The minutes of the Regional Chapter of June 6, 2018 were prepared by Peter McKenna. A translation will be provided by Richard Woodbury. The minutes were sent to Rome in preparation of the General Chapter to be held from July 14 to 27.
Chapitre Régionale Regional Chapter
Claude Bédard, SCJ, Louis-Marie Kayamba Butari, SCJ, Jim Casper, SCJ, Herman Falke, SCJ, Maurice Légaré, SCJ,Bill Marrevee, SCJ, Johanes Yuliwan Maslim, SCJ, Peter McKenna, SCJ, Greg Murray, SCJ, Gustave Lulendo N’Dotony, SCJ, Élie Muzungu Kasongo Ngoy, SCJ, Roger Phaneuf, SCJ, Willyans Raposo, SCJ, Peter Sanders, SCJ, Dieudonné Tchouteu, SCJ, Paul Tennyson, SCJ, John van den Hengel, SCJ, Aegi Warsito, SCJ, Richard Woodbury, SCJ.
Absent with Regrets: Walter van As, SCJ and Rein van Leeuwen, SCJ.
Guests: Martin Antony Kadamattu, SCJ (IND) and Antonio Maria Pereira Resende SCJ (BSP)
Recording Secretaries: Peter McKenna and Richard Woodbury.
Scrutineer: Willyans Raposo.
9:00 AM WEDNESDAY, JUNE 06
John van den Hengel, Regional Superior, convokes the Chapter.
“We open this chapter with the first words of the Gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Word.” “Au commencement était celui qui est la Parole de Dieu”. This “in the beginning”, this “au commencement” is not a beginning in time. It is a beginning as an origin. Before all else, in all else, there is a word, God’s word. It pervades everything. It makes everything fruitful. It makes everything filled with light and life.
Each time that we as a Congregation meet to do chapter, there is a sense in us of opening another avenue to the future. We think that when we get together and we work together, we are powerful, that together we can create future, that our future somehow is open. We have learned with Pope Francis, that time is more important than space. We realize that despite our dreams to reach some goal, to attain certain heights that we actually never reach that goal. In trying to reach the goal, we become aware of our limits, aware of the obstacles, our fragility. And we learn that this is actually good. Our obstacles, our limits, our weaknesses can be more galvanizing than all our accomplishments. Why? Because only by knowing what prevents us from reaching things can we learn to do things differently.
At the Canadian Religious Conference meeting last week, Elena Lasida, a professor at Institut Catholique in Paris, said that challenges, limits, our difficulties, our faults carry within them a promise. They can put us on the road to the unexpected. That is the direction that Biblical Wisdom sends us. In a period when Israel was in its deepest darkness, when it lost its way and was forced to live among another people, much more successful than they, when Israel found itself in exile, when all seemed impossible, when their existence as a people was most in doubt, that was the precise moment when Israel discovered the great truth of God’s creation. The biggest dreamers in Israel’s history, the biggest dreamers of the bible, people like Moses and Abraham lived all their lives out of a promise. But neither Abraham nor Moses ever achieved the major goal of their lives. Moses never entered the promised land. He could only see it from afar, but he could not enter it. Abraham went to the land he was promised but never possessed it. He had to buy land to bury Sarah. Israel when it found itself in exile, it learned that it needed a second exodus, because the promise of the land was not a possession, but a process.
Process is always superior to space.
A chapter makes us realize that what we thought was our goal has shifted. Only three years ago we celebrated Chapter. Today we enter into this process again. And we pray today that we may continue to go on the journey, that we continue towards a future that will never come, a future to which we never arrive. Because it is always more, always greater. All we need is a way of working together. We do not necessarily need to arrive. We do not need a clearly laid-out plan. Dehon had a clear view of this. He wanted us to be united with Christ, to join him on the journey, to take on the attitudes of Christ, to become like him. He wanted us to have a relationship, not necessarily a destination. He knew a beginning, an origin, which was the love of God. He was more interested in the way than in outlining the parameters of the final goal. Time is superior to space.
We do chapter because we want to be on the way and stay on the way. As a Region we developed a ten-year plan. But the plan does not outline what final space we will arrive at, we outlined some of the things we hoped to discover together as a community, how we would seek one another from different entities, from different cultural backgrounds, and enter into a journey of discovery. Utopia is always the two steps beyond the horizon. Our chapter today does not have much content. It is part of a process.
It is with this promise which we are to one another that we dare to open up our chapter, and through our chapter to a general chapter. The process set out three years ago with new people will probably be revamped, the congregation may be going into another direction than what was envisaged three years ago and we trust that it is right that we do so. Time, as Pope Frances said in his recent Apostolic Exhortation, is superior to space.
Let us enter into this new time, this new road.”
The Agenda as presented was unanimously approved.
STATE OF THE REGION OF CANADA 2015-2018 (John van den Hengel)
This state of the Region of Canada coincides with the end of the Regional administration which began in November 2015. The Region is currently in the process of choosing a new regional administration. This document will therefore also serve as an evaluation of the current administration and reflection on the needs of the Region at this time.
The composition of the Region
The Region consists of three communities: Ottawa with six members (average age 75), Montreal with ten members (average age 70), and Toronto with seven members (average age 49). Of the 23 members seven came to Canada from The Netherlands, two from Indonesia, two from DR Congo, two from Brazil Sao Paulo, one from Cameroon, one from India. Eight members joined the congregation in Canada. Two other Canadians, living and working in the United States, are now members of the US Province. No new members have joined the Canadian Region in the past three years.
