Meeting of the North American Councils

Group photo of NORAM Dec 2019“We are here not only to continue a tradition, but also to commit ourselves to the future of our congregation in North America,” said Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, in his opening remarks at the December 6 meeting of the administrations of the US Province and Canadian Region. The two councils met for their twice-a-year meeting at the Best Western hotel near the airport of Toronto. The two councils meet to discuss the shared issues and concerns but also just to stay in contact with one another and find ways of collaboration. This time the convener was Fr. Gustave Lulendo, the first time that he hosted the event.
Among the issues discussed: internationality (living and ministering together as an international congregation), migration (Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, updated the councils DSC_0012on the work of the North American Migration Committee), the Dehon Study Center in North America (how to continue to support and enhance the work of the center, as well as the Dehonian Associates Office), the North American Theological Commission (in particular, its preparations –– in collaboration with other continental commissions –– for the July 12-17, 2020 SCJ Theological Conference in Cameroon), a commitment to continue the North American Dehonian Retreats, youth ministry (tentative plans for campus ministry in the United States, youth retreats with the Indonesian community in Toronto, and the 2022 World Youth Day in Portugal), and vocation promotion (the entities hope to seek more collaborative efforts regarding vocation development; the Canadian Region recently developed a vocation committee that has a new social media project: “DehonianWay”.

Pictured above are the participants at the meeting: Fr. Ed Kilianski, Fr. John van den Hengel, Fr. Paul Tennyson, Fr. Quang Nguyen, Fr. Jack Kurps, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, Fr. Richard Woodbury, Fr. Vien Nguyen and Fr. Yuliwan Maslim.

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Meeting of the Regional Council

1. On Tuesday November 26, 2019 the Regional Council met at Dehon House in Ottawa.
2. Reports of the communities
a. The Toronto community reported that in the coming year the ministry of UKI in the Toronto region will have existed 40 years. It will be celebrated in the month of April. Fr. Yuliwan also visits the Indonesian community in Calgary at least once a year. This community consists of about 100 persons. The Toronto communityDSC_0054 welcomed into its midst Fr. Petrus Maruanto who will be doing studies for a doctorate in education at OISE of the University of Toronto. Currently he is studying English in order to be accepted into the University. The community also let it be known that the renovation of the rectory of St. Thomas More is continuing. The garage is back in operation after a lengthy rebuild.
b. Fr. John van den Hengel reported on the two retreats he gave in Indonesia in the month of October. From Indonesia he travelled to Rome to participate in the International Theological Commission and the Congress on the Sacred Heart. At the Congress he delivered a paper entitled Leon Dehon’s Sacred Heart in Light of the Figure of Wisdom.
c. Fr. Gustave Lulendo reported
i. on his visit to India. He greatly appreciated greatly the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the District of India which was celebrated in the community house of Eluru. It had involved all the confreres of the District. He also had a chance to visit the other houses in Andra Pradesh. He also reported on his visit to Rome with the other major superiors. He had been part of the introductory week with those major superiors who had only recently begun their ministry.
ii. The next General Conference will be held in 2021 in Philippines. It will be on the same topic as the Conference that had been planned for 2018 but which had to be cancelled to make possible a General Chapter. The main focus of the Conference will be on the social spirituality of our founder.

