ASPAC Triennial Gathering of Characteristic Dimension
Mission, Bible, JPIC and Communication
(November 4-9, 2013, Nong Bua Lampu, Thailand)
We, the 43 SVD confreres from 21 SVD provinces representing the
sub-zones and ASPAC Zone, gathered in Nongbualamphu, Thailand from 4-9
November 2013 to reflect, share, plan and celebrate our service to
realise better our ministries as Coordinators of the Biblical
Apostolate, JPIC, Communications and Mission Animation. Our coming
together has been enriched by the sharing of the Secretaries of the
Characteristic Dimensions through their international vision regarding
the place of our ministries as based from the direction of the 17th SVD
General Chapter; and by the experiences, good practices, dreams and
passion of Province Coordinators of the various Characteristic
Dimensions. We thank our Provincial Superiors, Zonal Coordinator, Zonal
Executive Committee, the Superior General and his Council for allowing
us to realise this august coming together to happen through their moral
and financial support. We hereby present the summary of what has
transpired during these important days of gathering.
The meeting began with the enthronement of the Bible and a prayer
service. Fr. Timothy Norton, the Australian Provincial who was the host
for this meeting welcomed the participants of the meeting.. Fr. S.M.
Michael, the ASPAC Zonal Coordinator also welcomed the EXCOM members and
the delegates and explained the dynamics of this meeting and the Time
Table. He pointed out that the orientation of this meeting is to share
the activities which are going on in the sub zonal and province level of
the four characteristic dimensions of our SVD ministries; to learn from
the activities of other coordinators; and to evolve an Action Plan for
The business session began with the presentation of the Generalate
Secretaries and Coordinators of Mission, Bible, JPIC and Communication
of their vision and expectations from the ASPAC Zone.
2. A short summary of the Presentations
a) Mission Secretary
Fr. Lazar highlighted some of the important statistical fact with
regard to the ASPAC Zone. Asia-Pacific is home to 60% of the world’s
population; and is home to major religions e.g. Islam, Hinduism,
Buddhism, and Christianity. 49.9% of the total membership of the Society
of the Divine Word comes from the ASPAC Zone. About 59.4% of the current
membership of the Society comes from the ASPAC Zone.
The Zone is faced with various challenges among which are
fundamentalism, the Negative Traits of Globalisation, and Patriarchy.
The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference noted fifteen outstanding
megatrends that shape the evangelizing of the Church in Asia.
It was against the background of the preceding data that the
priorities of the SVD 17th General Chapter were presented and also the
threefold framework for the Intergentes Mission.
How Primary Evangelization and New Evangelisation may be understood
in the ASPAC Zone?
Examples were given. There is a challenge to organise periods of
studies among lay and among confreres to explore how the New
evangelisation may better be understand and applied in the Zone. The
17th General Chapter has given concrete steps for (1) Primary and New
Evangelization [#6-7]. (2) Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue
[#8-9], (3) Family and Youth [12-13].
What are the concerns: (1) Animation (2) Care of the Missionaries (3)
Mission Funds (4) Roscommon Concensus (5) Migrant Ministry?
On SVD Parish Ministry
- Confreres in Parish Ministry: 1569 of which 592 are in ASPAC,
562 in PANAM, 228 in EUROPE, 187 in AFRAM.
- The number of parishes that exists in 2013: ASPAC 358, EUROPE
127, PANAM 298, AFRAM 99
- Mission Stations (Communities that are not ecclesiastically
erected as parishes but functions as centres of evangelization)
ASPAC 57, EUROPE 5, PANAM 9, AFRAM 25.
- Confreres in Mission Stations: ASPAC 90, EUROPE 20, PANAM 12,
Profile of an SVD Parish
- Intercultural/International SVD Community. Through International
and Intercltural community, SVD parishes give witness to unity and
- Inserted SVD Community: Understanding the context of the
place, the community lives its missionary dimension.
- Making a concrete action plan and motivating a parish to make it
as missionary parish.
- Participatory Lay Ministries. Giving opportunities for
participation and responsibility to the faithful, in order to
strengthen the sense of belonging and sharing in the duties and
challenges concerning the entire parish
- Sense of Belonging: Each community member would feel welcome,
respected, valued and loved in their individuality.
