MR-NET  News #15


 19 November 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:








For ten years Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies (TICCS) has been offering a one-year Field Education Program (FEP) in African ministry.  In December, as part of the 2oth anniversary celebration of TICCS, two new two-year Masters degree program will be inaugurated. The programs are specialized in Cross-Cultural Ministry and Cross-Cultural Development.  Jon Kirby, the director of TICCS, sends the following information:


The Catholic Archdiocese of Tamale Northern Ghana and the Society of the Divine Word Ghana Province, the co-owners of Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies (TICCS), are very pleased to announce that TICCS has established two Masters Degree programs—the MA in Cross-Cultural Development in affiliation with the University of Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, and the MA in Cross-Cultural Ministry in affiliation with Akrofi-Christaller Memorial Centre (ACMC), Akropong-Akuapem.

These programs will have the distinction of being the first MA programs of an institution of the Catholic Church in Ghana. They also have the honor of being among the first ever African culture-initiated alternatives to professional training in Christian Ministry or professional training in Human Development.  Beginning from the insider’s cultural perspective and endogenous knowledge, they each take a problem-solving approach to their respective disciplines. In this they are leading the way to a genuinely African contribution to a World Church and to Global development.

The two new programs will be inaugurated by Professor John A. Kaburise, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Development Studies, and Professor Kwame Bediako, the Director of Akrofi-Christaller Memorial Centre, and launched by the Most Reverend Archbishop Gregory Kpiebaya of Tamale, on the occasion of the Institute’s 20th anniversary, the 6th and 7th of December, 2003.

These programs are the outcome of more than twenty years of determination, commitment, sacrifice and hard work.  It will be a joyous event in the annals of TICCS and an occasion to offer thanks to the Almighty.

For TICCS this is truly a joyous event.  Ten years ago we started the one year programme in ministerial field education and developed the facilities, infrastructure and staffing that were needed to run it, but the programme was not accredited.  Although strenuous efforts were made to attract students we never reached our capacity of 20 students a year. In fact from 1994-2000 we averaged only 3 a year—not enough to make ends meet.  The programme was not well-known and it was far from Accra, but the biggest drawback of all was it was not accredited.

TICCS now has a fully accredited, tried and proven MA programme.  We are hoping that our affiliation with ACMC  and with UDS will make us better known and accessible. We are working to enroll students for our opening in October 2004.

Applications for MA Programmes - From now until April 2004 TICCS will be taking applications for our MA programmes.  Applicants must hold good BA degrees from recognized institutions. Please contact the TICCS or either of our two partner institutions for the forms.

Scholarships for the MA Programmes - There will be a limited number of scholarships available for students attending our MA programmes.  For more information about the scholarships please contact the TICCS Registry or ACMC Registry.

Please spread the word. One never knows but you might be able to send some serious students our way.

The Registrar
Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies
P.O. Box 1012 Tamale NR

[You can also find more information on the web at .]

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In December a new center for the study of intercultural and interreligious dialogue will be formally inaugurated. The first director for the DIALOG CENTRUM in Olsztyn will be Adam Was. The purpose of the center is to encourage and coordinate both the scientific understanding of religions and cultures and dialogue with them. As a result, the interdisciplinary center will make room for social scientific as well as missiological and theological reflection. This SVD center will collaborate with the theological faculty of the University Olsztyn.

Some indications of the prosperous state of mission research among the SVDs in Poland is the record of some recent publications there.

Henryk Zimon, Monoteizm pierwotny, [Primitive Monotheism], Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL, 2001.  Explores the theory of primitive monotheism, with a first section setting out the theory of Wilhelm Schmidt and a second section devoted to a critique of the theory.

Henryk Zimon, editor, Religia w swiecie wspolczesnym [Religion in the contemporary world.] Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL, 2001. A well appreciated handbook of religiological issues, now in its third printing.. The work includes contributions from many SVD's including:

Andrzej Bronk, Podstawy nauk o religii [Foundations of the Study of Religion(s)] Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowego Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego 2003, pp. 472. This work explores the theoretical and methodological foundations for a scientific approach to the understanding of religious traditions. Now in a second, revised edition, the book is a result of many years of investigation into the problems connected with the methodological status of the study of religion(s), of the experience acquired by translating books on the study of religion(s) into Polish, and by lecturing on the methodology of studies of religion(s) at the Catholic University in Lublin. Some mentioned ideas have appeared earlier in separate articles.

In addition, the SVD Polish Province produces a quarterly journal of missiology and the study of religions edited by Ludwik Fas. The current issue celebrates the canonization of Arnold Janssen and Josef Freinademetz with the publication of papers presented at the University of Olsztyn at a conference titled: And the Word of God Reached the Ends of the Earth.  The articles are in Polish with summaries in English.  Contributors to the most recent issue include:

[For more information contact Ludwik Fas at  Contact Adam Was at .]

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The fourth meeting of PROJEKT EUROPA was held at St. Pius Kolleg in Munich on 8-9 November 2003.  Larry Nemer sends the following personal reflections:


I found the meeting very profitable.  The afternoon of the 8th was given over to a very brief report on the papers already prepared and a discussion of one new paper by Waldemar Wesoly on the image of mission among young people in Poland.  It was based on a survey done among the readers of our mission literature. Even among these readers (the "cream of the crop" of Polish Catholic Youth) the idea of mission was more closely linked to human development than to communicating faith in Jesus Christ. All papers meant for publication are needed by Easter 2004!

We also spent a great deal of time talking about the papers and their purpose. Through our discussion the entire process of "Projekt Europa" seemed to be clarified.  The papers are basically an analysis of the missionary situation in Europe. Our goal is to present these to the Provinces of Europe to help them decide on what specific missionary tasks they would like to focus. This group perhaps can stay together so that afterwards there can be some reflection on the missionary tasks chosen.

