Here are the main items discussed at the 110th meeting of the Regional Council in Montréal on July 6. Originally the Council was convoked to discuss the 2015 Financial Statement of the Region and to meet with our Financial Committee. However, the Financial Statement was not yet ready. However, there were a great number of other issues to discuss. Here is a summary of the discussion.
The community of Montréal
- The naming of a new local superior: After consulting the community, the community expressed a desire to have Fr. Gustave Lulendo named as their new superior. Gustave is currently on holidays in Congo and will assume this position when he returns. He will move from Ottawa to Montréal and also partake in the new pastoral ministry in Montréal at the pastoral unit of Visitation, Alphonse Marie Claret and Saint Martyrs Canadiennes.
- Unité pastoral: Visitation, Alphonse Marie Claret and Saint Martyrs Canadiennes. The Diocese of Montréal will hand over the charge of the pastoral unit on September 1. Attached to the parish will be p. Gustave Lulendo, p. Engelbert Fotsing and p. Louis Marie Butari as assistants with Mgr Pierre Blanchard as the mentor for the first four months. In January there will be an evaluation and a more long-term appointment. The three parishes are near our community house. The central church of the pastoral unit is Visitation, one of the oldest and most beautiful (Québec gothic) churches in Montréal, near the shore of the Rivière des Prairies. The Saints Martyrs Canadiennes community is multicultural with a large African and Asian population. John van den Hengel met with Mgr Roger Dufresne on July 6 in the morning to finalize the details. This is an excellent opportunity for the community of Montréal to engage in a pastoral venture in their area. The pastoral team will live at 2830 Blvd Gouin Est and work out of offices at Visitation. A meeting with the pastoral team will be organized in August after the assembly.
- In preparation for the assembly in August, the community has met a few times to flesh out their ten-year community plan. It will be presented at the assembly. Here is the text of the plan: https://dehoncanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/plan-de-10-ansr.pdf
- Update on the events at the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur. The Séminaire has evolved over the years into a very vibrant Catholic school covering a large area around Pointe-au-Chêne with more than 400 students. The community was represented on the Board of Directors of the school with two members. A crisis developed at the school during the month of April through comments made by the Directrice générale of the school on social media. She was let go at a meeting of the CA on April 28 and replaced ad interim by M. Lacroix. A new director was appointed in June and a new Conseil d’Administration will be appointed in July. On the new CA there will be only one member of the Congregation, at this point, John van den Hengel. With a new CA it is hoped that the statutes of the Seminaire will be reviewed. There were also two foundations attached to the Seminaire with Richard Woodbury and Maurice Légaré on its board. The fondations have a sizable amount invested for the educational benefit of the school and to provide bursaries for indigent students. On July 7 this board of the two fondations met in Montréal to review its membership and to increase its Board of Directors from three to five. The Séminaire finds itself in financial difficulties at this point because it has lost a number of students during the crisis.
- Appointment of Mme. Nicole Béland. M. Nicole Béland has been working at our office in Montréal for a great number of years. At our first meeting in Montréal in December 2015, p. Claude Bédard had requested that he be relieved of his position at the Procure. During the meeting, council agreed to appoint Nicole Béland as the new Director of the office. P. Claude will continue to write the inserts of the mailings but he will leave the operations of the office in the capable hands of Nicole. It will allow p. Claude to retire from the Office which he has led for so many years. Thanks, Claude, but also thanks, Nicole. Council will meet with Nicole at least once a year to be updated regarding our fundraising.
Community of Toronto
- Agreement regarding St.Thomas More The three-year agreement with the Archdiocese of Toronto regarding the pastoral charge at St. Thomas More expired on July 3. The diocese has now extended its agreement an additional ten years.
- Also the Toronto Community’s term of office of its superior had expired. At the council meeting, Fr. Aegidius Warsito was appointed as the new superior of the community starting August 1, 2016 for a period of three years. Also here the council drew on the consultation held in June and appointed someone who had not held such a position previously.
- In the previous months the Toronto community gathered a number of times to pull together a ten-year plan of the community. Here is a copy of the plan: Regional Questionnair1https://dehoncanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/regional-questionnair1.pdf
Community of Ottawa
- Syrian Refugees: The community has allied itself with the Sunday Community and Resurrection parish to welcome a Syrian family (Mother with son and daughter and fiancé). The family will be arriving some time in the Fall. In the meantime, a number of committees have been established to look into house furnishings, to search for an apartment, to introduce them to the community, and to help them familiarize with the city.
- Also the Ottawa community has drawn up a ten-year plan: Ten-Year lan https://dehoncanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ten-year-plan.pdf
Meeting of the North American councils: On May 1 the councils of the US and Canada met in Hales Corners. As already reported, a number of decisions were made. At our meeting of May 2 we decided to postpone the adoption of the decisions until the meeting of July 6.
- Theological commission: Council suggested further discussions with the US council to set up a North American theological commission perhaps in conjunction with the Dehon Study Center. John van den Hengel indicated an interest in being part of this theological commission also in view of the theological seminar which will be held in Jogjakarta in July 2017 on the topic of “Carisma e devozioni – verso una identità dehoniana inculturata” / “Charisms and devotions: towards an inculturated dehonian identity”. The International Theological Commission will meet in Rome in the month of December.
- Council also expressed great interest to develop in the Region the Lay Dehonian Family. In the parishes of Scarborough and Montréal we will look to developing groups interested in the dehonian spirituality. David Schimmel has prepared an adapted version of the first year of the Spiritual Path and he will be invited to come to the parish in Scarborough to introduce the program.
- A letter inviting the members of the Region to participate in a Dehonian Retreat either in 2017 or 2018 in Mississauga (August 13 – 19, 2017) or Racine (WI) (August 5-12, 2018) was sent out. We are asking all to respond by July 12 so that we can insure that the rooms will be available for the two retreats. Both places have about 50 rooms available. It is an excellent opportunity to reflect on our spirituality during a five-day retreat.
- In discussions in the past few years it was clear that both in Canada and the United States the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation committee struggled to keep a clear attention to issues of JPIC. At the Continental Conference in 2013 it was decided to pay special attention to issues of migration. At the time in the US there was great concern about the children who were seeking entry into the US at the Texas border. The consensus is growing that both in Canada and the US that migration is our main area of concern. At the US/Canada meeting we were presented with a presentation of the migration committee. As a consequence it was proposed to transform the JPIC into a migration committee. Council suggested that we ask members of the Region to become a member of the international committee.
- The next meeting of the two councils will take place at St. Thomas More parish on October 18. Fr. Aegi will make the arrangements for lodging and other accommodations.
The annual assembly: This year’s assembly will take place from August 9 to 11 in L’Ermitage in Montréal. Council discussed the schedule, liturgy, simultaneous translation (Michel Coté has agreed to come), moderator (Sr. Emma Bezaire), and the topics. The main topics of the assembly will be a presentation by the General Councilor Stephen Huffstetter, the presentation of the ten-year plan by the three communities, a discussion of the plan, the financial statement of 2015, and a financial assessment of the finances of the Region.