- Faith Formation: Each parish has a definite action plan towards
- Mission Week: Introducing world mission dimension and mission
needs in the parishes
- Bible Week: Organizing various Bible related programmes
- Promoting Arnold’s Spirituality:
- Celebrate the feasts of our Saints in communities.
- Organise workshops of reflection and some competitions
concerning our Saints and martyrs.
- Promoting SVD Spirituality.
- Promote the inspirational materials relating to our saints
and martyrs of their life and mission
Lay participation in SVD Ministries
There is a growing participation of lay in the SVD Ministries. They
share in the SVD Charism and collaborate with the SVD mission work.
Our Mission is to help to realise the Kingdom of God
This involves Conviction, Commitment and CONCRETE ACTION PLAN . The
zone should dream together. To bring the necessary change we need to be
Pioneers with Creativity, Pilgrims who aim for solidarity, and Prophets
that command authenticity.
“To be baptised in the Jordan of Asian religiosity and to be
crucified in the Calvary of Asian poverty.” Aloysius Pieris.
Mission is to organize
Organize people with some programmes, with vision, methodology.
Organize to share responsibility through Meetings and
Arrange programmes to implement the action plan
- Boldness of faith and martyrdom - Antonio Pernia – Are there
martyrs in our Society? How many? Why not more? Calls for radical
- Solidarity with and compassion. Blessed John Paul II's Legacy in
Misery + Mercy = Mission & SOLIDARITY
- Prophetic evangelizer
Implementing the action plan with creativity
The present methodology, aim is to be in front, and ACTION LOOKING
- Corporate Mission – with companies – with moral integrities
- Corporate missionas concept and practice with other svd
parishes, missions, projects
- Prophetic corporate missionin the province / with other
- Innovative Missions – Creative Ministries – What are they?
- Putting the last first– what are the concrete mission endeavours
for people at margins
"May you trust in God all the more, the more adverse the situation
"It is not lengthy prayers, but generous deeds that touch God’s
heart." St Arnold Janssen, SVD
Intervention by the Participants
It was suggested to add to the Profile of an SVD Parish the
following: The SVD Constitution provides for the ideal to hand in back
to the respective Dioceses parishes when they are already viable. May
this be understood not only from the point of view of financial
viability, rather that viability includes the fact that such parishes
have reached the stage of a Missionary Parish. A missionary parish is
able to form, send, support and evaluate and support, morally and
financially, lay people to minister in another missionary place.
b) Biblical Coordinator
Fr. Lukas divided his presentation into 3 parts. Part A: Ad Intra,
Part B: Ad Extra and Part C: Method or Approach.
In Part A: Ad Intra of our Congregational Directions of the XVII
General Chapter 2013, there is only one biblical reference, i.e. Eph
4:2-4 referring to 3 one body, one Spirit and one hope as the goal of
our calling by God but more reference to the Constitution of our SVD
Society as guidelines for our community life.
In Part B: Ad Extra of our Congregational Directions of the XVII
General Chapter 2013, invites us to check for ourselves from all our 4
characteristic dimensions what is our role.
What is the role of biblical apostolate? Our role according to Fr.
Lukas is to be the facilitators of the Word of God. Thus our
orientations and focus has to shift from Bile centred to more of Word
centred. Why should we do this shift? The reason for such a paradigm
shift is that our life contexts and people’s needs have to be first
looked into, and then accordingly we need to apply the text of the
bible. We have forgotten over the years the ground reality. It is not
the Text to the Life situations but Life to the Text. Bible in itself is
the product of a particular context with its own culture, language and
Theology of the Word
Word of God is much broader than the Bible itself. Word of god is not
just sola Scriptura. It is more than that. It is spread in world
religions, traditions and cultures, and in the nature. Word of God is
spread in the nature very much; therefore integrity of the creation is
In Part C, Fr. Lukas urged us to adopt social analysis approach or
method in our apostolate. In this regard he cited an example of the
Synod of Maumere Diocese where the social analysis approach was found to
Challenges of the social analysis approach
- It is found to be more difficult
- Collaborations from other characteristic dimension is required.
- Dialogue with other partners is a necessary.
