Fr. Stephen Huffstetter visits the Region

After a hiatus of two years, Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, the General Vicar, was finally able to visit the communities of the Region. He arrived in Montréal on September 11, Ottawa on September 13 and Toronto on September 15. In the picture he is shown with the Ottawa community.

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Fr. Greg Murray’s new address

Fr. Greg Murray will begin his new ministry on July 3rd, 2021, in the Archdiocese of Gatineau (St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Columban, St. Malachy and Our Lady of Victory). He will be residing at St. Aloysius Gonzaga: 

300 de l’Abbé-Murray St. Gatineau, QC  J8P 4Z4

Tél.: 819-663-5244 Fax: 819-663-2078

 Best wishes for his new ministry.

Le P. Greg Murray commencera son nouveau ministère le 3 juillet 2021 dans l’Archidiocèse de Gatineau (St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Columban, St. Malachy et Our Lady of Victory). Il résidera à St. Aloysius Gonzaga:

 

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Fr. Greg Murray leaves Montréal and returns to Ottawa

La communauté de Montréal s’est réunie dimanche soir, 20 juin, pour un souper d’au-revoir au P. Greg Murray, qui commencera dans les prochaines semaines, un nouveau ministère dans l’Archidiocèse de Gatineau. Pour l’occasion, les PP. Roger Phaneuf et Richard Woodbury s’étaient déplacés pour rejoindre les résidents du boul. Gouin. La soirée s’est déroulée autour d’un bon repas préparé au BBQ. Le P. Greg a quitté Montréal lundi, le 21 juin, pour rejoindre la communauté d’Ottawa en attendant d’emménager dans un presbytère de la région de Buckingham, avec le P. Élie Muzungu Kasongo.

The Montreal community gathered on Sunday, June 20, for a farewell dinner to Fr. Greg Murray who will begin a new ministry, in a few weeks, in the Archdiocese of Gatineau. On this occasion, Frs. Roger Phaneuf and Richard Woodbury, joined the residents at Boul. Gouin for a nice meal cooked on BBQ on the porch. Fr. Greg left Montreal on June 21 to join the Ottawa community before moving in a parish in or near Buckingham, with Fr. Elie Muzungu Kasongo.

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Richard Woodbury 50ième anniversaire

Aujourd’hui, 16 mai 2021, marque le 50ème anniversaire d’ordination du P. Richard Woodbury. La communauté de Montréal a célébré cet événement en invitant le Père Richard à présider l’Eucharistie du vendredi 14 mai à la résidence du boulevard Gouin. Originaire de Grenville, Québec, le Père Richard a exercé son ministèredans cette région, comme professeur puir directeur des élèves au Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur de Pointe-au-Chêne (maintenant Grenville-sur-la-Rouge) et à Hawkesbury (Ontario), Saint-Philippe d’Argenteuil, Grenville et Brownsburg-Chatham. Toutes nos félicitations!

On May 16 Fr. Richard Woodbury will celebrate his 50th anniversary of ordination. On May 14 – as the pictures show – he celebrated at the community in Montréal. On Sunday it will be remembered – with all the reservations of COVID-19 – in the parish of Grenville. We look forward to be able to celebrate his dedication and service at a possible Assembly in September. Congratulations and thank you, Richard.

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Paulin Makiala completes his studies

On Sunday the Ottawa community celebrated the completion of the program of studies of Fr. Paulin Makiala. Fr. Paulin presided at the Eucharist with its zoom extension to the Dehon Sunday Community. In his homily Fr. John van den Hengel connected Fr. Paulin’s stay to the Sunday Gospel of the true vine: “Fr. Paulin has been a moment of growth and joy for us. It has been fascinating to watch how from being a stranger to us – except through the bond that we have as members of the same Congregation – to entering fully into our community. His has been the kind of process that the Gospel talks about – the slow, at times painful, but also joyful becoming part and parcel of our lives together. Now he is part of our vine; he brought his life-force with him and mixed it with ours and he has enriched us with his care, his joy, his smile and laughter, and his picking up on things that us older guys find more and more difficult to do. He has now completed the studies for which he came to Canada (that is the reason for asking him to preside today.) But he completed more than his studies in these past three years. He became part of us. For however difficult it is, he brought with him the word of the Letter of John of today: he taught us his faith in the name of Jesus but also his central commandment: Love one another just as he has commanded us. So we hope that even when he might go back to the Congo, he will continue to abide with us in the power of Jesus. We congratulate you this day, but we also thank you, Paulin.”

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Closed borders open educational opportunities

Fr. John (center) meets with the SCJ students in Vietnam

While the pandemic has closed most borders, it has opened up a world full of educational opportunities.

The District of Vietnam has five SCJs preparing for final vows; they will make their final profession on the feast of the Sacred Heart, June 11. Fr. Francis-Vu Tran, SCJ, district superior, reached out to Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, to see if he could provide a few sessions for the program. Fr. John is a member of the Ottawa community in the Canadian Region, about 8,500 miles (13,700 kilometers) away from the students’ desks in Vietnam.

