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1AG - Superior general and first councilor elected

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While much of the first week of the chapter was spent reviewing the past six years, the focus of the second week is on the congregation’s future and the new general administration that will guide it.
 
The first order of business on May 25 was the election of the superior general. The day began with a straw vote, adoration, and then the first canonical ballot.
 
DSC 0551In just one round of voting Fr. Heiner Wilmer, provincial superior of the German Province, became the 10th superior general of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
 
“Thank you so much for the trust that you placed in me,” said Fr. Heiner to members of the chapter.  “It has been such a pleasure for me to collaborate with you and feel your support, to live and work with you. Together we will create a future path for our congregation.”
 
Fr. Heiner, 54, has been the provincial superior of the German Province since 2007.  He was ordained in 1987, and professed his first vows with the congregation in 1982. Prior to his service as provincial superior Fr. Heiner held a number of positions in education. He is also an author with several published works.
 
Click here to read more about him.
 
Upon his election Fr. Heiner became the vice president of the chapter. He serves as superior general-elect until June 6, at which time he and the new General Council will be installed and begin their six-year term.


 

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Election of the first general councilor
 
Leopold smWith the new superior general in place the chapter
 moved toward the election of the council. In the first vote Fr. Léopold Mfouakouet, 47, provincial superior of Cameroon, became the first to be elected for the new General Council.

 
Professed in 1988 and ordained in 1995, Fr. Leopold has served in parish ministry, in formation, and as a professor at the Catholic University in Yaundé. He has been provincial superior since 2011.
 
His appointment as provincial superior was historic for the congregation: he is the first indigenous Dehonian to serve as provincial superior of Cameroon.  In taking office, he also became the first African-born SCJ to lead a province on the continent.
 
 
Europe and South America
 
Monday also included reports on the SCJ presence in Europe and South America. Both continents have expanded their collaborative efforts since the 2009 General Chapter. The major superiors of each meet one to times a year, and joint initiatives in ministry and formation have expanded.
 
Fr. José Zeferino Policarpo Ferreira, provincial superior of Portugal, presented the report on Europe. He highlighted collaborative efforts such as the yearly assembly of Spanish and Portuguese SCJs and combined projects in youth ministry. He noted outreach to Eastern Europe, in areas such as Ukraine, where poverty and the effects of war have been devastating in some areas.
 
DSC 0556Significant efforts in media development are found in places such as Southern Italy with TeleDehon (TeleDehon has produced most of the videos from the General Chapter) and in Poland with its Profeto.pl. In Bologna, SCJs operate one of the largest publishing houses in Europe.
 
Fr. Cláudio Márcio Piontkewicz presented the report on South America. He noted joint formation and education programs including the congregation’s Anthropologia Cordis hosted in Taubaté, Brazil in 2014. Dehonians in Latin America are widely present in parochial ministry and education, with an emphasis on youth.
 
There are also extensive efforts in the formation of lay Dehonians.
 
Challenges were also noted. The Dehonian presence in Uruguay is small and faces many obstacles. Latin American SCJs welcome input from the congregation in regards to the Uruguay mission, a mission that needs additional personnel if it is to continue.
 
As has been the practice throughout much of the chapter, the day ended with a multi-lingual Eucharist in the main chapel. Fr. Carlos Alberto da Costa Silva, provincial superior of Brazil – Recife Province, was the main celebrant.

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