstract idea; rather an experience; and whoever has come in contact with Peter will agree with me that through him flows out God’s loving compassion.

        May God continue to bless Peter with good health so that he can reach out to affirm everyone in God’s love. Peter, know that God loves you and we, too, from the Arnoldus family.

        What about you?  Do you want to meet Peter McHugh and get inflamed with the passion he has for our Missionary Spirituality? Then get hold of some of his books and articles he wrote and read them. If you have them already … may be you can deepen your reflection on them. Here is a list of the articles and books he wrote:


  • THE SPIRITUALITY OF OUR SOCIETY, A Theological Appreciation   SVD‑Manila 1975, 214 pp. bib (translations: German, Spanish)
  • THE SPIRITUALITY OF OUR FOUNDER AND OUR CONGREGATION (SSpS), Rome 1978, 136 pp. (translations: German, Spanish, and Indonesian)
  • THE SVD BROTHER VOCATION TODAY Analecta 70/SVD‑Rome 1995, 113 pp. (ed. PMcH +VvH)
  • ARNOLD JANSSEN: YESTERDAY AND TODAY Analecta  63/III SVD‑Rome 1998, 418 pp. sc 24 cm (ed. PMcH)
Verbum SVD
  1. "Formation of the Religious Missionary in the Society of the Divine Word", V 1983, 24‑3, pp. 307‑321
  2. "Report to the Thirteenth General Chapter 1988 of the Secretary for Formation/Education" V 1988, p. 401
  3. "The Development of the SVD Brother Formation" V 35‑3 1994, pp. 241‑258
  4. “Missionary Formation” V 1997 38 1-2 1997, pp. 24-44
  5. "Alive in the Spirit – Arnold Janssen’s Spirituality” V 44 2003 2-3, pp. 139-162
  6. “The Role of Missiological Education in Our Society’s Formation” DIWA 8 1984, pp. 101-117
  7. “The Divine Word” NV 1975, pp. 54‑65
  8. “SVD Missionary Formation” Sharing Our Mission 15,  pp. 7-13
  9. “The Formation of Religious Today” in For Faith and Service, ed. W. Abbot SJ, Loyola School of Theology, 1983
  10. "Think We: The Role of the Holy Spirit according to Recent Church Documents”  in The Holy Spirit in Our Missionary Life, p. 57-69, Rome 1998
  11. “Abgesandter der goettlichen Liebe” Die Anregung 2006 4, pp. 298-311
  12. “Spiritualitas Misioner Santo Arnoldus Janssen” in Madah Pujian Bagi Sabda  Ilahi, Nusah Indah, 2007
  13. "The Theological Significance of the Name of Our Society: Society of the Divine Word” in The Kingdom of the Word, pp. 79‑110 DIWA Phi.

3.  AJSC Future Vision

        The two Co-directors, Aneta and Renato, were present for the SVD-SSpS Joint Council Meeting, 17 January 2011. One of the major tasks in this meeting was to redefine the Structure for the future function of the AJSC Core-Team in Steyl.


                                                 Nature, Functions                  

1.1. Nature

   1.1.1.   The team consists of two SVD and two SSpS based in Steyl

  1.1.2.   The team is free to invite other resource persons for planning and implementing programs

  1.1.3.   The team provides for their on-going formation as team

1.2. Functions

  1.2.1.   Animate, form and collaborate with local spiritual animators

  1.2.2.   Prepare materials and programs for local spiritual animators and members of the Arnoldus Family

  1.2.3.   Network with Arnold Janssen Secretariat in Steyl in its research activities

  1.2.4.  Suggest to local animators ways to form, involve and empower our lay partners

  1.2.5.  Contribute to the ongoing formation programs sponsored by the three Congregations

  1.2.6.  Follow-up on programs implemented

  1.2.7.  Identify and encourage interested individuals to do scientific research on our history, spirituality, life and mission

  1.2.8.      Produce and collate material on the life and mission of the Arnoldus Family and make it available for members


                         Nature, Functions, Future Research Arm

2.1. Nature

  2.1.1.   Pool of resource persons available for effective spiritual animation for SVD, SSpS and SSpSAP members.  They can be flexibly structured on the basis of language or geography. If the province/region has already an existing structure that is functioning well, the structure can be continued

  2.1.2.      The AJSC team helps provincials and regionals identify resource persons from the Arnoldus Family who can serve full or part-time as local spiritual animators

  2.1.3.   These resource persons, supported and encouraged by their provincials and regionals, are to give at least some of their time during the year for the spiritual  animation of Arnoldus Family

2.2.      Functions

  2.2.1.   To assist province and regional leadership in its responsibility for spiritual animation of the members utilizing the resources of AJSC

  2.2.2.   To contextualize our spirituality into the local reality

2.3.      A Future Research Arm

  2.3.1    To set up a research arm of which the Arnold Janssen Secretariat could be the beginning.

  2.3.2    The research arm could work in collaboration with the AJSC team in the beginning and eventually be combined with AJSC to form just one team.