With the help of the internet, Fr. John held four video-conference sessions for the Vietnamese SCJs between April 13-22. Time zone differences had the students and teacher meeting at the same time, but at different ends of the days. The students were in front of their computers at 8:00 pm, while Fr. John was next to his at 9:00 am.

The topic of the sessions focused on the social work or the social spirituality of Fr. Leo John Dehon; Fr. John said that the topic was chosen by Fr. Francis-Vu.

“It was interesting to note that the Vietnamese had little awareness or understanding of the French context out of which Fr. Dehon came and which determined much of his activity and vision,” said Fr. John.

“All of the Vietnamese had their formation in the Philippines and so language was not a problem,” he continued. Two of the Vietnamese –– Vincent Thoan Van Do and John Hung Dinh –– had done a pastoral year in Toronto. Paul Linh Hai Le had spent time in Dublin. “It was quite a cosmopolitan group!”

Bringing the Dehonian charism to an Asian context

Fr. John said that “the challenge of such a presentation is to allow the Vietnamese to get beyond the literal vision of Fr. Dehon and his engagement in the social sphere and to interpret it within an Asian context with a totally different history and culture – and politics! How do you translate Fr. Dehon’s notion of ‘pure love,’ which animated his social engagement, into the complex environment of Vietnam?”

He said that the Zoom sessions allowed for interaction between the students and presenter, “but it would have been a joy to have been able to sit in the same room in Ho Chi Minh City and to probe their vocation to the charism of Leo Dehon.”

Fr. John added that COVID-19 has had a much different impact on Vietnam than on many other countries. There have been only 2,843 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 35 deaths. Closed borders and other restrictions have been credited for controlling the virus. “While the Province of Ontario is in lockdown, the students in Vietnam are now fairly free in their movements.”

 

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Letter of Fr. Gustave

 

REGION DU / OF  CANADA

Dear confreres,

Today we are entering Holy Week, a special time in our journey of faith and perhaps in our personal history, given the context in which we will live this highlight of the Church. Many people will not be able to celebrate Easter as they would have liked, especially because of the Coronavirus Pandemic which affected us through the confreres who experienced it directly by contracting the virus or indirectly by providing spiritual, moral, psychological and material support to those who need it most, starting with the members of our respective communities before extending this solidarity to a much wider circle: our parishioners, our families, friends and acquaintances. We cannot yet say that the worst is over because the threat is omnipresent with the third wave on the horizon, but we must gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the international scientific community to put in place vaccines that make us dream of seeing the end of the tunnel and coming out in the months that follow. It is for this reason that I encourage confreres who wish to do so not to hesitate to take the vaccine once they are eligible according to the criteria setup by the health services, and to those who have already received it, all my congratulations despite the sometimes discouraging speeches surrounding these vaccines.

In relation to the life and activities of our region, the regional council and some commissions have met several times to plan or decide on certain issues relating to the smooth running of our entity. Most recently, the Regional Council invited Father Peter McKenna scj to speak about his apostolate with immigrants here in Canada and the work of the North American Immigration Commission. We salute their efforts and their concern to work to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters who are in need and especially in search of the regularization of their status in Canada. Welcoming and accompanying immigrants or asylum seekers is everyone’s job because by this act we not only give a concrete face to Jesus, but also we respond effectively to his invitation: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Mt 25:35).

At the same time, the Council thanked and encouraged Father Antonio Maria Resende Pereira scj in his work as responsible of vocations in our Region. Father Antonio presented his activities with optimism and he highlighted the concrete difficulties in welcoming future or potential Candidates who will knock on our doors. The issues and challenges raised will be the subject of profound analysis at our next regional assembly, since the issue of vocations is not a matter for one person but for all the members of the Region gathered in their local communities.

My dear confreres, let me now point out some news that has characterized the life of our region in recent times and which for us are signs of Providence. In this register, we place the appointment of Father Willyans Prado Rapozo scj as Administrator of St. Helen Parish in Toronto, for a period of six months at the end of which an evaluation and other proposals will be made depending on the circumstances that will arise. We are also grateful to Providence for the arrival of Father Ushindi Kambale Sahani scj, whom the province of Congo has freed to work in the Sault-au-Recollet Pastoral Unit, entrusted to the Priests of the Sacred Heart by the Archdiocese of Montreal.

Another point that we can put to our credit is the permission granted by the General Administration to our entity, to experiment a new process of appointment of the new regional administration. As a reminder, at our Regional Assembly in Kingston (August 12-15, 2019), we discussed without finding a solution, on the procedure in force and which some found very long. This task was subsequently entrusted to the regional council, which, at its council meeting on January 25, 2021, came to propose a text to Rome for ad experimentum use from the next consultation which will take place this summer 2021. The General Government welcomed this proposal, especially as it joined the practice of most of the Congregation’s entities. This is only on an experimental basis and will be evaluated in the next regional Chapter for its adoption and possible inclusion in the Regional Directory. (You’ll find the proposed text attached). I know that this text will not meet everyone’s expectations, but like any human work, it is perfectible and I ask everyone for its effective implementation and amendment when the time comes.