Finally Fr. Lukas presented a triangular diagram putting God’s Word
in the middle; on the top end Holy Bible and Holy Quran; and on the
other two ends down, on the left Reality, on the right Community. By
this he was indicating to us that God’s word is always at the centre of
any Scriptures and not any one particular Scripture. So by social
analysis take any reality and community to that Word, thus become Word
Centred. Our apostolate should help people to discover the seeds of
God’s Word spread everywhere. Bible Coordinators have to be the real
facilitators of this process.
c) JPIC Coordinator
Fr. Daisuke gave the following presentation:
A. The importance meeting at zonal level:
- It gives opportunities of rich prophetic dialogues intra/extra
- to seek common value and practical action plan as a zone
B. Our concerns:
- The Congregational Directions of the 17thGC
- Promotion of the Culture of Life
- Indigenous and Ethnic Communities
- Reconciliation and Peace Building
- Social Justice and Poverty Eradication
- Integrity of Creation
- The Resolutions of the 17thGC
- Human Trafficking
- Collaboration with Lay partners
- Migrant and Refugee Apostolate
- Caucus meeting
- “Inter Gentes – ‘Putting the Last First’” “What God wants us
- JPIC experience & learning during formationɹprocess
C. Notes FROM questionnaire:
Not full time; No team; No interest among; confreres; No fund; No
training = Some of the good models: Lay person in the committee;
Collaboration with lay person in parish, school and NGOs; Visiting SVD
communities; JPIC integrated formation; Collaboration with other
dimensions such as radio program.
D. Requests and Expectations:
- Information sharing
- How do we share information? Ex. success stories, resources
of church documents, updates of our activities through our
- The value of sending activity report and any kind of sharing
that can be circulated.
- Initial formation: It is critical to have experience and
knowledge of JPIC during initial formation.
d) Communication Coordinator
Fr. Sonny the General Communication Coordinator right at the
beginning itself correctly observed that in our SVD Congregational
Direction of the XVII General Chapter of 2012 the term Communication
(i.e., Information Communication Technology) is found only once under
the heading Family and Youth (CD: no 1.4). But this does not rule out
the possibility and need of communication among the other characteristic
dimensions. It is in fact the underlying reality in all and among all
the four characteristic dimensions of Prophetic Dialogue of XV General
God has communicated his love for his people in the Bible in many
ways; from pillar to fire, on stony tablets and finally through the
cross itself. Initial documents of God’s such communications were oral
from an individual to community, then came the papyrus and parchments
and then gradually in the 15th century with Johannes Gutenberg came the
movable print media which the Church without shying away from it used it
for her mission. This shifted the focus of Christianity from listening
to reading, from the community to the individual, and from concrete
images to abstract theology. Then came a new technology called radio
entered the scene. This was embraced and fully made use by the Catholic
Church through the person of Fulton Sheen. In 1951 as television entered
the scene, Sheen with his program 'Life is worth Living' Mother Angelica
began the first ever Catholic Television Network; Eternal Word
Television Network (EWTN) in 1981 which today reaches to more than 146
million homes in 127 countries. Thus the church as per the signs of the
time discerned appropriately and used all these technologies.
During the last 50 years also, church once again has aptly but with
enough precautions has been using the digital explosion to communicate
and participate in god’s mission. Church entered this digital world in
1995 with her own website where only the official church documents were
made available. It was in fact a static and information loaded website
having one way communication. But the early 21st century witnessed the
evolution of new media encompassing blogs, social media, text messaging
and other digital tools. The important element of the New Media is
Dialogue and Conversation. New Media is based on interactive community.
Blog: Web logs allowing readers to interact with the original author,
forming the social backbone of the digital revolution. Friendsterwas the
first social network that was introduced in 2002. It created friends
from around the world into an online community.
This was followed by MySpace and attracted a more youth friendly
culture. In 2004 the new social networking site, Facebook was launched
by students at Harvard University as a way to connect U.S college
students. One had to have a college email to join it. The site gained
over 200 million users in its first eight months. Then in 2005 emerged
Within a year after this the micro blogging service Twitter was
introduced. This site has now over 190 million users who generate 65
million new tweets each day.
It is said that an average person spends 66 hours of his/her quality
time per month on a computer outside of work. YouTube visitors watch
over 2 billion videos every day.
