On September 9 – 10 2019, Regional Council met in Montréal, in conjunction with the visit of Fr. Luca Zottoli, the General Treasurer of the Congregation and Mr. Aldo Ivaldi, assistant. Because of the examination of the financial state of the Region, at the first part of the meeting were also present the Regional Finance Committee (Fr. Jim Casper and Fr Maurice Légaré) and Mr. Benoit Lefebvre (accountant) and Michel Lefebvre (Investments) and Mme Nicole Béland (Directrice of the Mission Office).
1. The Financial Review of 2009 – 2019
a. Investments since 2009. Michel Lefebvre gave us a copy of the revised investment portfolio. Michel gave a detailed account of his investment strategy: 13% of the investments are invested abroad, 22% in the US, rest is invested in Canada.
b. The Fiera Investments, the original investments of the Quebec Corporation prior to the amalgamation have been transferred to the SCJ Foundation.
c. Benoit Lefebvre presented the combined statement of 2018, which council had already discussed at the last meeting. There was no additional information.
d. Rome report: Benoit Lefebvre completed the 2017 and Paul Tennyson the 2018 report of the financial report to the General Treasurer in Rome. The General Treasurer explained the origin of the form which our financial offices have found difficult to fill out. The form was reviewed in 2002.
e. Nicole Béland and the Procure des Missions. Most of the discussion was about the Annuities. There have been few new investments in the annuities since 2018. The discussion showed that a further discussion on the annuities needs to take place.
Mme Béland also presented her work in the mission office as it evolved historically. The question was asked whether it was advisable to expand the office and work more on the English side. She described the different projects that are receiving financial assistance: the well projects in Cameroon, the brick project in Congo, and JED in Cameroon. Fr. Luca indicated that there will be a meeting in Rome in 2020 of all who are working in this ministry.
g. Presentation of Fr. Luca Zottoli. His comments dealt with the following topics:
i. Directory of Intra-congregational Aid
ii. Final message of the last Chapter
iii. NAB: norms for the administration of goods.
iv. Mass intentions
v. The report of the Treasurer to the General Chapter.
h. Pensions: Should we pay to the pension fund of the country of origin of the members? Council decided at the last meeting that we should pay into the national pension funds of members working in Canada. The question was raised whether the members of the Region from other countries of origin where there is no national pension funds should also receive pension money?
2. Tour des communautés :
Montréal started the new year with a meeting on September 2 in the presence of Stephen Huffstetter, General Councilor. Mention was made of the health problems of Claude Bédard and Louis Marie Butari, both of whom had been hospitalized. Maurice Lègaré has accepted to say mass at the Sœurs de la Charité de Sainte Marie. Louis Marie has received his work permit again after being without one for several months.
The Montréal community was not able to give Council any advice egarding the future of Maison Dehon which has now been empty for a number of years. Council wishes to make a decision not only about the future of Maison Dehon but also about the other properties in Montréal. A study will be made of the deeds and property lines. For Maison Dehon, it was suggested that estimates for a renovation of the house be obtained or to get advice from a real estate person as to the possibility of the sale of the house.
Christian Lavergne, the Directeur of La Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur, gave an overview of the situation of the school regarding possible financial support of the school by the Congregation. Since 2011 there has been a decrease of students at the school (from 525 to 275). The reasons for the decrease were the declining student population in the area, the declining economy of the region, and a conflictual administration in the school. The new conseil d’administration has tried since 2016 to solve the situation through modernization of the school, increase of registration fees, search for new students, installation of a chaplain in the school, and a search for international students. This school year the registrations have increased to 75 new students. The school has taken measures to strengthen the link of the school with other schools of the Congregation (contact with Handrupp, Germany, and San Hieronimo in Spain) and the Schools in Collaboration program in the US Province.
Mr. Lavergne’s plan : in 4 years to reach a sufficient number of students to make the school viable again financially. In order to cover the current deficit the school will need the help of the foundation and the Congregation. The current deficit is $ 400.000. The desire is to have a loan of $ 2 million to cover the next four years. The Conseil of the Fondation and the Congregation have already met. Council asked Christian Lavergne to provide a more detailed calculation of the debt and a schedule of future payments and a proposal to the Fondation and the Congregation.
Ottawa : Paulin began his second year of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University. He will complete his course work this year but will need more time to write his thesis. Herman Falke has turned 91. John van den Hengel will turn 80 on October 1.
Toronto : The renovation of the rectory to fix the roof will start next month. It was unfortunate that Stephen Huffstetter came for his visit of the community on the weekend which did not permit him to attend the community meeting. Fr. Martin Kadamattu will leave for India for holidays and to attend the 25th anniversary of the District. Fr. Wills Prado Rapozo has started his master’s courses in Theology at Regis College in Toronto. Fr. Jim Casper will be giving a retreat in Kingston. Fr. Petrus Muruanto scj. from Indonesia will be following master’s courses at OISY (education). He will arrive around September 20. Fr. Albertus Joni, currently in the US, has requested to come to Montreal to learn French. He has received permission from the Indonesian provincial.
3. Specific items :
A. Evaluation of the Regional Assembly :
The evaluation of the Regional Assembly of August showed a general satisfaction. There was a great appreciation of the presentations of Fr. André Beauchamp on the issue of the ecology. Fr. Peter McKenna wrote a letter to Council proposing three topics for future discussion in the communities. The Regional Superior, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, will write a letter to help urge the communities to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 27. It was suggested that September 27 be called Creation Day. In the letter Fr. Gustave will provide questions for community discussion.
B. Regional Directory
Fr. Gustave presented the suggestions of the drafting committee (Jim Casper and Richard Woodbury) for a new process of electing the Regional Administration. Council discussed the document and amended the text..
C. The General Treasurer announced that he will send two letters. One to the Region and one to Council re. Mission office.
E. Letter from the Treasurer of Congo requested help with the payment of tuition of seven students. Council accepted to honour the request.
Fr. Gustave will leave on October 2 for India and in November will participate in the training session and the meeting of the major superiors in Rome. The next meeting of the Regional Council will be in Ottawa on Tuesday November 26.