Dear confreres, I also take this opportunity to thank all three communities for the much appreciated work that we have done in relation to the questionnaire received from Rome in connection with our Rule of Life. The various responses have shown the interest we have in this founding text of the Congregation, which for us consists of a code of conduct and a guide for our commitment to Christ as disciples of Father Dehon.

My dear brothers in Christ, I cannot close this message without mentioning the mystery of Easter, which we will soon celebrate in special circumstances, as I pointed out at the beginning of this letter. Easter is this great passage from Darkness to Light, it is the Victory of Good over Evil; it is the victory of Life over Death. It is this good news and this message of faith that we are called to announce, starting with our own community, to encourage each other and to inspire hope in a humanity facing challenges where human beings feel left without a solution. Yes, Christ is alive forever and we are witnessing it.

It is with this optimism of the Easter message that we can dream of a better future and think that in the coming days we will be able to meet again physically as members of the Region and to celebrate our Regional Assembly next Summer or next Fall. This is my wish and that of several confreres. To all of you, I wish Good Holy Week and Happy Easter. May the Light of the Risen Christ enlighten us in our journey and in our ability to renew the “Fiat” of our Baptism and religious Consecration every day of our lives.

 

                                                                                                 

   Chers confrères,

Nous allons bientôt entrer dans la Semaine Sainte, un temps particulier dans notre cheminement de foi et peut-être dans notre histoire personnelle, vu le contexte dans lequel nous allons vivre ce temps fort de l’Église. Plusieurs personnes ne pourront pas célébrer Pâques comme elles l’auraient souhaité, surtout à cause de la Pandémie du Coronavirus qui nous a affectés par les confrères qui l’ont expérimentée directement en ayant contracté le virus ou indirectement en apportant un soutien spirituel, moral, psychologique et matériel à ceux qui en ont le plus besoin, commençant par les membres de nos communautés respectives avant d’étendre cette solidarité à un cercle beaucoup plus large : nos paroissiens, nos familles, amis et connaissances. Nous ne pouvons pas encore dire que le pire est passé car la menace est omniprésente avec la troisième vague qui pointe à l’horizon, mais nous devons reconnaître avec gratitude les efforts déployés par la communauté scientifique internationale, de mettre en place des vaccins qui font que nous puissions rêver de voir le bout du tunnel et en sortir dans les mois qui vont suivre. C’est pour cette raison que j’encourage les confrères qui le souhaitent à ne pas hésiter de prendre le vaccin une fois qu’ils sont éligibles selon les critères suivis par les services de santé, et à ceux qui l’ont déjà reçu, toutes mes félicitations malgré les discours parfois décourageants qui entourent ces vaccins.

Par rapport à la vie et aux activités de notre région, le conseil régional ainsi que certaines commissions, se sont plusieurs fois réunis pour planifier ou statuer sur certaines questions relatives à la bonne marche de notre entité.  Tout récemment, le conseil régional a invité le Père Peter McKenna scj qui a parlé de son apostolat avec les immigrants ici au Canada ainsi que les travaux de la commission nord-américaine d’Immigration. Nous saluons leurs efforts et leur souci de travailler pour améliorer la vie de nos frères et sœurs qui sont dans le besoin et surtout en quête de la régularisation de leur statut au Canada. Accueillir et accompagner les immigrants ou les demandeurs d’Asile, c’est le travail de tout le monde car par cet acte, non seulement nous donnons un visage concret à Jésus, mais aussi nous répondons efficacement à son invitation : J’étais un étranger et vous m’avez accueilli (Mt 25, 35).

Par la même occasion, le Conseil a remercié et encouragé le Père Antonio Maria Resende Pereira scj dans son travail comme chargé des vocations dans notre Région. Le Père Antonio a présenté avec optimisme ses activités en même temps qu’il a souligné les difficultés concrètes par rapport à l’accueil de futurs ou potentiels Candidats qui frapperont à nos portes. Les questions et défis soulevés feront l’objet d’analyse profonde lors de notre prochaine assemblée régionale, étant donné que la question des vocations n’est pas l’affaire d’une personne mais de tous les membres de la Région réunis dans leurs communautés locales.

Chers confrères, permettez-moi de souligner maintenant quelques nouvelles qui ont caractérisé la vie de notre région ces derniers temps et qui pour nous sont des signes de la Providence. Dans ce registre, nous mettons la nomination du père Willyans Prado Rapozo scj comme Administrateur de la Paroisse Saint Hélène à Toronto, pour une période de six mois au bout de laquelle une évaluation et d’autres propositions seront faites selon les circonstances qui se présenteront. Nous sommes également reconnaissants à la Providence, pour l’arrivée du Père Ushindi kambale Sahani scj que la province du Congo a libéré pour travailler dans l’Unité Pastorale Sault-au-récollet, confiée aux Prêtres du Sacré-Cœur par l’Archidiocèse de Montréal.