d. The Montréal community reported that Br. Dieudonné Tchouteu has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had been taken to hospital on the morning of the meeting. Later we learned that he is suffering from a cancerous prostate. His doctors have advised him to take his holidays in Cameroon in December-January. After his return, he will undergo surgery. The community also reported that Fr. Louis Marie Butari has obtained the renewal of his visa allowing him to stay in Canada and to continue his work in the Unité pastoral. The community will hold an Advent retreat on December 2 as a follow-up of the regional assembly of last August.
3. NORAM meeting
In preparation of the next NORAM meeting in Toronto on December 6, the council set the agenda. The meeting will be held at the Best Western Hotel near the airport of Toronto.
4. General Visitation
In August 2020 (August 17 – 27) Fr. General and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter will hold a general visitation of the Region of Canada. The visitation will begin with a visit of the communities followed by a Regional Assembly (August 24 – 27). The theme of the Regional Assembly will be determined at the next meeting of Council.
5. The future of Maison Dehon in Montréal.
As reported above, the Montréal community met in October to discuss the future of Maison Dehon. The community put forward some options. Council decided to invoke the expertise of Peter Berkers and ask him to provide with some proposals regarding not only Maison Dehon but also the other properties.
6. Changes to the Regional Directory
Fr. Richard Woodbury presented a new draft of the proposed changes to the Regional Directory regarding the consultation procedures of a new regional administration. Council decided to accept the draft as proposed. The Region will ask for a provisional approval from the General Administration so that the next consultation will be undertaken with this new process. The proposed changes will be presented for a vote of the Region at the next Regional Chapter.
7. Committee reports
– Theological committee: The Theological committee has met in October and in November. The main topic has been the contents of the next theological seminar which will be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in July 2020. The topic will be “Synodality in the context of Sint Unum”. A first draft of papers to be presented at the seminar will be discussed at the January meeting of the committee.
– Migration Committee: The Migration Committee has met several times since the last meeting. It will make a presentation at the NORAM meeting in Toronto on December 6. It also asked that its name be changed. The committee will be known as the ”SCJ Canada Migration Committee”.
– Vocation Committee. The vocation committee presented a report of its activities. Council accepted the report and approved the budget.

8. Finances :
a. Council received the letter of the General Bursar sent after his visit to the Region in September. The letter was very positive about our finances.
b. Paul Tennyson expressed the hope to have the financial statements of 2019 in by January 15 so that the reports can be passed on to Benoit Lefebvre and to Rome and to the government. He will write a letter to the communities to advise them regarding the dates. Council will meet at the end of January with the Financial Committee and Benoit and Michel Lefebvre.
c. Council will have the next financial meeting in Montreal at the end of January so that it can approve the annual statement of 2019 and review the financial file with the finance committee and Benoit Lefebvre, our accountant, and Michel Lefebvre, our investment consultant.

9. Pointe-au-Chêne
After the report by Christian Lavergne, the director of Le Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur at the last meeting of council, both the Fondation of the Seminaire and Council have met. Here is the result of the discussions to this point :
a. The Congregation accepts the Seminaire as part of its ministry in Canada. In the course of the last three years there has developed a new understanding of the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur as a ministry of community. This is based on the clear declaration of the Conseil d’Administration of the school and the efforts made by the school to connect with the Congregation. The Director of the school M. Christian Lavergne has visited our Generalate in Rome to discuss the issue with Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, the member on council for education. He has placed our logo on the walls of the school. He has participated in the schools in collaboration program in the US and has made contacts with heads of scj schools in Germany and Spain. It is quite clear that the CA of the school sees the connection with the Congregation as essential for its own future. The school has changed in perspective and the director wants to build up the school by implementing the SCJ values as described in the meeting of the SCJ schools in Valencia in 2014.
b. The Fondation of the Séminaire has already agreed to a loan in two parts.
c. On the part of the Congregation, if a contribution will be made, it would be primarily in the form of a loan which we would ask the Fondation to manage.
d. To help its financial situation, the school has made efforts to attract international students. Up this point, 8 Ukrainian students have visited the school. Other efforts will be made to increase this number of international students.
e. The number of students from the region around Pointe-au-Chêne who have registered for next year at this point is 75. If the same number of registrations is achieved in each of the next four years, the school should be able to meet all its financial obligations.
f. Richard Woodbury will meet with the Fondation in the near future. He will ask Christian Lavergne to clarify his request to the Congregation. Paul will discuss with Michel about the possibilities of a contribution by the Region.

