The teachers at the Roque González Institute, Posadas use their professional skills to share the Gospel in concrete ways. They start from the fundamental premise that education is not just knowledge, but involves how to be a responsible person in the world. Throughout their secondary education, students participate along with teachers from their corresponding classes in conferences organized by a spiritual adviser and a secretary.
The association of the "Friends of the SVD" has another reason to thank God. Two weeks after celebrating its tenth anniversary, a new group committed partnership to the association. This group involves sixteen parishioners of the Parish Saint Joseph the Artisan, of Sonahoulou, north of Benin. On April 23, 2016, training took place wherein the Statutes and Rules of Procedure of the association were also addressed.
The topic of Germany as a missionary task and opportunity united around fifty students and teachers at St. Augustine’s theological faculty in a heated reflection and exchange during a three day workshop. The Faculty organized these “study days” to include three lectures in the mornings and workshops during the afternoons, as their contribution to the “year of religious life”. Therefore, the title “Missionstand Deutschland – (Von) Den Orden aufgegeben” dealt with the dual perspective of Germany as a mission territory and opportunity.
On Saturday, October 17, 2015, Roe, a small and remote village in West Flores, was privileged to host an international celebration commemorating 50 years of quality presence of 20 Polish SVD Missionaries’ in Indonesia. The celebration was divided into two sections: A Mass of Thanksgiving and agape (getting together) with all the attendants. Those in attendance were: Fr. Andrzej Danilewicz, SVD (Polish Mission Secretary), Fr. Arlindo Pereira Dias, SVD and Bro. Guy Mazola Mido, SVD (General visitors for IDE), Fr. Tadeusz Gruca, Fr. Czeslaw Osiecki, Fr. Stanislaw Pikor and Fr. Stefan Wrosz (representatives of the 20 missionaries); Fr. Syrilus Lena (the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Ende); Poland Vice Ambassador and his wife; representatives of NTT Governor and Nagekeo Regency. There were also a good number of SVD priests, SVD brothers, religious sisters, and many lay faithful of Roe station.
The 50 years of presence of these 20 Polish SVD Missionaries was celebrated in a special way because of the unique political situation they faced in the past. At that time, Poland was under the domination of Russia and was well known as a Communist country. The Communist government didn’t allow missionaries to go abroad. At the beginning of September in 1964, Fr. Yosef Diaz Viera, an Indonesian SVD priest arrived in Poland wanting to get some Polish SVD Missionaries for Indonesia.
It was the right time because Indonesia’s Ambassador for Poland and his secretary were both Catholics. Fr. Diaz also went to Pieniezno to meet Fr. Koziel, the Provincial, in order to request for 20 missionaries as volunteers for Indonesia. At the time, there was an annual retreat in progress; so many young confreres were present for the retreat. Within a few minutes after his request was made, a list of 20 missionaries was completed. With this list, Diaz, then went back to Warsawa asking the Indonesian Ambassador to arrange a meeting with the Head of Department of Employees of Poland. The staff of the department was surprised when Fr. Diaz asked permission for 20 polish priests to be sent to Indonesia as volunteers. He stated, “We can give you engineers, doctors but where would the government take these priests from?” Fr. Diaz answered, I already have the list of the volunteers, and therefore you do not have to look for them. We only require the permission from the high authority. By the help and great effort of Fr. Diaz, the permission was granted in April 1965. By June 1965 all official arrangements were completed and on August 27, 1965, the group of the 20 missionaries arrived in Jakarta.
Fr. Leo Kleden, the SVD Provincial of IDE in his homily at Golden Jubilee, reiterated that this particular celebration is important because by the sending of the first 20 SVD missionaries from Poland to Indonesia, the possibility was made for all other congregations in Poland to send their own members as missionaries abroad. It was then a kind of a new exodus in mission sending. Leo, then thanked the governments of Poland and Indonesia and the local Church in Indonesia for the good cooperation. The event has widened the horizons of the Polish people and enabled some degree of openness of mind and heart with the perception that the Catholic Church is for all people from all generations and nations. They are now at home with the fact that the Polish Catholic Church is part of the universal Catholic Church. This aspect was captured vividly in Fr. Danilewicz’s speech.
Fr. Stanis Pikor, on behalf of 20 pioneer Polish Missionaries, thanked the Government of Poland for allowing them to go abroad and he thanked the Government of Indonesia for allowing them to live and work as Missionaries in Indonesia. He then ended his speech by saying: “If you ask us whether we would like to go back to Poland? Our answer will certainly be ‘NO WAY’. This is because we love Indonesia as much as we love our homeland.