Un autre point que nous pouvons mettre à notre actif, c’est la permission accordée par l’Administration Générale à notre entité, de pouvoir expérimenter un nouveau processus de nomination de la nouvelle administration régionale. A titre de rappel, lors de notre Assemblée régionale tenue à Kingston (du 12 au 15 Août 2019), nous avons réfléchi sans trouver de solution, sur la procédure en vigueur et que certains ont trouvé très longue. Cette tâche a été confiée par la suite au conseil régional qui est arrivé, lors de son conseil du 25 janvier 2021, à proposer un texte à Rome pour une utilisation ad experimentum à partir de la prochaine consultation qui aura lieu cet été 2021. Le gouvernement général a accueilli cette proposition avec joie surtout qu’elle rejoint la pratique de la plupart d’entités de la Congrégation. Ceci n’est qu’à titre expérimental et sera évalué lors du prochain chapitre régional pour son adoption et son éventuelle insertion dans le Directoire Régional. (Vous trouverez le texte proposé en pièce jointe). Chers confrères, je sais que ce texte ne rejoindra pas les attentes de tout le monde, mais comme n’importe quelle œuvre humaine, elle est perfectible et je sollicite le concours de tout le monde pour sa mise en pratique effective et son amendement le moment venu.

Chers confrères, je saisis également cette opportunité pour remercier toutes les trois communautés pour le travail très apprécié que nous avons fait par rapport au questionnaire reçu de Rome en lien avec notre Règle de Vie. Les différentes réponses ont montré l’intérêt que nous avons vis-à-vis de ce texte fondateur de la Congrégation et qui consiste pour nous un code de conduite et un guide pour notre engagement à la suite du Christ en tant que disciples du Père Dehon.

Chers confrères, je ne peux pas clôturer ce message sans évoquer le mystère de Pâques que nous allons bientôt célébrer dans des circonstances particulières comme je l’ai souligné au début de cette lettre. Pâques c’est ce grand passage des Ténèbres à la Lumière, c’est la Victoire du Bien sur le mal; c’est la victoire de la vie sur la Mort. C’est cette bonne nouvelle et ce message de foi que nous sommes appelés à annoncer en commençant par notre propre communauté, pour nous encourager mutuellement et susciter l’espoir dans une humanité aux prises avec des défis où l’être humain se sent dépourvus de solution. Oui, le Christ est vivant pour toujours et nous en sommes témoins.

C’est avec cet optimisme du message de Pâques que nous pouvons rêver d’un avenir meilleur et penser que dans les jours à venir nous seront capables de nous retrouver physiquement comme membres de la Région pour vivre notre Assemblée régionale l’été ou l’automne prochain. Tel est mon souhait et celui de plusieurs confrères. A vous tous, je souhaite bonne Semaine Sainte et Bonnes fêtes Pascales. Que la Lumière du Ressuscité nous éclaire dans notre cheminement et dans notre capacité à renouveler le Oui de notre Baptême et de notre Consécration religieuse tous les jours de notre vie.

Montréal, March 29, 2021

Gustave Lulendo N’Dotony,scj 

Supérieur régional

 

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Père Ushindi Kambale Sahani est arrivé

Bienvenu!

Fr. Ushindi

Le Père Ushindi Kambale Sahani a finalement rejoint la communauté de Montréal ce 25 février 2021. Après presque une année d’attente, il enfin reçu l’autorisation de voyager vers le Canada. Parti de Kinshasa le 23 février, il est arrivé à l’aéroport Montréal-Trudeau, via Istambul, le 24 à 18h35. Conformément aux consignes sanitaires, il a passé un test de dépistage de la COVID-19 puis a gagné un hôtel pour y attendre le résultat. Celui-ci, négatif, est arrivé cet après-midi et il a donc pu rejoindre la communauté de Montréal pour y poursuivre sa quarantaine. Nous lui souhaitons la plus cordiale bienvenue et espérons qu’il saura apprécier les derniers jours de cet hiver canadien.

Welcome!

Father Ushindi Kambale Sahani finally joined the Montreal community on February 25, 2021. He waited almost a year to finally get the authorization to travel to Canada. He left Kinshasa on the 23 and arrived at the Montreal-Trudeau airport, via Istambul, the 24 at 6h35 PM. In accordance with the sanitary orders, he was tested for COVID-19 and went to a hotel to wait for the result of the test. This afternoon, he got the result, negative, and got permission to go to the Montreal community for the rest of his quarantine. We wish him a warm welcome and we hope he will appreciate the last days of the Canadian winter.

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Regional Council meeting: March 2: 2021

The Regional Council met virtually on March 2, 2021. It started with a review of life in the three communities.

