The mission secretariat usually organizes Easter Youth framed in the context of the new evangelization. This is usually during the Easter Week, experiencing death and passion of Jesus in a youthful atmosphere and reflection.

University Pastoral Centre of St. Joseph Freinademetz in Bratislava is a success story of the Slovak province. Established in 1997, the Centre has prepared the young generation with responsibilities in transforming society.

This year we are celebrating the Foundation Day of our Society in a unique and unusual way. The crisis caused by Covid-19 does not stop us from celebrating this day that is very dear to us. More than ever, we have all the reasons to thank God, who has been closely accompanying our Congregation, also during this crisis.

Our Society was born out of a crisis that confronted the Church in Germany prompted by a pervading political situation in that country. This situation of crisis offered an opportunity for creativity, for bringing out something new. Saint Arnold responded to those who were questioning his initiative to start a missionary congregation, saying, "We live in a time when much is collapsing, and new things must be established in their places." Trust in the Lord was Saint Arnold's habitual response to crises.

Nemi (Rome), June 22, 2014: The workshop for the new Provincials of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) began today with the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Heinz Kuluke, the Superior General and concelebrated by the four Zonal Coordinators.

The people of Central Western Queensland are facing a tough ordeal as drought continues to threaten their livelihoods and well-being. However, Fr. Ronaldo Rodriguez says he has been heartened by the generosity of people, across the Diocese of Rockhampton and beyond, to offer a helping hand to his suffering parishioners.

World Day of migrants and refugees: Interview with Fr. Naduviledathu Francis Joseph, SVD

"Today, South Sudanese refugees in Uganda exceed one million. They are houses in different refugee settlements. Most of the refugees are still in shock. They still remember horrible scenarios they have experienced: they speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, relatives being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women, and kidnapping of boys for forced recruitment."

STORIES OF REFUGEES IN SPAIN

Since the social Media started informing the rest of the world about the situation of Syrian refugees, and of the measures being taken by the European Union to receive them, a lot of stories have been published. Who are the main protagonists? children, youth, adults and aged who fled certain death in a war-torn country.


Vivat International, Spain has come to know the story of a Syrian family made up of a father, a mother and four children. They have asked us to protect their identity and for that reason, we will not publish their names here. They are Syrian refugees received by the Spanish state, and have been living for the past five months in the neighbourhood of San Cristóbal in Madrid, in a house rented and paid for by ACNUR for six months, of which five have already gone by. Whiles we think of what will happen when the aid ends, (where will they live?), they narrate the events surrounding their escape from Syria.


"Our story is the same as that of many more from my country, those who fled in order to avoid death. It took us three years and two months to make our getaway. The bombs destroyed our house, our little son who was only thirty days old, died in the bombings, together with other family relations: my father, my brother and my father in-law. We lived underground in terror, with neither food nor drink, forcing the men to venture outside during the nights into the fields to collect leaves, fruits or animals, be it a dog or a cat, anything edible for the sake of survival", recounts the refugee.


The man narrates that in the midst of so much anguish, one day hope arrived when after waiting for so long, he managed to flee with his family into Jordan, in the night, with nothing, his wife pregnant and tired, asked him to go on without her for she could no longer continue. However, clutching her by the waist and with the children in tow, they managed to finish the journey. It took them twenty days, hiding during the day and walking during the night to avoid capture.
Living crammed up in a small tent, without basic amenities and without medical assistance, the father of this "fugitive family" was forced to venture into the streets in search of sustenance for his wife and kids, but he was grabbed by the army and was maltreated and once again, despair invaded his improvised home. Light, however showed bright at the end of the tunnel, when they came into contact with ACCEM, an NGO dedicated to bettering the conditions of living of refugees, migrants and people living in precarious situations or in danger of social exclusion. The NGO explained to them the possibility of coming to Spain as refugees.


They did not think twice about it and decided immediately to accept the proposal, which through the help of ACNUR, they were able to realize, backed by the Spanish Embassy's organization of the journey, processing their passports and required documentations, until finally, five months later, they were brought to Madrid aboard a plane.


Refugees today
They lived for nine months in a refuge for refugee foreigners, their room measuring only 25m2. Now, their principal objective is to find work and live independently. Their rent will be paid for only one more month and after that, they don't know what will happen next. Meanwhile, they continue to receive help from Caritas where the wife is taking a course in literacy for immigrants.


In light of all this, one would think they would fall back into despair, but they assure us that they are contented and thankful because their children are in school and are well received. However, they have a message for those who wield the power to decide on their situation and that of other migrants and refugees in the world: "Let the borders be opened, and may justice be applied equally for all".By: Vivat International España

By. Vivat International, Spain

By: Modeste Munimi, SVD.