4. AJSC Activities

         Renato spent three months from February to April in Jerusalem for a Bible Course. He was very much satisfied to have spent this time in the Holy Land;  to see, to walk on the places where Jesus was and to study the significance of our Christian traditions.

         Peter Dusicka, Aneta and Emmie were involved with the combined renewal program in the month of March. There were 28 participants both SVD and SSpS. Having stayed for almost 3 weeks in Steyl, the group preceded to Oies and Nemi for the rest of the program. The same group had a week of retreat as part of the program in Nemi, where Peter D. and Renato helped them as guides.

        Peter Dusicka was also involved in several activities during the first semester: He attended the AGS - “ArbeitsGemeinschaftSpiritulatität” meeting in Marienburg, Switzerland. A similar meeting of the same group will be conducted in Steyl, in January 2012.

        He conducted two retreats for the SSpSAP in Slovakia, Nitra and in Steyl. Both were preached retreats, although in Steyl he also gave individual accompaniment to those in formation. The overall atmosphere of both retreats was very pleasant. 

        Then, he was invited to conduct a workshop/retreat for the SVD AFRAM Formators´ Course in Ghana which was held from 12 June to 12 July 2011, Nsawam. The themes he was asked to present were: The SVD Spirituality and Missionary Charism today; The Inner Journey towards self-Integration; The Vowed Identity as a Religious Missionary SVD Formator. There was a five day retreat for the formators’. Peter was one of the guides and he says that it was an enriching faith experience.

        Aneta attended an updating course on Spiritual Direction in St. Beuno´s, Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Wales for two and a half month. She found the whole course very beneficial and liberating; and returned back very enthusiastic with all that she learned and looks forward to utilizing her knowledge and experience in the work that is awaiting her in the AJSC.

 5.  News from the Provinces 

A year on – testimony from Ghana.

        On the 6th of April, 2011, 16 novices of the SVD in the Ghana Province completed their 30-Day Retreat Journey/Spiritual Exercises at the Divine Word Novitiate at Nkwatia-Kwahu.

        The retreat guides were: under the leadership of Fr. Andrews Aboagye Obeng, SVD, an Associate Pastor of the St. Margaret Mary Parish of Dansoman, a suburb of the capital city, Accra; Bro. McDaniel Acquaah, SVD, the SVD Vocation Promoter and also in charge of Brother Formation; Sr. Lidwina Ohe Koban, SSpS, a member of the SSpS Novitiate Community here in Ghana; and lastly, myself – George Clement Angmor, SVD, the Director of the Novices. It is noteworthy that, apart from our sister who hails from Indonesia, the rest of the team members were all indigenous Ghanaians. Perhaps, of more interest, especially, for this article, is the fact that two of the team members – Fr. Andrews and I, were both participants of the first SVD-SSpS International 30-Day Retreat Guides Workshop which took place in our Motherhouse of Steyl last year from the 13th of February to the 28th of March, 2010.

        Personally, I count it as a gracious blessing, and also empowering in my own spiritual life as well as in my apostolate of the formation ministry, to have been part of this first retreat-workshop. The workshop was experiential. At the end of their retreat-journey, our novices all found this spiritual exercise a very rich experience for them. A sample of some of their remarks: “It is for me a return to the unconditional love of God through the Son and in the Spirit”; “Before, I used to be ashamed of talking about my faith to other people, but now, I can stand firm to be a witness of the truth”; “It is an experience that will have a long lasting effect on my spiritual life”; and another writes: “I am ready to welcome the next 30-Day Retreat Journey if possible!”

        We are happy that we could implement almost fully, what we gained in Steyl, including the songs, insights, creativity, and the Jewish Seder Eucharistic Meal that was part of the liturgy for the Holy Thursday of the retreat dynamics. We had as well made our own adaptations and also added a few other elements of creativity. In brief, it was a big success story with our first implementation and we look forward to similar fruitful occasions in the future.

                                                                              George Clement Angmor


6. Keeping in Touch

You can read and download the material in the AJSC Folder which is in the Public Area on the SVD website: http://www.svdcuria.org Click on Site Map/Mapa del sitio, then click on AJSC–CEAJ. The Sisters can access the same by going to the SSpS website www.worldssps.org click Other Links then click AJSC

If you have material (articles or program modules) that could be useful in the work of spiritual animation, please send it to us and we can post it on the internet, so that others can have access to it. Send such material and also other news of your province in the field of animation, using the following address: ajscsteyl@gmail.com

With best wishes for your work,

We look forward to hearing from you.


                   Aneta, Celestina, Peter D., Renato, Emmie

The AJSC Newsletter is sent out in five language versions: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Indonesian.