Every minute 24 hours of new video is uploaded to the site. Famous
singers like Lady Gaga, Justin Beeber and Britney Spears have over 6.5
million Twitter followers. Any message twitted reaches the people on a
few seconds. The internet features over 200 million blogs. More than 75
percent of internet users read such blogs regularly.
Such an over use of the Internet also has a few negative impacts in
people’s life. It leads to: (1) Shallow relationship (2) Information
Overload (3) Rise of narcissism and pride (4) Online relativism (5)
Difficulty in prayer and contemplation: Example of Martha and Mary (5)
Multi- tasking which actually scatters and shatters a person. These
negative impacts affect anyone, mainly the youth and family very much,
leaving the church at crossroads. In spite of that, on the 43rd World
Communications Day Pope Benedict encouraged Catholics to enter the
"digital world" with courage because the Holy Father has rightly
recognized this digital world for what it is: a ripe mission field for
The world today literally lives in the digital world. Therefore the
church cannot shy away from the digital world but enter into it to use
it positively for her mission. So also we as SVDs use it to for our
In this line, Fr. Soney also pointed out our Strength as SVDs:
- We have the infrastructure and the personnel.
- Our diversity and involvement in various kinds of media.
- Each confrere who is involved in communication is doing his best
in the area of his expertise.
- Our living testimony and witness value
- Print medium is strong in Europe so also internet publications.
- We have the structure but sometimes we lack professionalism.
- Working and collaborating with laity.
- We need ongoing formation and training as media and the means of
media and technology is changing rapidly.
- How can we work together because we lack trained personnel? And
how can we work together within the Zones or Sub – Zones?
- Communication activity should be a collective effort, not one
- We need to work hand in hand with other dimensions.
- Continuity is a major challenge in many of our provinces.
Continuity today does not mean carrying out what has been done in
the past but adapting to the signs of the time and evolve and
embrace new ways and means of doing the mission.
- Often persons who are trained and working in the field are moved
to other ministries or are taken to administration.
- Communication should be introduced in our formation and proper
encouragement be given at the early stage of formation itself.
- 'iGod Today' daily reflection in Spanish.
- The contributing Provinces are: USW, CAM, PAR, ARE, USC, ESP
- SVD World website
- iGod Today 24 hour web streaming channel
iGod Today Channel
- Now we use our existing programs. We are inviting producers. We
are also having a contest for the youth and young adults to produce
programs based on the year of faith.
- We are using the videos that were submitted for the General
- Some confreres have already promised to contribute programs as
and when they produce them.
- SVD World website core team.
- Building a data base of all the confreres involved in
- Creating a Data Bank
- Collaborating with our Mission Offices
3. Sharing in the Ministry Level
After the presentation by the Generlate Secretary and Coordinators of
Mission, Bible, JPIC and Communication, there was a reporting of the
above ministries in the sub-zonal level. The Four Characteristic
Dimensions of SVD ministries shared with each other of their activities,
difficulties and future plans. This sharing was reported to the Assembly
in an Action Plan.
4. Action Plan for the Future
STATEMENT ON THE MEETING
ASPAC four SVD Characteristic Dimensions is such a very good and
fruitful event which should be continued in the years to come. It can be
made as a three year program for the zone. The participants got a lot of
inspirations through the input and report from the generalate
prespective that give us the panorama and concern of the whole Society
on the four CDs; and the reports, discussion and sharing within the
coordinators from each country/sub-zone and inter-characteristic
dimensions as well give us a lot of inputs, insight, information and
sometimes new understanding and new ways to deal with the responsibily
or taks entrusted to us by the Society. It enlarge and strenghten our
undertanding of the four charecteristic dimensions integratedly and help
us to bring it back to share with our confreres in our respective
province/region or sub-zone.
The process and the dinimac in the whole program of the meeting is
good. It really help us to actively participate and involve in the whole
ACTION PLAN MISSION ANIMATION
- Create inter-linking sharing among mission secretaries within
the ASPAC zone and with the Generalate Mission Secretary at leas
once a month (through emails)
- Fostering awareness among the confreres that the 4 CDs should be
in their life and mission (it is also a part of his responsibility)
(care for the missionaries, confrere)
- There should be proper trained and preparation for the one
appointed to be a mission secretary
- Mission secretary should be write for sharing information or
stories through the news letter of the province.
- Encourage and foster the formation (on mission) for our
lay-partners/lay-associates in the next three years (involving the
three other CDs).