Toronto news

  • The pandemic is still making the members cautious. Yuliwan and the others seek to stay healthy by exercises. They mostly stay at home. The community still meets twice a month on Mondays by zoom between 11:30 and 12:30. For Dehon Day the community held a day of reflection on Dehon. Fr. Andrzej Sudol led the reflection. Also, Paulin Makiala was invited to speak about reconciliation. For the day of reflection also the lay Dehonians joined.  It is hoped  that with Holy Week and Easter there may be greater flexibility for welcoming participants for religious services.
  • The Scarborough community is continuing its pastoral services with lots of telephone calls, communion services on Saturday and Sunday, scheduled daily prayers and adoration for the parishioners.  The community has decided to move their common prayer to noon.
  • The 58 High Park community has discussed their community treasury. Until now Jim Casper has fulfilled the role for a long time and it was felt that the time had come to begin considering training someone else. Fr. Yuliwan Maslim will  with Jim about the finances and the books so that his knowledge and expertise can be maintained.  .

Ottawa news

  • Fr. Herman Falke has written a memoir “A Celebration of Life in Art”. It was done at the request of Mr. Michael Walsh of Burlington who studied with Herman at king’s College in London.  The proceeds of the book will go for supporting future students at King’s College. John van den Hengel wrote the introduction. The book is now with a production company.
  • Council held a lengthy discussion about the pastoral ministry in Vanier which is about to undergo a change. In Vanier the four  Francophone parishes have amalgamated under Marie Médiatrice, of which Frère André is a part. The participation of Franco-Ontarian population of this parish has suffered a severe decline, forcing the Archdiocese of Ottawa with its new Bishop Marcel Damphouse to make some changes. The parishes were no longer financially self-sufficient. Regional Council asked Fr. Gustave to initiate a conversation with the Archdiocese to assure the future ministry of Fr. Elie Muzungu, who has been administrator of Frère André.    

Montréal nouvelles

  • The Montréal community held a day of recollection. Being unable to engage a conferencier, the  community reflected on the questionnaire on the Rule of Life-Constitutions sent by the General Administration on February 2.  
  • Maison Dehon was rented out for the first part of this year to a Ukrainian family (the mother was involved with a group of international students from Ukraine at the Séminaire last year and heads the international student project of the Séminaire). The family found other accommodations and, after a joyful celebration with the community,  left on March 1.
  • The community also reported that during the past week Fr. Ushindi Kambale Sahani from the Congolese Province had arrived in Montréal for an initial three-year appointment to the Canadian Region. The decision to transfer Fr. Ushindi  to our Region was begun in December 2019. Because of Covid-19, after he received his Canadian visa in July 2020, he could not come to Canada. After arrival he entered into a two-week in quarantine. Fr. Ushindo is bilingual since he studied in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.
  • In order to receive the vaccination against COVID-19 somewhat earlier, the Montréal community has registered with the Québec government as a home for seniors. It also means that  Public Health Québec now regularly monitors the house.
  • Br. Dieudonné has returned early from holidays in Cameroon to prevent having to undergo the new restrictions for returning travelers that was imposed by the Federal Government for early February. He returned on February 2.
  • Fr. Richard Woodbury who was in reported that the effects of COVID’19 on his voice continues. He has begun to take more vigorous physical health exercises. He also reported that the Québec government had relaxed the rules regarding gatherings which had been extremely restrictive. He though that the interventions of the Bishops of Québec and Montréal may have influenced the government’s decision. 
  • At the Séminaire the students of group 1 and 2 have classes every day at the school. The students of group 3-5  have distance learning every other day. Fortunately, there have been no COVID cases in the last three weeks at the Séminaire.

Commission Reports

Vocation committee

Fr. Antonio Maria Resende Pereira gave a report on the vocation ministry.  He indicated that he had two contacts. He presented council with a number of questions:

  • Where will future candidates live?
  • Is there a policy regarding immigrants entering the community?
  • At what minimum and maximum age will the community accept candidates?
  • Is there a history of the Canadian Region that we can give the candidates? He was told that there exists an bilingual booklet on the history of the region which he can offer to potential candidates.
  • Is there an introductory questionnaire to give to prospective candidates?
  • Can I count on all the members of the Region being in one way or another vocation directors?

Although Regional Council responded to the questions, it was suggested that  he write up his questions and present them to the council for their consideration and as a topic for the assembly of the Region in August or later this year. Fr. Antonio also asked that the members make use of Dehonian symbols to give the community higher recognition.  He also wanted to acquire other items (bookmarks, a statue of Fr. Dehon, and pamphlets). He has had little contact with the  vocation committee (Frs. Willyans Raposo, Yuliwan Maslim and Paulin Makiala) because of COVID-19. Fr. Antonio will present a budget for the vocation ministry and present it at a future meeting of Council.

Migration committee

Fr. Peter McKenna gave a report on Becoming Neighbours and the North-American Migration Commission.

