World mission day in our parish in Moscow in the Church of St. Olga was a memorable one.
It was spiritual program for two days: We had Holy Mass with preaching on sending disciples in pairs, the preacher highlighted the sense of mission, true love and mercy among the disciples, hope and despair in the mission, and the meaning of following God’s will in the mission. The members also had elaborate discussion on the message of Pope Francis for World Mission Day, it was inspiring and interesting to understand the importance of mission in Moscow. Workshop on “To be Missionary Means…” was new experience for the members, the Film "On the other Side of Heaven" - about one missionary and his life and mission, and mission rosary were highlight of this day. On Sunday, again we had mission rosary, adoration and Holy Mass. A discussion with lay missionaries and priests enlightened the importance of mission in their lives. These spiritual exercises gave nourishment to the lay people and helped them to deepen their spirituality. Robert Balak Mission Secretary USS Mission Sunday at Divine Word College Seminary in Epworth, Iowa started with a Sunday Liturgy presided and preached by Fr. Jim Pawlicki, SVD, the former Provincial of USS. Languages from all continents were heard during the liturgy: Bahnar (Vietnam), Ewe (Togo), French, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Arabic, Polish, Myanmar and Vietnamese. There were also liturgical dances from West Africa and Vietnam. The collection of that day will be sent to South Sudan to support our SVD mission there. After the liturgy, all were invited to the International Food Festival. This year also marked the 50th anniversary of Divine Word College Seminary; hence, to celebrate that milestone there were 50 different dishes from around the world for all (more than 300 people) to taste and to enjoy; these 50 dishes were prepared by our students, faculty, staff, benefactors and friends of Divine Word College Seminary.
Bang Tran, SVD
As it has always been, the World Mission Day celebration is a very great occasion for the youth in our TOG Province. In line with the wish of the Holy Father pope Francis, the celebration this year was full of grace and joy in our parish of the Our Lady Under the Cross at Agbalépédogan in Lomé. The remote preparation of the day was marked by a sensitization on present pastoral issues through series of talks given in the parish and its outstations, by the SVD priests working in that parish. Fathers Jean-Baptiste TCHANDAMA, SVD and Emmanuel KABATE, SVD animated a talk on “The Christian Family as the Sanctuary of Life”, while Father Marek POGORZELSKI, SVD tackled the “Life and Commitment of the Youth in the Church”. On the Mission Sunday itself, the priests in the parish supported by other priests from our Provincial House and the Postulancy Formation House celebrated masses in the parish and its outstations whereby they had the opportunity to share with the people their joy to take part in the mission of evangelization. They encouraged the faithful to also take part actively, both spiritually and materially in the realization of this missionary mandate. The day was brought to an end with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and individual and community intentions as well as the intentions of pope and together with those of the praying congregation were presented to the Lord. In union with the whole Church, we also gave thanks to God for the beatification of Pope Paul VI and the success of the extraordinary synod of bishops on family which was closed on that day. May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to bless us and accompany us in our missionary vocation!