(Translator from Indonesian: Gabriel Wangak, svd)
From the 20th 22nd of March 2015, it was organized in the Mission House and Seminary of the Divine Word Missionaries in Pieniezno the annual meeting for the Friends of Mission.
As a specific combination of POL priorities I would like to describe one of the events organized by our Fu Shenfu Migrant Centre in Warszawa. We help people there in various ways, including free classes of the Polish language.
A clean water well was recently completed for the minority ethnic people. This tribe is of the Chu Ru people in Duc Trong, Lam Dong Province. The priest who ministers to these people is an indigenious himself and his name is Francis Savier K'Roih, ministering at Da Loan Parish, of Da Lat Diocese.
The Mission Office of the Vietnam Province had initiated the project of investing a cow and a sheep for the poor families in the past two years and it has been a great success. This is how the project operates:
Our SVD Lay Partners, called as FRIENDS OF SVD, here in Kenya took initiatives to help the vulnerable and needy people in their neighbourhood during the lockdown caused by COVID-19. They contributed money from their little savings to buy different food items like maize flour, sugar, cooking oil, sanitizers, soap and masks to donate to the poor and needy families to show solidarity with them.
Dear Confreres: More than 100 countries are reported to have people infected with COVID-19, and many have died due to this virus. China is very much affected due to this virus. However, Italy draws much attention with a more than 460 deaths, and more than 9,100 people infected with this virus according to the information on 10th March. Every day, there is a notable increase of deaths and infected people.
Dear Confreres and friends, Greetings in the Divine Word! Surely, most of you, if not all, have read about, heard or seen in the news, the events surrounding the Taal Volcano in the Philippines. You may also be aware that the Arnoldian Family (SSpSAP, SSpS and SVD) have a few communities in close proximity to this volcano. Our own Divine Word Seminary (DWS) in Tagaytay and our Postulancy are among these communities. Naturally, this was already a source of concern for all of us.
Following in the footsteps of some of the Council Fathers in 1965, a group of participants in the Synod on the Amazon goes to the Catacombs of Domitilla to reaffirm the preferential option for the poor.
The PANAM Zone SVD Formators meeting was held from 18 to 24 July 2019. 26 formators and vocation promoters, coming from 10 different countries, representing all the formation stages, met in the Divine Word Mission Centre in Quito, Ecuador. This meeting takes place every three years and this year’s theme was “A Systemic and Relational Vision of a Missionary Formation. Exposition of a Human and Spiritual Formation, in the View of family ties and relations”. Fr. Higinio Yescas Martinez, SVD from Mexico Province, presented this theme.
On December 18, Saint Vito of Ezpeleta Caritas parish in Buenos Aires organized a festive lunch for the needy people. Many families and group of different age groups attended the celebration.
Wilken Fevrier is originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and entered formation for the Divine Word Missionaries at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, in August 2013. He graduated with a BA Degree in Philosophy in May 2018 and is now a novice at the Divine Word Novitiate in Techny, Illinois. Here he shares about his vocation.
From rigt to left to right Bishop Emmanuel Fianu, SVD of the Diocese of Ho, Ghana, Bishop Zeferino Zeca Martins, SVD of the Huambo, Angola, Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD from the Diocese of Bangued, Philippines, and Archbishop John Barwa, SVD of the Archdiocese of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar, India and the members of the General Council.
“The Love of Christ impels us’ (2 Cor 5:14): Rooted in the Word, Committed to His Mission".
“El Amor de Cristo nos urge” (2 Cor 5,14): Enraizados en la Palabra, Comprometidos en su Misión”.
My name is Yermith Yensy Florez Lopez, I was born on the 24 of July 1982 in a beautiful hamlet called Las Flores which belongs to the municipality of Morroa, located in the department of Sucre a few kilometers away from the capital city Sincelejo.
I was brought up in a beautiful home made up of my parents and my four siblings. My Dad Miriel Faustino Florez Solorzano a very humble, simple and respectful man with a good sense of humor was so much dedicated to his occupation on the field while my mother; Justiniana María Lopez Buelvas, as a great hardworking, generous, humble and cheerful woman was also dedicated to her tasks of the home.