  1. Becoming Neighbours

Fr. Peter provided background to the Becoming Neighbours ministry that has been in operation since 2006 mainly through the efforts of Sr. Margaret of the St. Joseph Sisters. The project has become a ministry to Refugees in the Toronto area. There are 20 religious communities that participate in the ministry. The pandemic has made the work much more restrictive but also dangerous.  The office at Presentation Manor has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. Peter stays in touch by telephone and zoom.

Fr. Peter talked about a new project: “Gathering Place” seeking the help of the Toronto Separate School Board to allow him to use a three-floor office space for refugee services. The “Gathering Place” would function  as a one-stop place where refugees can obtain all the information that is required for their status as refugees. This project has received the approval and finances from the religious communities of Toronto. Council agreed to provide monetary support of $ 5,000 to this project.

2. Migration Commission

Fr. Peter also heads the Migration Commission of the US Province and the Canadian Region. Members of the commission are Richard MacDonald (Co-chair) Mark Peters, Tony Russo, Jan de Jong, Diego Diaz and Lily Ooi. Since there is no member of the Montréal community, Fr. Gustave approached the recently-arrived Fr. Ushindi to become a member.  The commission meets four times a year. However, since the beginning of COVID – 19 the commission has met by zoom eleven times. The commission has published two brochures one on Sr. Norma  who is involved with the cross-border refugees in the Southern United States and the second, entitled “Restoring Human Dignity” which has been translated in French, Indonesian, Spanish, and Vietnamese, on the ministry to refugees . The booklet is based on the model of “ See, Judge, Act”.  Fr. Peter encouraged all to prominently display the brochures in their places of ministry.

With Mark Peters, the director of the US Social Justice Office, retiring in the near future,  the commission is looking again at its mission and hopes to attract younger members. It is putting in place a new communications strategy, with as its central theme the protection of children, many of whom have been separated from their parents, particularly in the United States during the Trump Administration. The commission also sponsors family reunification. Fr. Peter reported that normally it takes two years for refugees to be recognized as such and another three years to get accepted by countries. For African applicants it takes even longer. For African migrants there are  only three places on the African continent for refugees to be processed.

Theological Commission

The theological commission consists of John van den Hengel (chair), Gustave Lulendo, Charles Brown, and Zbigniew Morawiec.

The International Dehonian Theological Commission met  by  zoom on December 4 – 6, 2020. From this meeting came an international project to continue the topic of the 2020 Seminar SINT UNUM and to undertake a study of the situation post-COVID. Together with Fr. Manuel Antonio Teixeira of Venezuela, John van den Hengel was asked to head this project.  

In a letter sent to Fr. Stefan Tertuente and Artur Sanecki  at the end of December, Fr. Antonio and John proposed two projects: (1) a questionnaire to be sent to  the different entities of the Congregation asking their members what they had learned from the COVID -19 experience and (2) a more academic work by the members of our international community to address a number of situations affected by the coronavirus. In their meeting of February 2, the General Council did not accept the first proposal but it did the second. As a consequence the International Commission met by zoom on February 20 to discuss the academic project.

Frs. Manuel Antonio Teixeira and John van den Hengel were asked to act as editors of the project to be published by the end of 2021; The texts of the project – 25 papers to be written by the members of the Congregation on a variety of topics on the effect of the pandemic – were to be 10 pages (space and a half) in length. The proposals for papers were to be in  by April 20 of this year. The North American Commission will meet by zoom on March 18 to present their concrete proposals and possible authors.

John van den Hengel, after discussion with the members of the North American Commission, was renewed for a mandate of three-year as president of the commission. The appointment has also been confirmed by the US Province at their meeting of March 9.

Regional Directory

Fr. Richard Woodbury presented the new procedure for the change of administration for the Canadian Region. Council  accepted the new procedure to be used for the next administration. They have since then been accepted by the General Council and will be used for the appointment of the next Regional Administration this year. The full text of the process is given here.

English follows the French text

DIRECTOIRE RÉGIONAL, IV, A: STRUCTURES DE GOUVERNEMENT. 

2, e: Consultation pour une nouvelle administration régionale scj. NOUVEAU PROCESSUS. PROPOSITION.  En vue de la nomination d’un nouveau Conseil régional…               

1- Six mois avant la fin du mandat de l’administration régionale, le Supérieur régional et son Conseil nommeront un scrutateur qui devra mettre en marche le processus de consultation.

2- Le scrutateur procède d’abord à un sondage d’opinion, en envoyant à chaque membre de la Région, y compris aux profès de vœux temporaires, une liste complète des membres éligibles au poste de Supérieur Régional et de conseiller régional, de même qu’un bulletin de sondage sur lequel on peut inscrire le nom de trois candidats potentiels au poste de Supérieur  régional. Il indique aussi une date limite, soit le jour et la date  où les bulletins doivent lui être retournés. Ce sondage est fait à titre indicatif et n’a aucune valeur légale.

