Antonio Maria Rezende

On Thursday we received news from Fr. Ronilton Souza de Araujo, Provincial of BSP Province of Brazil that their Council had decided on November 8 to send us a confrere to help us in our parish of Our Lady of the Rosary in Scarborough. As the message below of his upcoming ordination shows, he is a student in theology in Taubaté who will be ordained on December 15 in  Lavras Minas Gerais. He would come to Canada as his first appointment. Fr. Willyans has already been in touch with him. We wish him a hearty welcome to our Region. antonio Maria Resende

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A year later…

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Nada, Riwa and Andre surrounded by the members of the SCJ community and members of the Sunday Worship Community on Sunday evening.

On Sunday October 22 the Boulad family celebrated their first year in Canada. They had invited the community and the members of the Sunday community who had helped to 20171022_181559_resizedallow the family to become familiar to Canada and its services for a Syrian meal. It was a wonderful evening with lots of laughter. On behalf of the family Riwa Boulad thanked the sponsors and all the new friends of the family for their support. It was an emotional moment for them. They have come to love their new country and have come a long way becoming part of the mosaic that is Canada.

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NORAM meeting in Montréal


October 16 – 17 the councils of the United States and Canada met at Maison Dehon in Montréal for their biannual meeting.  The community of Montréal had prepared a wonderful, catered meal for the first evening. From the US Province Fr. Ed Kilianski, Fr. Jack Kurps and Fr. Quang Nguyen attended; from Canada it was Fr. John van den Hengel, Fr. Richard Woodbury, Fr. Maurice Légaré and Fr. Paul Tennyson. In the report on the events of the two entities, the issue of aging and the decreasing number of people upon whom one can rely on fulfilling the ministries was mentioned. The US Province indicated that of the 86 members only 29 are in full-time ministries. The US council spoke of the need to mindfully look at future commitments. The Canadian Region undertook a ten-year plan only last year.

DSC_0677Dehonian Family: In North America the lay interest in the Dehonian spirituality has grown in the past few years. In the USA there are now groups in Texas, Mississippi, and Wisconsin. Some of them are employees of the Province but others are interested in this spirituality for their personal lives. Also the Canadian Region has developed a group in St. Thomas More parish in Scarborough, among the Indonesian UKI group and the Becoming Neighbours ministry. At the meeting a graph found in The Spiritual Path (Year 4, meeting 40) was distributed to clarify what type of groups we want to develop and what is their relationship to the SCJ Congregation. According to the graph developed by Fr. Virginio Bressanelli, the Dehonian Family is an independent group which derives its spirituality directly from Fr. Dehon’s charism while other groups, such as groups of employees derive their spirituality from the Congregation. The meeting expressed the hope that at some point we might be able to organize a North American meeting of lay Dehonians and of people interested in the Dehonian charism. The NORAM meetings will continue to follow the progress of this venture.

Immigration Committee: Peter McKenna, the co-chair of the committee, had provided a report on their activities. The Committee has been very active in the past half year. At the June assembly of the US Province, Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, executive director of Catholic Charities in the Rio Valley and Barbara Graham, director of Legal Services for Immigrants for Catholic Charities of Milwaukee, gave presentations. At the October assembly of the Canadian Region the committee had again been present and showed a video of Sr. Norma, who spoke of working with Latino immigrant children at the US-Mexican border. At the Canadian assembly Joe Gunn, executive director of Citizens for Public Justice, presented the Canadian immigration situation. After the Canadian Assembly, the immigration committee met with the Ottawa and Montreal communities to talk with them about their sponsorship programs of two Syrian families. The committee will continue its efforts to strengthen the membership of the committee by inviting younger members and by developing an action program for the SCJ communities in North America.

Theological Commission: John van den Hengel gave a report on the recent meeting of the theologians of the congregation in Yogyakarta in Indonesia. He also mentioned that the North American theological committee had met in September in Hales Corners to discuss its future work. The committee decided to explore further one of the key concepts of Fr. Dehon in his social writings: pure love. It was one of the core concepts to come out of the seminar in Indonesia.

Vocations: The letter of Fr. General on youth and vocations in view of the Bishop’s Synod of 2018 was discussed. It led to a presentation of the work of the vocation efforts in the United States.

North American Retreat: The evaluations of the August Mississauga retreat were presented. The retreat was highly successful as evidenced by the evaluations. The next retreat will be given in Racine, WI, from May 7 – 12,  2018. 24 participated in the Mississauga retreat. The numbers in Racine will be much higher. The retreat committee will be sending out a reminder notice in the near future to those who have signed up for the May retreat.