- Creative way of fund raising for mission
COMMON INTERGRATED-CHARACTERISTIC DIMENSION
- The provincial superior/cousel call for the meeting with the 4
CDs regularly, at least once a year; the same meeting also in a
level of inter-province or sub-zone level.
- Prior to the meeting with the provincial superior/council, the
meeting within the four CDs should be done
- Promote and encourege the lay-missionaries partner to go to
other provinces/region or country for mission (for exposure,
assistance in teaching, or other pastoral ministry etc)
- Continue sharing resource person and materials (on 4CDs,
pastoral and spiritual) materials (themes) of retreat or
recollection for the specific group, especially family and youth
with the 4 CDs
- Create net-working among 4 CDs in the ASPAC zone for sharing
informations and materials on the 4 CDs
- At lesat once a year mission secretary invite Bible Apostolate
Coordinator, JPIC and Communicatio Coordinator to go our formation
house to give animation on 4 CD for our seminarians
- Formation in 4 CDs to be put into the (yearly) formation
- Giving talk on AJS and mission to the parishioners (regularly)
in collaboration with the AJS Team
- Looking for the possibilities for cross-cultural and
intercultural mission exposure for the youth/student inter-province
or in ASPAC zone (area) – youth missionary group
DIVINE WORD BIBLICAL MINISTRY
The ASPAC Zonal Assembly 2013 opened with the Enthronement of
the Sacred Scriptures --- an acknowledgement of its central place to
make real the Characteristic Dimensions of the Society of the Divine
The keynote expositions of the Secretaries of the Characteristic
Dimensions provided a platform for insightful sharing among the Province
The Sharing Session was a forum for listening to and learning from
one another. These were moments of learning that help fan the flame of
dedicated enthusiasm to achieve better the aim of the Ministry.
The group of Provincial Bible Coordinators agreed to have one focus
priority from among the priorities put forward by the last SVD General
Chapter between this Zonal Assembly and the next : FAMILY AND YOUTH
A DEVELOPING DYNAMIC: This Zonal Assembly in Nonbualamphu has fired
up the need to join efforts with the three other Priority Dimensions of
the SVD: MISSION ANIMATION, JPIC and COMMUNICATIONS
Workable Action Plan
- To make use of Province /District / Unit Meetings as
opportunities for Bible Sharing among confreres.
- Help create an attitude of consistency among confreres
- Facilitate to commit confreres participate in existing on-going
Biblical Formation, Conferences. Example: the “Jornada Biblica”.
- Continue holding Biblical Seminars, pursuing regular Lectio
Divina or Biblical Reflections using relevant and practical methods.
- Suggest to provincials to have a common regular meetings with
the Coordinators of the Characteristic Dimensions [CD]
- Creation of The Biblical Ministry Yahoo Group. To make use of
the up-coming SVD Website of the CD
- Where it may be viable, work with the other CD, the Youth,
Parents and other lay leaders organise and conduct Youth Camps.
- To facilitate the possibility of having Dei Verbum Course in the
ASPAC Zone tailored more to the realities and needs of the Zone, and
as a Collaborative Project of all the CDs together with Provincial
leaders of the Zone.
- Translations of existing materials from other languages to
English, Bahasa, Japanese, Chinese…. And sharing them to other
Province’s Biblical Coords.
- To help initiate the process of translating the Bible to
languages still denied of its own Bible translation in collaboration
with other knowledgeable and competent translators.
- Get the collaboration of willing lay partners to create
materials for schools.
- Establish a collaboration with existing Christian/Catholic
Marriage Groups to produce relevant and useful materials especially
for the year 2014.
Report and Action Plan Report of the proceedings of zonal meeting:
SVD ASPAC zonal meeting held at Nongbualamphu from 4-9th of November
2013 with special focus on four characteristic dimensions of the XVII
General Chapter was indeed a unique experience for the JPIC coordinators
from ASPAC zone. It was very well organized and gave a platform for all
to learn from one another the ways and methods of doing mission with the
marginalized. It was an enriching experience to listen to four
characteristic dimensions of our society in sharing our mission that
helped us to be more rooted in our SVDness (we feeling as SVDs). Today
we feel that we have one mission as SVDs with four different
characteristic dimensions of mission. JPIC as one of the characteristic
dimensions has a transformative effect in our ministry when collaborated
with other dimensions. This zonal meeting opened our eyes to the
awareness of commonality in our missions and the need to move our
confreres to imbibe the same spirit. The presence of Formation secretary
from Generalate and VIVAT representative helped us to find ways and
means to incorporate the four dimensions into the formation program and
to network effectively with VIVAT International.