10. Correspondances et cas particuliers
a. Père Ushindi Kambale Sahani: At the meeting in Rome, Gustave talked with p. Albert Lingwengwe, Provincial of the Congolese Province, about a possibility to send another Congolese confrere to work with the community in Montreal. The decision was made by the Congolese Province in October to send pere Ushindi to Canada. P. Ushindi will apply for a visa at the end of November so that he can come to Canada in the beginning of next year. His stay will initially be for three years.
b. Indonesia : The Regional Superior has also spoken with the Indonesian provincial about the possibility of sending someone from Indonesia to help with the Indonesian community in Montréal. The Provincial has indicated the possiblity of someone coming to Montréal next year.
c. Brazil : The Regional Superior spoke with Fr. Ronilton of the Sao Paul Province regarding the payment of the Brazilian pension. He requested that we pay for the pension og Brazilian nationals. Gustave will find out how much we are owed. The amount will be paid through the General Bursar.
d. Angola : the District superior of Angola Bienvenue met with Fr. Gustave. He made a request regarding a Dehonian Youth group (5 young people) They live with the community in Angola. They are seeking an academic formation for 5 years (approximate cost : $ 22.000 (USA)) to make them capable to work with the community but also to re-integrate them with their own families. Council decided to give them $ 5,400 for the first year. It will ask to receive an evaluation after this year for any additional contribution.
Next meeting of Council will be on Thursday January 30, 2020 in Montréal

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Major Superiors meeting in Rome

Group photo Gustave

Fr. Gustave Lulendo shared the following from the recent Major Superiors meeting in Rome. FRENCH FOLLOWS:

Dear confreres,

With the quick change of climate in Canada, where some parts of the country are already receiving their first snow, here in Rome, the nature is still giving us good weather with temperatures that allow a good work. Some confreres still enjoy walking in the mornings and evenings and others, especially fellow students, do not hesitate to practice outdoor sports.

Regarding the activities for which we came to Rome, I must admit that I am enjoying my time here by participating in the various activities organized these days. Today (or better yesterday, Thursday, for those who want precision), we have completed the training session of the new major superiors and districts superiors and it has been a great wealth. In addition to what we learned in the management of our entities, we experienced also the “We Congregation” in its aspect of internationality that greatly enriched me. The exchanges in plenary or in the corridors were very rich and inspiring.After the closing mass presided by Father Carlos Luis, our superior general, the 9 new superiors who took part in these meetings, as well as the members of the General Administration, had a supper  in the little hut behind the property and shared a nice  to delicious Brazilian meal prepared by the General Counsellor Levi (Originally from Brazil).

Tomorrow we begin the the international colloquium on “The devotion to the Sacred Heart”, which will serve as a transition before initiating the great meeting of all the major superiors of the Congregation. As if to say that we, the new superiors, had to go through an upgrading work to put ourselves on the same level as the old ones and that goes through the first session and the colloquium. On the sidelines of the meeting of the superiors, the international Dehonian theological commission met the last two days to schedule and evaluates the progress of the preparatory work for the theological seminary to be held next July in Cameroon. Father John Van Den Hengel, president of the Dehonian Theological Commission in North America took part in this meeting which will resume on Sunday after the colloquium which will certainly allow the members of this commission to make adjustments and enrich their reflections in order to give a definitive guideline with regard to this great meeting.Next week will be very busy for the 48 participants registered for the meeting of the superiors. Among the points that will be discussed, we will have the opportunity to analyze the programmatic letter proposed by the general administration which outlines the guidelines of the new general administration which will lead us during the next 5 years.

We commend ourselves to your prayers and assure you of ours, hoping to give you further news.

In corde Jesu,

Gustave

FRENCH:

Très chers confrères,

Francis and GustaveAvec le changement rapide du climat au Canada où certains coins du pays commencent déjà à recevoir sa première neige, ici à Rome où nous nous trouvons, la nature nous donne encore de beaux jours avec des températures qui permettent un bon climat de travail.  Certains confrères prennent encore du plaisir à marcher les matins et les soirs et d’autres, surtout les confrères étudiants, n’hésitent pas à pratiquer les sports collectifs dehors.

Concernant les activités pour lesquelles nous sommes venus à Rome, je dois avouer que je profite bien de mon temps ici en participant aux différentes activités organisées ces jours-ci. Aujourd’hui (ou mieux hier jeudi, pour ceux qui veulent la précision), nous avons terminé la session de formation des nouveaux supérieurs majeurs et des districts et cela a été d’une grande richesse. En plus de ce que nous avons appris dans la gestion de nos entités, nous avons pu faire l’expérience de  « Nous Congrégation » dans son aspect de l’internationalité qui m’a fortement enrichi. Les échanges en plénière ou dans les couloirs ont été très riches et inspirants.

