Region of Canada: March 21, 2016
On January 6 the new general administration published its programmatic letter of the next six years, entitled Mercy – In the Footsteps of God. The programmatic letter not only set the action program of the General Administration but also involved the activities of the Provinces, Regions and Districts. Within the letter there was a request of the General Administration to indicate how the entities could begin to put into practice some of the three areas indicated in the letter: (1) Marks of mercy in formation; (2) Marks of mercy with the poor; and (3) Marks of mercy in evangelization.
Here is the response of the Region of Canada:
- Marks of mercy in formation
- The Canadian Region participates in the formation program of the USA Province. Currently the Region has no persons in initial formation.
- The Region invites members of other provinces to come to study in Canadian Universities. Currently we have two students (RDC and INA) in graduate studies, paid for by the Canadian Region.
- Internationally, we contribute in the study of Dehonian topics in collaboration with the Centro Studi in Rome.
- The North American councils are meeting in May to discuss a common project on spirituality (the elaboration of a retreat in 2017 for the members of both entities) A small continental committee has been charged with preparing the retreat.
- Marks of mercy with the poor
- The Region will have an assembly in August in which the Region will discuss a ten-year plan for the Region. In view of our aging, it is necessary to have a long term plan. We did not have a three-year plan.
- As part of the result of the Continental Conference in September 2013, North America set up a committee to deal with immigration and the care of refugees. The committee has been very active. It has recently published a booklet with immigrant stories of the members of the USA Province and the Canadian Region.
- In Canada all the communities and parishes have actively put aside financial resources and committees to welcome refugees. In Resurrection parish in Ottawa, the local committee has sponsored 3 families (Iraqi, Burmese, and Syrian). The Syrian family has arrived on January 10, 2016. The other families were sponsored four and two years ago. The Ottawa SCJ community, with the help of a Sunday group of believers is in the process of sponsoring a group of four Syrians. The Montreal community has joined with a local parish and contributed $10.000 to sponsor a Syrian family. Also the Parish of St. Thomas More in Toronto is in the process of sponsoring a Syrian family. At the parish, also a meeting has been organized to inform people about Islam in order to allow them to overcome their prejudices.
- The Region will reflect on the refugee projects and to integrate this reflection in the community project for social apostolate.
- The Region has also sought to achieve – not always with equal success – to arrive at financial transparency. It will also participate in the General Aid Fund and the 1% program.
- Marks of mercy in evangelization
- The Region has participated in mutual assistance to other entities who have greater financial needs. On this point we have asked the Finance Committee to look into our participation in the General Aid Fund and in the 1% project of the Congregation.
- We will create a pamphlet for our benefactors regarding our pump action in Cameroon and other aid projects. The Sunday community in Ottawa collects $ 17,000 each year for projects in Vietnam, the Philippines, Cameroon and Peru.
- At the meeting of the councils of North America in May, we will be looking into the development of Dehonian spirituality with lay people. St. Thomas More parish in Toronto is interested in establishing a lay dehonian group, seeking the help of David Schimmel from the United States.
- At the continental level there will be offered a Dehonian retreat for the US Province and the Canadian Region in 2017. A committee consisting of Byron Haaland and James Schoeder of the US province and John van den Hengel of Canada will be working on such a retreat this year. The small committee, perhaps with David Schimmel and Charles Brown, will be meeting in Hales Corners in the beginning of May to prepare such a retreat.
- Also at the May 2 meeting in Hales Corners, we will discuss our participation in the International Theological Commission and our participation in the Theological Seminar to be held in Indonesia in 2017. John van den Hengel will be participating in the seminar: “Espaces de la pensée apocalyptique.” in which he will present a paper entitled: “Crisis in Modernity: Léon Dehon and the Reign of the Sacred Heart”
On behalf of the Region of Canada: John van den Hengel scj