3- Sur réception des bulletins dûment complétés, le scrutateur compile les résultats et dresse une liste des candidats potentiels en indiquant le nombre de votes reçus par chacun. Ces résultats du sondage font alors partie d’un nouvel envoi offrant l’information sur les procédures de consultation, un bulletin de vote invitant à inscrire trois candidats au poste de supérieur régional, et quatre candidats  au poste de conseiller régional. Le scrutateur inclut également  toutes les autres indications jugées utiles ou nécessaires, dont la date limite pour le retour des bulletins de vote, soit le jour et la date.            

4- Chaque communauté locale est invitée, par son supérieur local, à se rassembler pour échanger sur les résultats du sondage, en tenant compte des vrais besoins de la Région et des candidats les plus en mesure de répondre à ces attentes et orientations de la Région. Cette rencontre ne vise ni à exercer quelque pression ni à orienter de quelque façon les choix de chacun. Durant cette rencontre, le supérieur rappelle à chacun la nécessité de respecter la date limite indiquée par le scrutateur.             

Chaque membre complète ensuite son bulletin de vote en indiquant dans l’ordre de préférence ses trois choix comme supérieur régional et quatre noms comme conseiller régional, en les justifiant, de préférence.   Il importe que les confrères respectent la date limite de retour des bulletins.                

5- Dès qu’il aura reçu les bulletins de vote, le scrutateur s’empressera de les faire parvenir au Gouvernement Général, par courrier recommandé, sans les ouvrir, préservant ainsi la confidentialité absolue du vote.        

6- Le Conseil Général examine alors les résultats de ce vote puis le Supérieur Général, avec le consentement de son Conseil, nomme le nouveau Supérieur régional. Le Conseil Général vérifie ensuite auprès du nouvel élu s’il accepte la charge de Supérieur régional. 7- Après consultation avec le nouveau Supérieur régional, le Conseil Général procède à la nomination de trois conseillers qui vont composer, avec le Supérieur régional, le nouveau Conseil régional.                              

English:

REGIONAL DIRECTORY, IV, A: STRUCTURES OF GOVERNMENT.  

2, e:  Consultation for a new SCJ Regional Administration. NEW PROCESS. PROPOSAL.   In view of the appointment of a new Regional Council   

1- Six months before the end of the term of office of the regional administration, the regional superior and his council name a scrutineer who begins the consultation process.   

2- The scrutineer proceeds with a straw vote. He will send to each member of the Region, including those in temporary vows, a list of all members eligible for the office of regional superior, together with a consultation form on which three names for the office of regional superior can be proposed. He also indicates a dead line, that is the day and the date on which the consultation forms must be sent back to him. This consultation is done as an indicative process and has no legal value.   

3- Upon receipt of the completed forms, the scrutineer will add up the results and will compose a list of the names proposed, together with the number of times each name appeared. The results of this straw vote are then part of a new mailing including all information about the consultation procedures and a consultation form on which each recipient will write down three candidates for the office of regional superior, and four candidates for the office of regional councillor.  Also to be included are all necessary and useful indications, such as the deadline for the sending back of the ballots, that is the day and the date. 

4- It would be most appropriate for each local community to meet in order to discuss the needs of the Region, and which candidate(s) might best respond to the needs and desired direction of the Region. In no way should this community meeting be an occasion for anyone to direct or pressure members into selecting a candidate from the published list. During that meeting, the superior reminds every one of the necessity to respect the deadline that the scrutineer has indicated.   Each member then completes his consultation form, indicating the order of preference of his three choices as Regional superior, and his four choices as Regional councillor, preferably giving the reasons for his choices. It is really important that the confreres respect the given deadline   

5- When the scrutineer receives the completed consultation forms, he sends them directly to the Superior general, by recommended mail, without opening them, thus preserving the absolute confidentiality of the vote.’   

6- The General Council examine the results of this vote and then the Superior General, with the consent of his Council, appoints the new Regional superior.  The General Council then checks with the new elected superior whether he accepts the charge of Regional superior.  

7- After consultation with the new Regional superior, the General Council then proceeds with the appointment of three councillors who together with the Regional superior will compose the new regional Council.

Rule of Life

On February 2 the Region received a questionnaire from the General Administration regarding the Rule of Life. The General Administration had proposed in the programmatic letter to have a new look at the Rule of Life. It now seeks to consult the various groups in the Congregation. Council decided to send the text to the communities with a cover letter of Fr. Gustave to discuss the section of the questionnaire that pertained to the communities. The members of Council were asked to gather the responses of the communities and present them to Council at a zoom meeting of March 24.

Contact with the Archdiocese of Toronto

In a report sent to Council, Fr. Jim Casper reported on a meeting  with Msgr. Thomas Kalarathil, the personnel director of the Archdiocese of Toronto on February 23, 2021 regarding the presence of the community in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Correspondence

1- Letter from the Indonesian Province

Council reflected on the letter received from Fr. Yulius Sunardi of the Indonesian Province in which he announced to us the arrival of Fr. Antonius Suedi Oki Kuncoro who will be asked to work in Canada for the next six years. It was decided that he would undertake to work in Montréal with the Indonesian community there. Fr. Kuncoro was born on April 17, 1981. In order for him to study English, he will first go to Ottawa for six months and subsequently to Montréal to study French and to work with the Indonesian community there.