Ministries of the Region
Outside of the two ministering to the Region, nine members are engaged in parish or ethnic pastoral ministry, one is in the hospital ministry, one is immigration ministry, one in educational ministry, one is undertaking graduate studies in theology. Seven members are no longer engaged in a full-time ministry. All but two live in one of the community residences.
Help from other Provinces/ Regions/Districts
Without the help of other entities, the Canadian Region would consist today of only ten members. With the addition of members from other entities, the average age of the Region has declined in the last three years from 71 to 65 in 2018. The new members have injected new life and energy in the Region. They made possible the acceptance of the Unité pastoral “Saut-au-Récollet” in Montréal and the parish St. Thomas More and Our Lady of Rosary in Scarborough. The presence of members from other entities has made it possible to broaden the outlook and the spirit of the Region through making the communities more international in character. Their presence has had a considerable impact on the life of the Region
In November 2015 the Region proposed a ten-year plan in order to determine how the Region of Canada might continue its mission in Canada. The Regional Assembly of 2016 adopted a seven-point plan.
1. Strengthening of community life through
a. a community pastoral plan
b. a reflection on our Dehonian identity
c. regular community meetings and interaction
d. an assessment of the properties of the region
2. Formalizing our relations with our entities in the Congregation through.
a. The establishment of formal agreements with other entities
b. the invitation to join the entity after one year of presence
c. the creation of authentic international communities.
3. Working with refugees and migrants in Canada through
a. sponsorships of refugee families
b. participating in the North American Committee on Migration
c. the featuring of the issues on immigration in Canada in our communications.
4. Establishing a new vocational ministry through
a. a part –time vocational director
b. the development of concrete strategies to attract new members.
5. Promoting the Dehonian Family through
a. the establishment of a program in our parishes
b. the promulgation of materials and resources.
6. Strengthening the Dehonian spirituality in the Region through
a. the North American Dehonian retreat
b. participation in the Dehonian Theological Commission
c. conferences and research on the Founder.
7. Creating a financial review through
a. the implementation of a financial review of all our expenditures and assets.
Properties of the Region
The Region owns properties in the three locations of the community. In Montréal, outside of the community house (2830 blvd Gouin est), there are four other houses on the lot, one of which is the first residence of the Region: Maison Dehon. In Pointe-au-Chêne, the community still owns part of the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur. In Ottawa there is the community house at 192 Daly Avenue in Ottawa and a cottage on Lake Manitou in Low Québec. In Toronto there is the community house at 58 High Park Blvd in Toronto.
Finances of the Region
The 2017 Financial Statement is expected to show a surplus of assets over the expenditures of about 80 000$. The Region has a healthy investment portfolio with near to 9% increase in its investments in the fiscal year 2016-2017. In 2017 the Region contributed 45 000$ to the General Aid Fund. The Mission Procure of the Region contributed 291 000$ for different projects in the Congregation.
With amendments incorporated, the Report of the State of the Region of Canada 2015 – 2018 was unanimously accepted.
DISCUSSION OF THE STATE OF THE REGION OF CANADA REPORT
- It was duly noted that the Regional Superior has fostered the deepening of the quality of community life in each one of the three local communities. There is a genuine joy of being together, praying together and ministering together. The challenge continues to be to deepen the relationship and interaction among the three local communities. This is hampered somewhat because of physical distance, history, and the differences between the cultural realities of Québec and Ontario. Within all three of the local communities there is a genuine openness to “the other” and to other cultures. Yet we acknowledge that every time a new person is welcomed into a community there is a dynamic change within the person and within the life of the local community. This was very evident with the welcoming of the two Vietnamese candidates to the Ottawa community. In all three of our local communities there is a general openness to welcome SCJs from other entities to study and to minister with us. However, there must be clarity around mutual expectations between the member, the other entity and the Region of Canada.
- “Establishing a new vocation ministry.” What are we talking about? Do our local communities have the capacity and psychological readiness to do so? Yet with our three local communities evolving into international communities, people are expressing an interest not only in our spirituality but also expressing an interest to join us. There is a growing invitation to pro-actively reach out to members of immigrant communities to be ministers in the Church. Moreover, as noted in our Regional Directory: “inviting men to become professed members of the Congregation is priority for each local community and an active concern for each member”. However, we are more and more aware that we urgently need to develop communication links that will engage people who are discerning a vocation; for example, Web page, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, etc.
- The date of the appointment of the Regional Superior and the members of his Council previously had coincided with the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The circumstances for why the date was changed were shared.
AMENDMENT TO THE REGIONAL DIRECTORY (Jim Casper)
On motion duly made by Jim Casper and seconded by Paul Tennyson and unanimously carried, the Appendices B and C of the Regional Directory, entitled respectively Policy and Procedures for Responding to Accusations of Sexual Harassment and Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse (pages 38 to 51) are replaced by the May 2017 document entitled Policy and Procedures for Cases of Alleged Misconduct. [The May 2017 document was presented to the members and approved in principle at the October 02-04 2017 Regional Assembly]
ELECTION OF DELEGATE/SUBSTITUTE TO GENERAL CHAPTER
GUSTAVE LULENDO N’DOTONY was elected delegate
on the first official ballot receiving 14 votes out of 19 votes cast.
ÉLIE MUZUNGU KASONGO NGOY was elected substitute to the delegate
on the third official ballot receiving 12 votes out of 18 votes cast.
With the unanimous consent of the members present,
John van den Hengel , Regional Superior, officially closed the Chapter.