In our discussions we became aware of the fact that much of the same kind of thinking as ours was being done by other groups, e.g. the Southern German Province in the preparation of their Mission Statement, the under-50s, the Comboni missionaries, etc.  There should be some networking with these groups as we develop our project.

On Sunday we focused on two practical projects that we can be concerned about.  The first was helping new missionaries when they came to Europe to learn and adapt to the culture(s) of Europe and especially to help them understand the challenges of living in an international-intercultural community.  Martin Üffing made an excellent presentation on this topic.  He began by talking about the situation at St. Augustin where they have 31 students coming from 10 different nations.  The Indonesians are the largest single group: 14.  (He mentioned that they have now the largest group they could take at St. Augustin since there are only 31 student rooms available.)  There was a long discussion about what might be the best format for such an orientation and how practically it might be organised.

In the afternoon Heribert Bettscheider talked of the missionary challenges that our parish in Berlin faces.  He made suggestions about the kind of team that was needed to engage in such a mission (priests, brothers, Sisters, OTP students -- from different nations) as well as about the kind of questions that such a team would have to ask, e.g. how does one reach out to foreigners and "normal" people who are distant from Christ and the Church?  This was a very interesting discussion.  I was sorry that no one besides myself was present from the IBP to hear this discussion and take part in it since we are involved in parish ministry now in England and Ireland.

The next meeting is planned for Berlin on 1st and 2nd of May 2004.

[For more information about Project Europa please contact Heribert Bettscheider at:]

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Aditya Wacana, the SVD center for the study of Religion and Cultures located at Malang, Jawa, Indonesia has begun its second year of publishing a journal of reflections. The biannual publication includes articles in English and Indonesian, with summary abstracts in the opposite language in which the article is published. The June 2003 issue (Vol. II - No.1) has articles by a number of SVDs including Aurelius Pati Soge, Eko Yuliantoro, Paskalis Paska, Yohanes Wayan Marianta, Donatus Sermada, Peter R. Sarbini, and Ray Sudhiarsa. Many of the articles in the current number focus on issues related to interreligious tolerance - a good topic for reflection in this time of growing contact between religious groups marked by both peaceful dialogue and violent confrontation.

[For more information or to subscribe to the "Jurnal Agama dan Kebudayaan" contact the director of Aditya Wacana Institute at ]

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Ishvani Kendra will once again be sponsoring a seminar for SVD Provincials and Councillors on the theme of Prophetic Dialogue.  The seminar is scheduled for 16-20 January, 2004. The program schedule includes:

Jan. 16 - Prophets Today

Jan. 17 - Dialogue with the Poor and Marginalized

Jan. 18 - Dialogue with Laity, Women and Faith Seekers

Jan. 19 - Dialogue with the Cultures

Jan. 20 - Dialogue with the Religions

Dialogue is of crucial importance to our world and mission today. One cannot understand mission without dialogue. The Society of the Divine Word in the General Chapter 2000 called for a four-fold prophetic dialogue. It said, "What is said here will need to be further contextualized by the zones, provinces/regions, and local communities." According, to analyze and to respond to the Indian situation, Ishvani Kendra, Pune, organized a seminar from 16-19 February, 2003, on the theme, "Prophetic Dialogue" Challenges and Prospects in India."

The proceedings of the first seminar were edited by L.Stanislaus and Alwyn D'Souza and published by Ishvani Kendra/ISPCK. Prophetic Dialogue: Challenges and Prospects in India, Pune: Ishvani Kendra, 2003 (ISBN 81-7214-777-5). Contributors include Tom Ascheman, Cedric Prakash SJ, Prakash Louis SJ, Virginius Xaxa, S.M. Michael, Michael Amaladoss SJ and others who contribute articles from the depth of their knowledge and experience in the field. The forward is by Samuel Rayan SJ.  What is the matrix of this prophetic dialogue? How can a religious community respond to the challenge? This book tries to find answers to similar questions.

The book was released on 5th October on the occasion of canonization of Arnold Janssen and Joseph Freinademetz. This volume is available at Ishvani Kendra.

[For more information and to order the book write to]

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Dionisio M. Miranda, Kaloob ni Kristo: A Filipino Christian Account of Conscience. Manila: Logos Publications, 2003 (ISBN 971-510-169-0). Fr. Carlos G. Ronquillo, CSSR writes regarding Miranda's work: "I can mention three areas where Fr. Miranda has broken through in his latest work: The first is his comprehensive treatment of conscience as an important moral category in its varied areas - anthropological, social, psychological, cultural and theological. Secondly, the genius of Fr. Miranda is his serious attempt to put in our Filipino cultural matrix the various ticklish issues related to the theme of conscience in the history of moral theology. His proposed category, loobmoral, offers new doors in making conscience more understood and appreciated in the development of one's moral life. Lastly, the methodology that he proposes truly merits strong commendation. His fidelity to the theological tradition relative to conscience and his consideration of anthropological, cultural, social and psychological data complete the theological circle to give credibility to his new proposals to understand conscience in our cultural worldview. This is further affirmed when he considered the CBCP's four major documents in politics, economy, culture and spirituality in his inculturation process. [Contact Dionisio Miranda at:]

Kavunkal, Jacob, Errol D’Lima, and Mathew Jayanth, eds., Church in the Service of Asia’s Peoples, Pune: Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, 2003. This book gathers the fruits of a long process in which many from different parts of Asia reflected seriously on the Church’s service to Asia against the backdrop of the Papal document “Ecclesia in Asia” (EA) which itself was the culmination of a pilgrimage, the Asian Synod. Some selected Asian theologians respond to the invitation of EA to articulate in Asian accents the experience of Jesus Christ. [Contact Jacob Kavunkal at:]

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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