At their May, 2016, meeting the North American councils decided to establish a North American Theological Commission. Similar commissions have been established on the other continents. They advise leadership on issues that touch on our congregation’s spiritual life and theological thinking. North America was the last of the continents to set up its own commission. It consists of two US members (Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec and Fr. Charles Brown) and two Canadians (Fr. Gustave Lulendo and Fr. John van den Hengel).
The commission met for the first time on Wednesday, January 11, at the US Provincialate Offices. Fr. John provided background information regarding the theological commissions in the Congregation and why there ought to be a North American Commission. A North American voice needs to be heard. The commissions answer to the continental major superiors.
The focus of this meeting was to begin work on the theological seminar that will be held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, July 20–25, 2017. The members of the theological commission will participate in the seminar. They will give a presentation based on the responses to the questionnaire sent to SCJs last October; 46 North Americans responded. The questionnaire asked participants to share something about their lived faith, what practices give expression to their faith? How do they live the charism of Fr. Dehon? All faith finds an outlet. What is ours? And how has it changed over time? The answers will come from five continents at the seminar.
The Commission will do additional research in the next two months and begin to write a draft version of its presentation for Yogyakarta. This first meeting was a good beginning.