SVD-SSpS MISSION ANIMATION

 BULLETIN BOARD # 58
Rome - 01 June 2004 for SSpS and SVD Mission Secretaries and Mission Animators

Happy Pentecost and Holy Trinity
from Tom Ascheman and Mary John

In this bulletin:

1. New York - VIVAT RECEIVES UN ACCREDITATION

2. Rome - SVDs AT ANNUAL PMW MEETING

3. Europe - NEW SVD MISSION SECRETARIES

4. Portugal - ANTUNES PUBLISHES GUIDE FOR PILGRIMS

5. Chicago - BEVANS & SCHROEDER ON PROPHETIC DIALOGUE

6. Afram and Europe - MEETINGS PLANNED FOR SVD MISSION SECRETARIES

 


 

1. NEW YORK - VIVAT RECEIVES UN ACCREDITATION

For several years, a team of SVD and SSpS Missionaries have been working in New York City at the United Nations. One important step is to get official recognition as a UN accredited Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).  That long sought recognition was received last week, and it is reason to celebrate.  As this first phase of the project draws to a close, we can now confidently look forward to working with many other groups at the UN to promote poverty eradication, empowerment of women, sustainable development and a culture of peace.  The accompanying story, written by Robert Arhickal SJ, celebrates the moment on May 27 when Lawrence Correa (USC), the current director of Vivat International, received the good news regarding accreditation.

This is to share with you the joy of a great moment with the SVDs at the UN!

I have been at the UN for two weeks pursuing our application for consultative status for Tarumitra. Fr. Lawrence Correa SVD preceded us much earlier with the same application starting about two years ago. He was looking for accreditation for both SVDs and SSpS under a common organization called Vivat International.

When the application came up some countries like Cuba raised questions and the case of Vivat International was deferred.

Fr. Lawrence pushed on with "an inch at a time." He answered and re-answered and again re-answered the questions put to him. It may be mentioned that the accreditation takes place when the 19 member nations committee approved unanimously. So, Cuba's veto mattered a lot. Personally it was a very tough work for Fr. Lawrence to stay on course.

This morning finally there were indications that Cuba relented. When the name came up, the distinguished delegate from Cuba kind of apologized for delaying the work so long and expressed happiness over the work done by Vivat International.

No others spoke and the Chair banged the hammer on the table and declared that Vivat had the coveted Special Consultative Status with UN!! Fr. Lawrence next to me just smiled but his smile stretched from ear to ear!

Congratulations to the SVDs and Holy Spirit Sisters and the hard work of Fr. Lawrence! Kindly pass on the good news to those who care.
 

[Further information on Vivat International can be found at the web site www.vivatinternational.org. You can write to Lawrence directly at viny@vivatinternational.org.]
 

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2. Rome - SVDs AT ANNUAL PMW MEETING

The directives for SVD Mission Secretaries encourage a generous collaboration with the local churches in mission animation and mission fund raising. The Pontifical Mission Works (PMW) is one organization with which many SVDs and SSpS have collaborated over the years.  At present, Pat Byrne (ROM) serves as Secretary General of the Holy Childhood Association, one of the groups that make up PMW. There are also several SVDs currently serving as country directors for PMW.  These include: Nicholas DeGroot (PNG), Patrisius Pa (Indonesia), Jorge Patricio Vega (Chile), Walter von Holzen (Paraguay), Tim Lehane (Ecuador), and Sandor Rostas (Hungary).  All but Sandor were able to gather in Rome for the annual PMW meeting in mid-May. The following report from Catholic World News gives a brief impression of the week-long general assembly.

Vatican, May. 16, 2003 (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II met on Friday with representatives of the Pontifical Missionary Works, exhorting them to continue in their task of "promoting and sustaining missionary ardor among the People of God."

The Holy Father encouraged the 150 participants in a general assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works, who are meeting to revise their statutes. That "important work of renewal," the Pontiff said, would help them to "adapt the statutes to the changing conditions of the times."

One of the four groups within the Pontifical Missionary works, the Pontifical Work of the Holy Childhood, is marking its 160th anniversary this year. The Pope expressed is appreciation for the group's work with young people, nourishing the seeds of missionary vocations, and said that he looked forward to the group's celebration in Rome on June 14.

[For more information write to Pat Byrne vati176@poim.va.]
 

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3. Europe - NEW SVD MISSION SECRETARIES

May 1 marked the beginning of the new triennium for the SVD European provinces. One of the first items of business for a new or returning administration is to line up people with the jobs that need to be done. Some provincial councils have already sent in their nominations for the post of SVD Mission Secretary. Unlike the other officials in a province, the mission secretary receives his appointment from the superior general. This is because a Mission Secretary has a particular responsibility to promote concern for the worldwide mission of the Society and to raise funds for distribution by the generalate.