Action Plans of JPIC Commission
JPIC coordinators from different sub zones drafted action plans that
are to be implemented in the coming three years based on the sharing and
discussions with four characteristic dimensions of 17th general chapter.
- Create a data bank of all JPIC activities at Province, Sub Zone
and Zonal level and share with the JPIC Generalate coordinator as
well as VIVAT International.
- Quarterly video conferencing of all JPIC Sub Zonal coordinators
along with the Generalate Coordinator through skype.
- Constant sharing of information and reports of JPIC activities
among the coordinators.
- Migration and human trafficking have been identified as the
major issue that needs immediate attention and response at the zonal
level. Through the zonal coordinator establish network between
sending and receiving PRMs of different countries. We recommend
through Execom to the superiors of PRMs to appoint personnel to work
exclusively for the migrants both at sending as well as receiving
PRMs. (Recommendations 2.1.1)
- Special effort to be made to collaborate with lay partners on
issues of JPIC.
- Organize JPIC retreat for confreres and lay associates and other
interested partners in each PRM.
- Make JPIC an integral part at every stage of formation.
- Organize capacity building programs (training) for JPIC
coordinators to equip them with the new ways and means to be
effective in the ministry.
- Promote internship as well as participation at UN Conference and
Common interdisciplinary action plan at zonal level
- Publish and make known to the world our best practices through
the help of communication dimension.
- Conduct an evaluation of formation program with coordinators of
all four characteristic dimensions in our sub zone to know how each
dimension can be effectively integrated into different stages of
- Conduct mission animation programs for young confreres on four
- Coordinators of all four dimensions could come together at least
once a year for sharing and to find ways and means to collaborate
with one another in fulfilling our common mission.
- Include zonal coordinator for formation also in the video
conferencing of JPIC coordinators.
IV. RECOMMENDATION FOR ACTION PLAN FROM SOCIAL COMMUNICATION
We the the eight socialcommunication coordinators representing India,
Indonesia, Philippines, PNG, China, Korea, Viet and Japan gathered at
Nongbualamphua from 4th – 8th November. We shared and evaluated our
ministry in social communication during last three years.
We listen to and share with confreres who are ministering in other
characteric dimensions. We recognnise and share our common concerns and
challenges, we call for more collaboration and cooperation in order to
enhance our svd identity ministries in a more effective way.
After our discussion, we recommend the following action plans for the
provincial/regional level and zonal inter-characteristic dimension
- For social communication coordinators:
- Twice a year a zonal SVD ASPAC e.letter to be published. The
content can also be provided from other characterisc dimension
coordinators. First edition will be availabe by Feb 2014
(Limited to four pages for each province/region);
- Skype conference at 10.00am (Thailand time) on 17th March
- Support and promote the www.svdworld.org.
- For the zonal inter-characteristic dimensions:
- Animating our confreres to own the characteristic dimensions
as an svd identity in order to raise the awareness toward common
- As far as possible , the characteristic dimension
coordinators to be included at the provincial/regional meeting
on regular base;
- More regular meeting to enhance the collaroration and
coperation among the characteristic dimension coordinators in
- Making a project oriented SMART plan (Specific, Measuarable,
Attainnable, Reasonable, Time frame) among the characterisc
The meeting was solemnly concluded with a thanks giving prayer
service led by Fr. S.M. Michael and proposing of vote of thanks to Fr.
Timothy Norton and his team from the Australian Province for their
dedicated and fraternal service to make this meeting successful. The
meeting also had several exposure programme to the SVD ministries in
Thailand. The participants had an opportunity to visit a Buddhist centre
to learn about other religions. The meeting came to an end with a SVD
get –together and dinner with cultural programmes at the newly built SVD
House in Nong Bua Lampu.
<< Group Photo of the Participants
Fr. Bernard Espiritu (AUS)
Fr. Robertus Mirsel (IDE)
Fr. James Raj (INH)