The immigrants form part of the daily panorama of our cities, estates and Churches. In the faces of the immigrants we contemplate the image of Christ who said: “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me” (Mt 2: 35).

The recent events in the news make us see the migratory phenomenon like an inevitable drama for many people that don’t have any alternative. Melilla (Spain) is almost an evident tragedy. In recent months, hundreds of immigrants have attempted to storm the 6m-high border fence. It is the major attempt registered until now.

Melilla is only a tip of the iceberg to know that there are a lot of stories behind the people who come from other countries and cultures, seeking to survive or give a better future to their families from a far.

Despite their illegal situation, the immigrant is a human being, created and loved by God. Therefore, he has his dignity and rights. Crossing borders to look for a better life, the immigrant leaves behind a family, relatives, friends, etc. The new hard situation makes him begin life all over again; look for a job and integrate himself into a new society, different from his. It is something not always simple, but possible, thanks to the work of many non-governmental organizations, associations, Caritas and religious congregations. The congregation of The Divine Word Missionaries is one of them.

Father Marcel Kakrabah-Quarshie, a Ghanaian Divine Word missionary, started two years ago with a group of 10 south-Saharan immigrants in the parish of Our Lady of Carmen in the estate of Su Eminencia in Sevilla. Today, the group has hundreds of immigrants, originating from Nigeria and Ghana. In the beginning, they were meeting on Saturdays to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in English. After the mass, they meet in the parish hall, where they take some refreshments and share their joys and sorrows.

“It is the only moment of the week that I experience interior peace. I forget the daily sufferings and struggles. The time in the mass celebrated by Fr. Marcel and later the sharing with the other brothers who live in the same situation like me, give me back hope”, confesses one of the immigrants.

 

casa de todos

(Fr. Marcel Kakrabah-Quarshie, SVD at the center)

Slowly by slowly, the group has been expanding and more than the service offered in the parish, there is the Association Casa de todos (the House of All). This is an initiative by three congregations, among which is the congregation of the Divine Word. In this association, they offer training for both Spanish and immigrants’ families in risk of social exclusion. Spanish language courses, psychological attendance and job advice, are among the many areas of service they have. In doing this, there is participation and assistance of qualified personnel and of course a good number of volunteers.

 

IMG_0030 casa de todos 4

Nowrot Piotr, a musician and an organist, entered the Society of the Divine Word in 1974 after completing his studies in theology and sociology at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. His passion for music started when he was a child. He sang as a contralto and as a tenor in a children’s choir in Poznan when he was eight until he was nineteen.

He observed that music is closely related to religion, for the fact that Jesus, the apostles and even the Virgin Mary along with the church have been singing throughout the generations. At the moment, he claims that this discipline is “one of the methods for the new evangelisation.” The life of Nowrot Piotr is pure art in a family that has great affection for culture and the arts.

The image of an iceberg is often used to illustrate how much of cultures, contexts, and life situations are below the surface—that is, about 90%. Sincere attempts to acknowledge, understand, appreciate and bridge the differences among nationalities, ethnicities, “races”, generations, genders, personalities, and economic/social classes requires looking under the “water level.” That area can seem to be unclear, overly complex, and even contradictory at first, whether we are looking at our own “world,” but especially when plunging into the depths of the “world” of the “other.” And yet as Catholics and as missionaries, we believe that God’s grace and life can be discovered “in the depths” of those “worlds” of meaning, order and identity.

"I'm back after a journey of many surprises and tiredness. I went with a catechist to a place where we do not have communities but we were there to see the chances to start one.

Heinz Kulüke: Currently the Superior General of the Divine Word Missionaries; before he was a Professor of Philosophy and a garbage hunter, together with the marginalized children of Cebu, in the southern part of the Philippines.

Imagine a typical African village. A village named Kpowé is of that nature, which is in the northern part of Togo. The nearest small town is some 10 km away. The source of water for people in this village is the Binah river, which runs 6 km away from the village. In summer, men dig small holes here and there in the river, and the women folk wait until water appears. 

“Janvikas Society” is an NGO based in Indore, in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. It was started in the year 2001 as an organ for social action in Indore by the India Central Province of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD).

Santa Cruz! Finally, we make it to hogar (orphanage). I think it’s about 1.30 am, middle of the night. The climate is hard. Very hot, tropical air surrounds us. I can’t fall asleep. I am a classic winter being, can’t stand high temperatures. I go to my room, lie down on my bed with a glimpse of hope, that maybe somehow will manage to catch some sleep. But there’s another problem.

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