So far mission secretaries have been appointed for the following European provinces:

ESP - Francisco Javier Donázar - mvdes@planalfa.es
NEB - Leo van der Helm - missieprocuur@hotmail.com
SLO - Jozef Roman - JRoman@softhome.net
SWI - Vinzenz von Holzen - mission@steyler.ch
POL - Tomasz Szyska - tomszysz@go2.pl

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4. Portugal - ANTUNES PUBLISHES GUIDE FOR PILGRIMS

José Antunes da Silva (POR) has recently published a guide for pilgrims from Portugal to the sanctuary at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  A Caminho de Santiago (Lisbon: Paulinas, 2004, ISBN 972-751-597-5) describes the Portuguese Road to Santiago, gives some concrete advise to pilgrims making the journey on foot or on bicycle, and offers some counsel of a more interior and spiritual nature. While weekly Church attendance has declined in the past few years, especially among young people in Europe, pilgrimages have become even more popular.  Antunes' reflections reveal an interesting approach to dialogue with "faith-seekers."

[For more information contact José at j.antunes@verbodivino.pt]

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5. Chicago - BEVANS & SCHROEDER ON PROPHETIC DIALOGUE

Steve Bevans and Roger Schroeder (USC) have recently published a text on mission theology that concludes with an interesting chapter on Prophetic Dialogue, the theme of the 2000 SVD General Chapter. Steve and Roger both teach at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. In addition, Roger is the Mission Secretary for the USC province. In Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today, (Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 2004 ISBN 1-57075-517-5, 488p) they explore the history of mission, describing a number of models of missionary activity that have emerged over the centuries.  In the process they identify six constants of mission that help to compare the models while setting them within their particular historical and ecclesial contexts.  They conclude their work with a helpful reflection on prophetic dialogue that adds some interesting perspectives on the reflections of the last General Chapter.  I quote from the closing paragraph of the final chapter:

Mission today is a "single, complex reality"(RM41). In its singleness it remains faithful to what has always been constant: the centrality of Jesus Christ, the importance of the church, the urgency of the message in the light of the world's end, the proclamation of salvation, the importance of the human person and human culture. But as a complex reality the one mission needs to be sensitive to the various movements of culture, thought, politics, and spiritual sensitivity that make up the context in which mission is lived out.  Today, we believe, mission needs to be acknowledged first of all as God's work and as a dedication to preaching, serving and witnessing to the reign of God as lived, preached and embodied in Jesus of Nazareth. It needs to be open and determined, sensitive and courageous. As the church witnesses and proclaims, prays and celebrates, works for justice for humanity and for creation, is open to people of other faith perspectives and to the context in which people live, is available as God's instrument of reconciliation - in other words, as the church lives out its radical missionary nature - our conviction is that prophetic dialogue best names the service to which God is calling it in these first years of a new century and a new millennium.  Prophetic dialogue, in other words, is the phrase that best summarizes a theology of mission for today, keeping the church constant in this context.

[For more information contact Steve Bevans at sbevans@ctu.edu and Roger Schroeder at Schroederr@aol.com.]
 

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6. Afram and Europe - MEETINGS PLANNED FOR SVD MISSION SECRETARIES

Periodic meetings of mission secretaries are an important opportunity for "ongoing formation." By sharing their plans, experiences, and hopes, and by engaging in serious discussion about our commitment to mission animation, care for missionaries and fund raising, mission secretaries further prepare themselves to fulfill the duties of their office. This year, two zonal meetings are scheduled for September - in AFRAM and in Europe.

The meeting of the European Mission Secretaries is scheduled for Munich from 20 to 25 September.  (It is probably only sheer coincidence that the meeting will be finishing just as Oktoberfest gets underway.)  Two items are especially prominent for this year's meeting:

[For more information about the EUROPA meeting contact Vinzenz von Hozen at mission@steyler.ch]
 

The first ever AFRAM Workshop for SVD Mission Secretaries will be held in Lomé, Togo from 13th to the 18th of September. The meeting will be held jointly with the SVD JPIC Coordinators of AFRAM.  The purpose of the meeting, for both the JPIC Coordinators and the Mission Secretaries, will be to help them acquire the information, ideas and orientations necessary to carry out their work. Currently all of the provinces and regions of AFRAM, except Ghana, have a Mission Secretary, but for most of them this is the first time the office has existed.  The workshop is one effort to help them get started off on the right foot.

[For more information about the AFRAM Meeting contact the Zonal Coordinator Emmanuel Kofi Fianu at fiake@africaonline.com.gh or the AFRAM  Mission Animation Coordinator, Rolando Reyes at rolexsvd@yahoo.com.]

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Items for the SVD/SSpS Mission Animation Bulletin Board can be sent to:

Tom Ascheman SVD

Mary John K. SSpS

SVD Generalate Mission Secretary

SSpS Generalate Mission Secretary

svd.missec@verbodivino.it

Missec@pcn.net