Communications: Mary Gorski, who had returned from Rome on Sunday, gave a report on the work of the International Communications Commission of which she is a member. There is a lot of activity in Rome around communications. A new website is in the process of being developed; some entities have begun to develop activities around the new mission and vision statement. The meeting raised the question whether on the North American level we should be developing new strategies around this issue. It was suggested that at a future meeting of NORAM this issue could be explored at greater length.

General Conference 2018: From July 14 – 28, 2018 the Region of the Philippines will be hosting the General Conference of the Congregation. Fr. Quang is the head of the organizing committee and he gave us an overview of the work that has been done to prepare for the Conference. Both the US and Canada have responded to the questionnaire that has been distributed.  Fr. Quang expressed surprise at the minimal response to the questionnaire from other entities. But from the submissions the program for the conference will be developed at the next meeting of the committee in November.  From North America there will be three people attending: Fr. Ed Kilianski, Fr. John van den Hengel and Fr. Quang Nguyen.

Religious response to current situation: The two councils gave some time to express their desire to find an appropriately religious response to the political and social situation in which they find themselves. How can we help respond differently to the polarization of groups and opinions that is overwhelming so much of the conversations since the migration crisis started some five years ago? What does it mean to be a servant of reconciliation today? Is there anything we religious should be doing to help alleviate the enormous political pressure caused by the 65 million people who have been displaced in various parts of the world? It would be good if in our communities we could raise this issue so that it might become integrated into our prayer, our communications and our actions.

Next meeting: the councils also reflected about the purpose, frequency and the topics of the NORAM meetings. The meetings are held twice a year, once in the USA and once in Canada. The councils recognized the usefulness of the meetings, although there are times in which the topics could be prepared with better support of documentation or further information. The meetings are excellent opportunities for interaction between the two entities and for staying in touch with the issues. But the council members often find themselves overwhelmed by their pastoral activities, their tasks as councllors, and the travel to the international meetings. It was  decided to bring the Council and NORAM meetings together more often so that the travel could be consolidated. The next meeting will be in Hales Corners on April 9, 2018.

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New Vice-general secretary


We have just received the information that Fr. Antonius Purwono SCJ has been appointed as vice general secretary at the Generalate in Rome. Antonius completed his master’s degree in Canon Law in Ottawa in 2016 and has spent the last year learning Italian in Naples. He is now ready to fill this new post. He will be replacing Fr. Radek Warenda who will now be able to give all his time and talent to the post of communications.   We wish Antonius all the best in this new position.

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Canadian Fall Assembly

Kingston, Ontario

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Between October 2nd and 4th, the Region held a shorter than usual assembly in Kingston at the Providence Spirituality Center. Because of some absences, the assembly was also smaller than usual. Kingston is our favourite location because it is almost equidistant from our three main communities.

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The assembly was mainly informational in nature. There were no lengthy table discussions, no process moments. This format allowed for a greater number of topics to be presented. Since the financial report of 2016 had not yet been presented, Maurice had an opportunity to go over the numbers with us. It has been a year without too many surprises and the year ended with a healthy surplus. Also, the Procure under the able new leadership of Nicole Béland showed some gains on the Québec ledger, a bit less so on the English campaigns.

Vocations and youth
Greg Murray presented the vocation portfolio which he introduced with the Letter of the General Administration on youth ministry. With the Youth Synod of next year, the Superior General challenged the congregation to engage with youth of today. He wanted an injection of youthful points of view in our community assemblies, our life together, our viewpoints of religious life and ministry. The topic will be discussed at one of the future Regional Council meetings.

Policy and procedure
Jim Casper updated the assembly on the issue of guidelines regarding sexual abuse. He presented the new document of the Region on “Policy and Procedure for Cases of Alleged Misconduct.” It is a review of the policy that has been in place since 1992. It will be presented and hopefully approved at our next chapter and become part of our Regional Directory.

North American Migration Committee
The North American Migration Committee presented its work and recommendations on Tuesday afternoon. It included a video of the presentation of Sr. Norma at the U.S. assembly in June and information on Canadian immigration and refugee policies by Joe Gunn (pictured at right) and one of his co-workers, Deb. The Canadian Region has assumed this issue as its main component of its commitment to social justice, peace and reconciliation. After the presentation, three members of the committee, Fr. Jan de Jong, Fr. Tony Russo and Fr. Peter McKenna will travel to Ottawa and Montreal to discuss the involvement of local communities in JPR activities.