Après la messe de clôture présidée par le Père Carlos Luis, notre supérieur général, les 9 nouveaux supérieurs qui ont pris part à ces assises, ainsi que les membres de l’Administration générale, se sont retrouvés dans la petite cabane en arrière de la propriété pour partager un repas à la Brésilienne préparé par le conseiller général Levi (Originaire du Brésil).

Demain nous commençons le colloque sur la dévotion au Sacré-Cœur qui servira de transition avant d’amorcer la grande réunion de tous les supérieurs majeurs de la Congrégation. Comme pour dire qu’il fallait que nous, les nouveaux supérieurs, nous passions par un travail de mise à niveau pour nous mettre au même diapason que les anciens et cela passe par la première session et le colloque. En marge de la rencontre des supérieurs, la commission théologique dehonienne  internationale s’est réunie pour programmer et évaluer l’avancement des travaux préparatifs du prochain séminaire théologique qui aura lieu au mois de juillet prochain au Cameroun. Le Père John Van Den Hengel, président de la commission théologique dehonienne en Amérique du nord a pris part à cette rencontre qui reprendra le dimanche après le colloque qui certainement permettra aux membres de cette commission de faire des mises au points, des ajustements et enrichir leurs réflexions en vue de donner une ligne directrice définitive par rapport à ce grand rendez-vous.

La semaine prochaine sera très dense pour les48  participants inscrits à la rencontre des supérieurs. Parmi les points qui seront traités, nous aurons l’occasion d’analyser la lettre programmatique proposée par le gouvernement général qui trace les lignes directrices de la nouvelle administration générale qui nous conduira pendant les 5 prochaines années.

Nous nous recommandons à vos prières et vous assurons des nôtres, espérant de vous donner d’autres nouvelles en temps opportun.

En union de prières,

Gustave

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Migration Committee meets in Hales Corners

On September 23/24 members of the North American Migration Committee met at the US Provincial Conference in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. The committee, whose members include SCJs and lay persons from both the Canadian Region and United States Province, has developed a wide variety of educational efforts and actions in response to what refugees and migrants are experiencing. The group is currently developing a presentation on human trafficking. Being an international, intercultural, intergenerational committee, lots of different perspectives, experiences and ideas surfaced as to how to join with members of the local SCJ communities in North America to respond to the pressing needs of migrants and refugees. Members of the Migration Committee include Fr. Jan de Jong, Mark Peters, Fr. Peter McKenna, Fr. Tony Russo, Lily Ooi, Br. Diego Diaz and Fr. Richard MacDonald. [Fr. Mac was unable to attend this week’s meeting and so is not in the photo.]71592972_10157174027615073_1904587510651027456_o

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Council meeting in Montreal

On September 9 – 10 2019, Regional Council met in Montréal, in conjunction with the visit of Fr. Luca Zottoli, the General Treasurer of the Congregation and Mr. Aldo Ivaldi, assistant. Because of the examination of the financial state of the Region, at the first part of the meeting were also present the Regional Finance Committee (Fr. Jim Casper and Fr Maurice Légaré) and Mr. Benoit Lefebvre (accountant) and Michel Lefebvre (Investments) and Mme Nicole Béland (Directrice of the Mission Office).