Fr. Marek POGORZELSKI, SVD Mission Secretary of TOGO
The importance of civil society can never be underestimated. The creativity and local social network of lay people are an inestimable resource for any organisation. The Austrian Mission Office has the privilege of having been chosen as a partner for the Committee for a Universal Church in Kufstein, a small town in Tyrol with a population of about 18.000. The team had been looking for a suitable project they could support within their parish and town. They wanted to be subjects of change and work on a specific topic. After hearing about the shocking situation of the girl child in India (with special regards to education and violence, access to health services and legal justice), they decided to support a pilot project proposed by Fr. Bali Reddy SVD (then DWSS director in INH). The project is an awareness program for the approximately 7.000 female students, their teachers and parents of 14 SVD schools of Andhra Pradesh (INH) – a courageous initiative by the SVD to improve the situation and self-confidence of girls. The Committee for a Universal Church is committed to raise funds for the first part of the awareness program, which will continue and be transferred to other SVD provinces after evaluation. Since the team lives and works in the same city, they have altogether different possibilities of going about things than a centralised mission office. The committee organised several events, one of which I will describe here: the charity jazz brunch: Set in the town theatre (free of charge because the mayor was asked to help), they set 60 places for a brunch. Guests were asked for an admission price of € 15,-. The buffet consisted of part donations of local bakeries and farms, part self-made products like jam. The jazz band was asked to perform free of charge. Additionally, the committee had asked local businesses to donate for an auction (among them: a restaurant voucher and a voucher for a weekend with an electric BMW). That means, that people who had already paid for the brunch, donated money, once again for a good cause. Most donors prefer to support specific, often material help, that is easily verified. Donating money to pay a student’s school supplies, a cow, or seeds for a family is appealing because the donor has the certainty of having contributed something essential. Therefore, it is all the more admirable to support an awareness program for which the committee wants to create – yet again – awareness. Working with committees or groups of volunteers is an investment. Franz Pilz Mission Procur
Mission Sunday Celebrations in Kenya-Tanzania Province We, the Divine Word Missionaries in the province use the occasion of Mission Sunday to promote and strengthen the mission awareness among the parishioners where we work both in Kenya and Tanzania. The tradition was kept up on Mission Sunday this year 2014 too. On the Mission Sunday the fratres from our Common Formation Centre (C.F.C), Nairobi, Kenya, visited different parishes served by us to promote mission awareness among the Christians, to remind them of their missionary spirit and participation in the mission of Christ as baptized Christians. The fratres also used the occasion to share with the Christians on how we the Divine Word Missionaries share the mission of Christ through various apostolates all over the world. They also invited and requested the Christians to help them to fulfill the missionary mandate that they would embark upon when their turn comes, by their prayers and other material support where possible. They distributed mission envelopes to all the willing Christians who wish to donate any amount that would support their missionary formation and journey to be the future missionaries. This visit by the fratres to the parishes and missions on Mission Sunday also has an AD INTRA dimension. This visit helps them to mould themselves to be future missionaries; it reminds them that they share the same Mission of Christ; they would serve all Christians equally just like Christ did and that the Christians would take care of them in simple ways and gestures like contributions. This visit by the fratres is also an occasion for us the Divine Word Missionaries to show to the Christians of our charism of INTERNATIONALITY in a special way as the fratres are from different nationalities and cultures. Prepared by FR. AMALDOSS RETHINASAMY
Divine Word Seminary in Nagoya celebrated its annual open house to coincide with the World Mission Sunday. It is a special day of thanksgiving for all those who have supported our mission here in Japan Province, especially to our seminary friends, benefactors and mission partners, who have constantly and generously journeyed with us with their prayers and financial assistance. The program started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist officiated by the Rector Fr. Marianus Pale Hera, SVD. One of the major attractions in the program was the guided tour of the seminary, part of the tour is an exhibit especially prepared for the celebration as an expression of the mission of the SVD, in Japan and in the rest of the world. If the theme is to be summed up in one word, it must be INTERCULTURALITY. A map of the world and of Japan showing our presence in different places reveal how vast the scope of our mission is. Pictures of our Japanese confreres who have worked and are presently working abroad sparked some enthusiasm and interest for the foreign missions. A video of the centennial celebration of the SVD and SSpS in Japan was also presented. The guests particularly enjoyed going through the Holy Bible in several languages, which were gathered together from members of the community. Since we also have members in our seminary community from other religious congregations, the exhibit included introductions about Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Guadalupe Missionaries, and Clerics of St. Viator, as well as the SVD, expressing our connectedness with one another, and the unity of our mission with the mission of Christ. The one day open house celebration ended with everyone gathering together once again where we started−at the main chapel−to pray together and meditate before the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration.
Dindo Santiago SVD Mission Secretary