MR-NET  News #13

22 July 2003   

  SVD Mission Research Network  
Mission Secretariat - Rome   

The 15th SVD General Chapter urged that all SVD mission researchers be in very close collaboration, and to focus their study and teaching on concrete issues that can help improve our missionary service, and make it responsive to present needs. And so, this occasional email bulletin shares ideas, opinions, resources and hopes about SVD mission research.

In this bulletin:






From 28 February to 1 March 2003, the third meeting of Project Europa was hosted by St. Gabriel's in Mödling, Austria. This ongoing consultation of  mission researchers is meant to help clarify and articulate SVD missionary activity in Europe.  Larry Nemer, president of the Missionary Institute London, from the Irish-British province, sends the following report on the most recent meeting.

"There were between 14 and 18 confreres who took part in most of the discussions.  The countries represented were: Austria, England/Ireland, Germany, Slovakia, Poland and Spain. 

There were two sessions each morning and two each afternoon. The first six sessions were for the most part reports on papers that have been or are being drafted as a follow-up to the Nyssa Meeting in June 2002. The last two sessions addressed the 'practical issues' that the generalate asked the participants to discuss.

It would be hard for me to summarise the presentations that were make... let me at least state some of the things that impressed me:

There seemed to be a good bit of frustration that accompanied the discussion of practical tasks that "Project Europa" might undertake, e.g. accompanying missionaries arriving in Europe, or identifying specific missionary tasks for those arriving. There was the feeling that a different group of SVDs might have to gather to discuss these topics.


My general reaction to the meetings was quite positive. The hospitality of the St. Gabriel's community was spectacular. I was pleased to see the SVDs in Europe taking seriously the question of identifying our missionary task in Europe. I thought the right issues were being addressed, and they were being done in a most competent and scholarly fashion.

The next meeting of Project Europa is to be held in Munich, St. Pius-Kolleg, from 7 to 10 November 2003. If you would like to attend, please contact Heribert Bettscheider.

[You can contact Larry Nemer at: Contact Heribert Bettscheider at:]

Back to TOP.



Ralf Huning, currently working to complete his doctorate in Biblical Studies at the University of Paderborn, was in Rome recently to attend an annual meeting of the professional group, Evangelio e Cultura. The annual meeting, held this year in Como, Italy, usually attracts approximately 20 members of the roughly 70-strong group of scholars. This year's meeting will focus on taking stock of their efforts ten years after the death of the founder, Prof. Fritzleo Lentzen-Deis SJ. Lentzen-Deis was a professor of New Testament studies at Biblicum in Rome and at the University of Frankfort. Beginning in the 1980's, he promoted praxis-oriented, intercultural approaches to biblical interpretation.

Ralf's contribution to the meeting will be to present a paper on the relationship between the groups interests and the approaches promoted by Carlos Mesters in Latin America. He should be well prepared for the topic, given the title of his current dissertation-in-progress: Bibelwissenschaft in Dienste popularer Bibellektüre (Bible Studies at the service of popular bible reading).

Ralf indicates that, as a missionary, he finds the specifically intercultural approach of these scholars to be very attractive. He suggests that a particular contribution that SVDs may be able to bring to biblical studies is our experience of intercultural communities. Is there something distinctive in SVD readings of the Bible? If there is, Ralf would suspect that our world wide outlook and our day to day living with people of many different cultures would be likely sources of such distinctiveness.

[For more information contact Ralf Huning at:]

Back to TOP.



Christian Tauchner, the editor of the Spanish Language edition of the missiological journal, Spiritus, has asked to be relieved of responsibilities to help organize the MR-NET in the PANAM zone. He sends the following message: 

"I have served as a contact for the beginning of the Mission Research Net in the PANAM zone since 1998, admittedly with limited success? I have tried to encourage collaboration among confreres of the PANAM zone in the Net. It has been a pleasure to get in touch with you on several occasions. For future contacts with the Mission Research Net, please contact the zonal coordinator, Sergio Cerna in Chile."

The search for a new MR-NET coordinator for PANAM is underway.  Hopefully a nomination can be made at the next meeting of the PANAM executive committee. If you have some suggestions, please contact Sergio Cerna. A word of thanks to Christian for his hard work to get MR-NET started in the PANAM zone.

[Contact Sergio Cerna at:]

Back to TOP



Vincent Twomey, has recently published The End of Irish Catholicism?, Dublin: Veritas, 2003. Pp. 220. ISBN 1-85390-683-2. The book seeks to understand the present, apparently precarious situation of the Catholic Church in the Ireland of the Celtic Tiger in order to explore strategies for the future. These strategies are based on an unique analysis of the cultural conditions that produced 'traditional Irish Catholicism'. The wide-ranging discussion includes, among other things, attempts to suggest pastoral areas of renewal and new Church structures for the future. It also takes a fresh look at the at times ambiguous relationship between Church and State. In his review of the book, John Bruton, the former Prime Minister of Ireland and present member of parliament, stated: 'This is an important and very well written book, of interest to anyone concerned about the secular as well as the religious dilemmas of modern Ireland.' [Contact the publisher at  Contact Vincent at]

Gregor Neonbasu, finishing his studies in anthropology at Australian National University of Canberra, presented a paper at the Australian Defense Force Academy [ADFA] entitled, Building Peace in East Timor: The Role of the Catholic Church. [Gregor can be contacted at]

John Prior reports that the first volume of Asian Christian Theologies: A Research Guide to Authors, Movements, Sources was launched at an Asian meeting on the Contextualising of the Theological Curriculum in Bangkok, Thailand last December. Volume I: Asia Region, South Asia, Austral Asia. Volume II: Southeast Asia. Volume III: Northeast Asia. Each volume some 730 pages long . This is a major reference and research work. Edited by John C. England, Jose Kuttianimattathil SDB, John M. Prior SVD, Lily A. Quintos RC, David Suh Kwang-sun and Janice Wickeri. Asia editions published by ISPCK (Delhi) and Claretian (Manila). North American and European edition by Orbis, NY. The Orbis edition will come out at the end of 2003 when all three volumes are ready. Already received good (excellent) reviews here and there. [John can be contacted at]

Steve Bevans' Models of Contextual Theology, mentioned in the last MR-NET bulletin, came out in bahasa Indonesia almost simultaneously as the new Orbis English edition. John Prior notes that it has been published by our Ledalero publisher. It is already on demand as a text book in the 30 odd ecumenical Protestant faculties of theology.

James Heisig has recently published Dialogues: At one Inch Above the Ground, New York: Herder and Herder-Crossroad Publishing, 2003. In the introduction Jim writes: "Each of the essays in this book addresses a particular aspect of the dialogue of our times. Behind them stands the simple conviction that much of the faith of traditional religion has shifted to the secular realm, and that neither traditional religion nor the saeculum has adjusted to the situation. Both are suffering from the dislocation... It is said of the twelfth-century Buddhist poet Saigyo that he tried to live 'one inch above the ground.' This seems to me just the right posture for dialoguing with the spiritual side of disbelief: not with one's two feet planted firmly in the everyday, not walking on the clouds - but floating a thumb's length above the ground." [Contact Jim at:]

Back to TOP

For information about MR-Net activities in your Zone contact:   Send Notices for MR-NET News to:

  AFRAM - Marek Kowalik SVD 

  ASPAC - Robert Kisala SVD 

  EUROPA - Heribert Bettscheider SVD 

  PANAM - vacant

  Mission Secretary  
Tom Ascheman SVD   

SVD Mission Research Network