1. The Financial Review of 2009 – 2019

a. Investments since 2009. Michel Lefebvre gave us a copy of the revised investment portfolio. Michel gave a detailed account of his investment strategy: 13% of the investments are invested abroad, 22% in the US, rest is invested in Canada.
b. The Fiera Investments, the original investments of the Quebec Corporation prior to the amalgamation  have been transferred to the SCJ Foundation.
c. Benoit Lefebvre presented the combined statement of 2018, which council had already discussed at the last meeting. There was no additional information.
d. Rome report: Benoit Lefebvre completed the 2017 and Paul Tennyson the 2018 report of the financial report to the General Treasurer in Rome. The General Treasurer explained the origin of the form which our financial offices have found difficult to fill out. The form was reviewed in 2002.
e. Nicole Béland and the Procure des Missions. Most of the discussion was about the Annuities. There have been few new investments in the annuities since 2018. The discussion showed that a further discussion on the annuities needs to take place.
Mme Béland also presented her work in the mission office as it evolved historically. The question was asked whether it was advisable to expand the office and work more on the English side. She described the different projects that are receiving financial assistance: the well projects in Cameroon, the brick project in Congo, and JED in Cameroon. Fr. Luca indicated that there will be a meeting in Rome in 2020 of all who are working in this ministry.
g. Presentation of Fr. Luca Zottoli. His comments dealt with the following topics:
i. Directory of Intra-congregational Aid
ii. Final message of the last Chapter
iii. NAB: norms for the administration of goods.
iv. Mass intentions
v. The report of the Treasurer to the General Chapter.
h. Pensions: Should we pay to the pension fund of the country of origin of the members? Council decided at the last meeting that we should pay into the national pension funds of members working in Canada. The question was raised whether the members of the Region from other countries of origin where there is no national pension funds should also receive pension money?

2. Tour des communautés :

Montréal started the new year with a meeting on September 2 in the presence of Stephen Huffstetter, General Councilor. Mention was made of the health problems of Claude Bédard and Louis Marie Butari, both of whom had been hospitalized. Maurice Lègaré has accepted to say mass at the Sœurs de la Charité de Sainte Marie. Louis Marie has received his work permit again after being without one for several months.

The Montréal community was not able to give Council any advice egarding the future of Maison Dehon which has now been empty for a number of years. Council wishes to make a decision not only about the future of Maison Dehon but also about the other properties in Montréal. A study will be made of the deeds and property lines. For Maison Dehon, it was suggested that estimates for a renovation of the house be obtained or to get advice from a real estate person as to the possibility of the sale of the house.

Christian Lavergne, the Directeur of La Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur, gave an overview of the situation of the school regarding possible financial support of the school by the Congregation. Since 2011 there has been a decrease of students at the school (from 525 to 275). The reasons for the decrease were the declining student population in the area, the declining economy of the region, and a conflictual administration in the school. The new conseil d’administration has tried since 2016 to solve the situation through modernization of the school, increase of registration fees, search for new students, installation of a chaplain in the school, and a search for international students. This school year the registrations have increased to 75 new students. The school has taken measures to strengthen the link of the school with other schools of the Congregation (contact with Handrupp, Germany, and San Hieronimo in Spain) and the Schools in Collaboration program in the US Province.

Mr. Lavergne’s plan : in 4 years to reach a sufficient number of students to make the school viable again financially. In order to cover the current deficit the school will need the help of the foundation and the Congregation. The current deficit is $ 400.000. The desire is to have a loan of $ 2 million to cover the next four years. The Conseil of the Fondation and the Congregation have already met. Council asked Christian Lavergne to provide a more detailed calculation of the debt and a schedule of future payments and a proposal to the Fondation and the Congregation.

Ottawa : Paulin began his second year of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University. He will complete his course work this year but will need more time to write his thesis. Herman Falke has turned 91. John van den Hengel will turn 80 on October 1.

Toronto : The renovation of the rectory to fix the roof will start next month. It was unfortunate that Stephen Huffstetter came for his visit of the community on the weekend which did not permit him to attend the community meeting. Fr. Martin Kadamattu will leave for India for holidays and to attend the 25th anniversary of the District. Fr. Wills Prado Rapozo has started his master’s courses in Theology at Regis College in Toronto. Fr. Jim Casper will be giving a retreat in Kingston. Fr. Petrus Muruanto scj. from Indonesia will be following master’s courses at OISY (education). He will arrive around September 20. Fr. Albertus Joni, currently in the US, has requested to come to Montreal to learn French. He has received permission from the Indonesian provincial.