As a young child, I was struck by the works of the missionaries and everything that is related to the mission and for that reason I was moved to join the Infant Missionary group at the time and later the youth group of my community Las Flores. This has made it possible for me to intensify as well as clarify my desire to become a consecrated religious missionary. Thanks to the space and agents of evangelization through whose participation and animation during the important liturgical celebrations such as the Holy Week and Christmas festivities which became the source and motivation for my vocation.
It is where I felt the call of God to become His close follower. This to me is a call which requires no delay in response, because the more it delays, the more frustrating and regretful one becomes of disobedience to God’s call. The most important thing is to have a deep moment of prayer and discernment in order to clarify and give a good response to the invitation of Jesus and at the right moment.
It is in line with this process of discernment that I wish with love and affection to thank the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Help of Christians and the Villa Bernarda, who with great dedication did not only accompanied me during my vocational discernment process but have also given me and many other young people of my community a good professional formation for the rests of our life. They accompanied me during my discernment process and have helped me to broaden my horizons towards the religious life. It is through this that I had the opportunity to get to know more closely about the Divine Word Missionaries and their charism, and thanks to my uncle Fr. Edinson Méndez,SVD for sharing his experiences with me and for the visits he made with his SVD companions to our family and community.
With a strong desire to become a consecrated religious missionary, I joined the Congregation of the Divine Word Missionaries on 28, January 2006, at the Divine word Formation House located in the city of Medellín in Colombia where I underwent my first two stages of initial formation and thus; the Propaedeutic and Postulancy for the years 2006 and 2007. This was a beautiful experience which helped me to get to know more about the Divine Word Missionaries, to discover the other horizons of pastoral evangelization, to challenge myself as a person in my desire to become a missionary and above all, to detach myself a little more from my family and community.
Later on in 2008, I traveled to Quito in Ecuador to continue with the next stage of my formation which was the novitiate. This has been another experience which allowed me to immerse myself deep into the spirituality of the congregation, with its history and foundation as well as its internationality. It was at this stage of the formation that I professed my first Religious Vows also known as the Evangelical Councils.
I later returned to Colombia in 2009 to continue my Post-Novitiate formation at the St. Joseph Freinademetz Formation House in Bogotá, where I undertook a degree programme in Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical University of Javeriana. After two years of studies at the university, I requested to undergo an Oversea Training Programme (OTP) for an intercultural and mission experience in Kenya in Africa as part of my training. My request was successfully granted and so I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya, making it necessary to abandon my studies at the university at the time for the next three years (2011-2013). It was an enriching experience which allowed me to learn a new language and culture as well as to know and live the internationality of the SVD and above all to challenge myself as a missionary.
In 2014 I successfully completed my experience in Kenya and returned to Colombia to continue with my studies till 2016 and concluded with my degree on 27 February in the following year. On 25 March of the same year 2017, I was ordained a Deacon by his Lordship Monsignor Edgardo Cedeño in the the Divine Word parish of Garcés Navas in Bogotá. I practiced my diaconal ministry in the parish of Our Lady of Las Mercedes de Vigía del Fuerte located in the Middle of Atrato. During this time, I had the opportunity to share with the Afro-Colombians and the Emberá Katios indigenous people while simultaneously preparing for my priestly ordination.
On 13 January 2018, I was finally ordained to the Priesthood in my home parish of San Blas de Morroa by His Lordship Monsignor José Clavijo Méndez of the Diocese of Sincelejo. It was one of the best and unforgettable moments for me. Among the people present were my family, my brothers from the community, the diocesan clergy and the community in general to accompanied me. This event ended with the celebration of my first Mass in my community of Las Flores, on January 14 in the place where I was born and grew up.
Finally, as a new Presbyter of the Catholic Church and a member of the Divine Word Missionary congregation, I am prepared for my new mission to Kenya, the same place where I had my intercultural and pastoral (OTP) experience earlier. I believe it will be a beautiful opportunity to return and to continue announcing the Good News of the Incarnate Word among the people of Kenya. May the Spirit of the Risen One accompany me in this mission.
Dear Confreres, Sisters and Mission Partners,
Arnold Janssen once writes “the objective of the Society of the Divine Word is to strive that the Society as a whole and in its individual members ever more faithfully fulfills the will of God. This requires firstly the greater sanctification of its members and secondly that the Society endeavor to become an ever more capable, more useful instrument in the hand of God. …” [To the Priests and Brothers in Argentina and Brazil, St. Wendel, 3 December 1901 (Janssen Reader, 2017, sec 321)]