2- Letter from Mozambique

Fr. Claudino da Piedade scj  from the Province of Mozambique has requested  financial help for office equipment for the Instituto Medio Agro-Industrial de Gurué. Council approved an amount of 5,000 euro. John van den Hengel, who has visited the school as a General Councillor proposed that the Mission Office take on this project for future funding.

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International Dehonian Theological Commission

An image of the members on Google Meet: Arthur Sanecki, Stefan Tertünte, Michael Augustin (Ind), Joseph Kuate (Cam), Manuel Antonio Texeira (Ven), Stephano Zamboni (It) and Jakub Bieszczad. Absent: John van den Hengel (Can)

On December4 -6 the International Dehonian Theological Commission met by Google Meet. Present were the Coordinator of Centro Studi in Rome, Fr. Stefan Tertünte, Fr. Artur Sanecki, General Councilor, and the coordinators of the commissions of the five continents. The Commission meets once a year.

Fr. General Carlos Luis gave a brief introductory statement, encouraging the commission to help the Congregation to walk in the way of our charism today in this world – so different from even a year ago.

The meeting began with a review of the activities of each of the continental theological commissions. Each commission has its own theological agenda for their meetings throughout the year, such as Asia who has begun to examine the meaning of reparation in the Asian context or Europe who has undertaken a study of Dehon’s Couronnes d’amour. This exchange of information is valuable because it allows the Commission members to see the broad range of interest of the continental commissions.

Also Centro Studi gave an overview of its activities. Some of the information of Centro Studi:

  1. The papers of the Sacred Heart Congress held at the Generalate in November 2019 have now been published in a volume with the title Sacred Heart Devotion. It has just been published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen, Germany. The academic papers were read by mainly historians and theologians. The cost of the volume is 70 euro.
  2. The book of David Neuhold on Fr. Dehon has now been translated into Italian (Stepano Zamboni), English (John van den Hengel), and Spanish (Juan José Arnaiz Ecker). The English version will also appear in digital form on the website of Centro Studi.
  3. The website of Centro Studi will also publish the biography of Fr. Dehon by Bishop Joseph Philippe, the second Superior General. The biography is noteworthy because it provides a perspective of Fr. Dehon by someone who was very close to him. As Stefan Tertünte remarked: “The last years have shown the value of the writings of Fr. Dehon. Dehon displayed a deep spiritual method.”
  4. The website has also updated the publication of the letters of Fr. Dehon. Centro Studi has uncovered more than 10.000 letters and has transcribed them. Currently his letters up to 1901 have been edited and can be found on the Congregational website.

Other topics of discussion on the agenda of the International Commission meeting were:

The Constitutions are under discussion again. A number of members of the Congregation have indicated a desire to re-read and revitalize the constitutions. They have found that the text of the Constitutions reflects too strongly the optimism of the church after Vatican II and insufficiently the contemporary way of reading our spirituality. The Commission proposed to the General Administration that a committee be set up to undertake this rereading and revitalization of the Constitutions.

The Theological Seminar on Sint Unum

The Commission also did an evaluation of the Theological Seminar on Sint Unum of last July. As a first experience of a virtual meeting, most found that the Seminar was successful. It certainly reduced the cost of holding such a seminar. Although the final statement of the seminar was highly praised, the commission found that the results of the meeting were not sufficiently practical. As a consequence, the commission asked that each member to write a 4-10 page submission on how he would apply the results of the seminar in his own area, to assess the obstacles to Sint Unum in his continent, and to consider ways of resolving the obstacles. These papers would be circulated among the members of the International Commission. The results would be presented to the General Council by June 2021.

COVID 19

Since it is the aim of the Theological Commission to promote a theological and cultural reflection on urgent, current issues, the Commission discussed each member to reflect on the impact of COVID 19 upon our lives. What have learned this past year? The result of the reflections will be passed on to the General Administration.

General Conference 2021

The General Administration also asked for input in the determination of the topic of the 2021 General Conference. Our General Directory says that during the course of the mandate of a Superior General he is to call a General Conference “of a consultative nature” (Const. 139). The Conference next year will be held in 2021 and will probably be virtual. The topic is not yet fully determined but the General Administration is thinking of having a discussion on the teaching of Pope Francis as found in Laudato si, Fratelli tutti, Evangelii Gaudium and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Christus vivit and how it might impact our understanding of the D ehonian charism. Originally a General Conference was to slated for Manilla in 2018 but with the appointment of the previous Superior General as Bishop of Hildesheim, the Conference was replaced with a General Chapter. Much has happened since 2018 and the Congregation is finding itself in a different place today. The Commission encouraged the exploration of the topic and is asking the Continental Theological Commissions to become involved in the discussions on the topic and the modality of the General Conference.

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