The first full day ended with a Eucharist with Roger Phaneuf presiding and Peter  Sanders preaching. Both celebrated 50 years of ordination. Maurice Légaré also 2017-10-07 09.53.31concelebrated because this year he is celebrating 40 years of religious life. Maurice also found a wonderful restaurant further down the road from the Providence Spirituality Centre to complete the festivities. Someone remarked, °It was probably one of the best gatherings we have had for a long time.” A nice tribute!

Pastoral plans of the three communities
On Wednesday each of the communities presented their community plan for this next year. In the Ten-Year Plan that was presented the previous year, it had been stated that each community ought to devise a pastoral plan for the community. If community is our primary mission, it was felt that it was important to indicate what the community does and will do to put that plan into practice. The fact that in the past year the three communities have received new leadership was an important factor in looking at the pastoral plan with new eyes.

Dehonian spirituality
Also the content of our spirituality was discussed on Wednesday morning. It consisted of a review by John van den Hengel and Gustave Lulendo of their experience of the theological seminar in Yogyakarta in July of this year. John presented the conclusions of Sr. Nikla Spezzati of the papers presented at the seminar. These conclusions were a wonderful summation of the papers of the seminar and some intuitions about the direction of the reflection on our charism and spirituality in the Congregation. It was hoped that this information would also give new impetus to the establishment of the Dehonian Family in Canada.

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Continuing the work of the international theological conference

Members of the North American Theological Commission: Fr. Gustave Lulendo N’dotony (Canada), Fr. John van den Hengel (Canada), Fr. Charles Brown (USA) and Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec (USA).

Two months after the theological seminar “Charism and Devotions” concluded in Yogyakarta, the North American Theological Commission met September 12 at the Provincialate Offices in Hales Corners, Wis. Members of the commission: Fr. Gustave Lulendo N’dotony (Canada), Fr. John van den Hengel (Canada), Fr. Charles Brown (USA) and Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec (USA).

The positive feelings about the Indonesia experience were still high when the group gathered. Fr. Ziggy called it a “coming of their own” of the Indonesian Province with its excellent preparation and wonderful hospitality. For the North American Commission, the seminar was an opportunity to set its own program of reflection and to create a contribution to the Congregation’s spirituality.

During its September meeting the North American Commission finalized “The Surplus of Charity,” the paper delivered by the commission in Indonesia. It was based on the results of the survey done with members of the Canadian Region and US Province in preparation for the international theological seminar. The paper will be among those to be published by the Centro Studi Dehoniani in an upcoming issue of Studia Dehoniana.

If you would like to read a copy of the paper, CLICK HERE.

Also during its meeting the commission decided to undertake a collaborative study of a major issue in Fr. Dehon’s writings, namely, the notion of “pure love.” How did the founder think that pure love could transform society? What did he mean by pure love?

The commission will meet again in February, 2018, with each member contributing pieces to the research on the study.

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Regional Council meeting: August 18

At the end of the retreat at the Queen of the Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga Regional Council took the opportunity to meet. The meeting was called to discuss the Assembly in Kingston from October 2 to 4, and the North American councils meeting in Montréal on October 16-17.

1. Regional Assembly

Between Monday October 2 in the evening and Wednesday October 4 noon, the Canadian Region will meet in Providence Spirituality Centre (1200 Princess Street) in Kingston. After supper on October 2 the community will meet to do a check-in. On Tuesday morning the topics will be the 2016 Financial Statement, a reflection on the letter on vocations of Fr. General and our response, led by Greg Murray, our website and blog, and a review of the Region’s Power of Attorney statements and Last Wills. On Tuesday afternoon the Immigration Commission of North America will meet with the Region to discuss their plans. At 4 p.m. the community will gather for Eucharist with our Jubilarians of this year. After Eucharist we will have a social and a meal in a place to be determined by Maurice Légaré.

On Wednesday morning we will examine where we are with our ten-year plan set up last year, a report on the Theological Seminar in Yogyakarta this summer and looking ahead to our setting up of groups in the Region who will become part of the Dehonian Family. The assembly will end with the noon meal.

The communities of the Region are asked to indicate their presence by September 5.

2. The Meeting of the North American Councils

At the meeting the council members also discussed the NORAM meeting. It has become customary that the councils of the United States and Canada meet twice a year. On October 16 in the evening the North American Councils will gather in Montreal for dinner with the community.  On October 17 the two councils will discuss items that the two entities share with one another.

  1. Report on the communities
  2. Dehonian Family
  3. Immigration Committee
  4. Theological Commission
  5. Vocations
  6. Retreat Committee
  7. General Conference of 2018
  8. Religious response to the current situation
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