3.  Specific items :

A. Evaluation of the Regional Assembly :
The evaluation of the Regional Assembly of August showed a general satisfaction. There was a great appreciation of the presentations of Fr. André Beauchamp on the issue of the ecology. Fr. Peter McKenna wrote a letter to Council proposing three topics for future discussion in the communities. The Regional Superior, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, will write a letter to help urge the communities to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 27. It was suggested that September 27 be called Creation Day. In the letter Fr. Gustave will provide questions for community discussion.

B. Regional Directory
Fr. Gustave presented the suggestions of the drafting committee (Jim Casper and Richard Woodbury) for a new process of electing the Regional Administration. Council discussed the document and amended the text..

C. The General Treasurer announced that he will send two letters. One to the Region and one to Council re. Mission office.

E. Letter from the Treasurer of Congo requested help with the payment of tuition of seven students. Council accepted to honour the request.

Fr. Gustave will leave on October 2 for India and in November will participate in the training session and the meeting of the major superiors in Rome. The next meeting of the Regional Council will be in Ottawa on Tuesday November 26.

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Ecological reflections

From Monday August 12 to Wednesday August 15 the Canadian Region held the20190813_092339ir annual assembly in Kingston at the Sisters of Providence Spirituality Centre. Twenty members participated. Outside of the usual review of the activities of the Region, the finances, the committees, there were two main topics on the Agenda. On Tuesday morning Fr. Stephen Huffstetter gave an extensive reflection on the recently published programmatic letter of the General Administration. He outlined the origin of the document and gave the Region insight into the direction that the new Administration, elected last year, will seek to go. Fr. Stephen had spent most of the previous week visiting the Canadian communities and met with all of the members.

 

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Fr. André Beauchamp, a priest of the Archdiocese of Montréal, speaks about Laudato Si.

On Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday Fr. André Beauchamp spoke to the Assembly about the letter Laudato si of Pope Francis. He gave a reflection on the different style of the letter, inasmuch as it is addressed not to the Bishops – the usual addressees of such letters – but to all humanity. Fr. André spoke of the need of a new type of spirituality that takes into account humanity’s all important referent: the earth and our common bond with water, air and soil. He also outlined the theology of creation used by Pope Francis, giving along the way a wonderful exegesis of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. We heard once again how important it is to relate to the gift of the earth and of the cosmos that supports us and gives life, the importance to give praise and thanksgiving each day for that gift.

Wednesday evening was set aside to celebrate the jubilees of the members of the Region. Herman Falke topped the list with 70 years of religious life and 65 years of priestly life. We also remembered Peter McKenna who was remembered for his 35 years of priestly

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Fr. Herman looks back over his life in the Congregation.

life. Greg Murray was ordained 15 years ago and Willyans Prado Raposo 10 years ago. Fr. Herman preached for the occasion recalling the major shifts that his life underwent since 1949. He acknowledged how at times some of the teachings and beliefs over time came to disturb him and caused him anguish. Fr. Greg presided at the Eucharist. Afterwards the whole assembly gathered at Ramekins restaurant in Kingston for a festive thanksgiving meal.

On the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, August 15, the assembly reviewed the finances of the Region, dealt with the complex consultation process for the election of the Regional Superior and the regional bursar. Fr. Peter McKenna reviewed the work of the migration committee which has been very active during this past year. Also Fr. Willyans reported on the activity

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Fr. Paul Tennyson accepts the charge as superior of the Ottawa community

of the vocation committee who has been working hard to re-establish our vocational ministry. During the Eucharist Fr. Yuli20190815_114635(0)wan

 

 

Maslim installed the local superiors of Toronto; Aegidius Warsito, Ottawa: Paul Tennyson, and Montréal: Gustave Lulendo N’dotony.

 

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Tri returns to Vietnam

 

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Tri and his favourite food: ice cream

In the last two months, the Ottawa Community has welcomed Bui Van Tri. Tri is from the Vietnam District, He came to Ottawa to enroll in the ESL program offered by the  Ottawa Catholic School Board. On August 2 he finished the course and today, August 6, Tri returned to Vietnam. He will be starting his two-year philosophy course in September. We wish him all the best. Tri plays the organ and for the last Sundays in Ottawa, he accompanied the Sunday group in worship. The picture below shows Tri with the Sunday Worship community.

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