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14/12/2011

Activities in spirituality

"Following Fr. Dehon’s faith experience of the love of Christ, we will journey together, heart and mind, making our own Christ’s mission to reveal God’s love, particularly in his ecce venio and his desire of sint unum, and to give our deepest self so that the world may live".


In order that this way may enter into the life of every confrere and community, we will undertake the following:

1. to encourage a spirit of listening to the love of God and of sharing and working together in each community, we propose the frequent reflection on the Word of God through the lectio divina, the celebration of the Eucharist and adoration, and the timely reviewing and programming  of our life together;

2.to  develop an openness within our spirituality for intercultural and international dimensions;

3. to offer the opportunity to reflect and grow spiritually at the local and international level by way of retreats, meetings, courses, organized by age or by pastoral activity, with a special attention to our young members and those in the first years of ministry;

4. to rediscover, study and appropriate the spiritual legacy of Fr. Dehon, to be lived by  us as a gift of the Church for the world of today by

- coordinating the activity of the CSD with the Theological Commission and the centers of reflection in the entities in order to allow for the blossoming of our spirituality through congresses, publications and courses;

- continuing the preparation of thematic studies of our history and spirituality for formation;

- promoting and accompanying the study and interpretation of Dehonian spirituality in the different cultural contexts;

- encouraging the entities to allow members to specialize in the field of Dehonian spirituality.



Activities in the field of spirituality

(2009 – 2015)

 

A. The “Programmatic Letter” of 2009

2012 spiritualità1In the planning session held in November 2009 at the beginning of its mandate, the General Administration described its activity in the field of spirituality as follows:

"Following Fr. Dehon’s faith experience of the love of Christ, we will journey together, heart and mind, making our own Christ’s mission to reveal God’s love, particularly in his ecce venio and his desire of sint unum, and to give our deepest self so that the world may live".

At the time, in the Program of the General Administration, it was foreseen that the sector of Spirituality might lead to the following activities:

1to encourage a spirit of listening to the love of God and of sharing and working together in each community, we propose the frequent reflection on the Word of God through the lectio divina, the celebration of the Eucharist and adoration, and the timely reviewing and programming  of our life together;

2to develop an openness within our spirituality for intercultural and international dimensions;

3 - to offer the opportunity to reflect and grow spiritually at the local and international level by way of retreats, meetings, courses, organized by age or by pastoral activity, with a special attention to our young members and those in the first years of ministry;.

4 - to rediscover, study and appropriate the spiritual legacy of Fr. Dehon, to be lived by  us as a gift of the Church for the world of today by:

a. to rediscover, study and appropriate the spiritual legacy of Fr. Dehon, to be lived by  us as a gift of the Church for the world of today by coordinating the activity of the CSD with the Theological Commission and the centers of reflection in the entities in order to allow for the blossoming of our spirituality through congresses, publications and courses;

b. continuing the preparation of thematic studies of our history and spirituality for formation;

c. promoting and accompanying the study and interpretation of Dehonian spirituality in the different cultural contexts;

d. encouraging the entities to allow members to specialize in the field of Dehonian spirituality.

 

B. Different Activities

 

 2012 spiritualità2In our first review in April 2010, the General Administration decided on three priorities among its many activities: spirituality, formation and internationality. These priorities were not so much activities as perspectives that were to pervade all the activities. Because of this move, spirituality became a major point of reference for all of the activities of the Council: in all our visits to the entities, in our letters and communication, as well as in all the other sectors of activity. As a result, in all the visits to the Provinces, Regions and Districts, the members of the General Administration have sought to create a greater awareness of the impact of our Dehonian spirituality on our ministry and our life.

The following are some of the ways that we have sought to spread the message:

 

1. 2010: a year of reflecting on “The Faith Experience of Fr. Dehon”

The first year of our mandate was set aside as a year in which to reflect on the specific focus of our spirituality. During our planning session, it was quickly accepted to focus our reflection on our spirituality on the faith experience of Fr. Dehon as the foundation stone of our spirituality, as it is proposed in paragraph 2 of our Rule of Life. There it says that “Our Institute is rooted in Fr. Dehon’s faith experience.” It says that this experience was similar to St. Paul’s when he says, “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me(Gal. 2.20) This faith in a God who loves “me” and gave his total self to me, the Congregation finds expressed in the pierced side of the Saviour. Fr. Dehon is seen as someone who throughout his life searched in the Scriptures and his works for the One who loved him and sought his love. This faith in the One who loves became the driving force of his life and gave form to the Congregation.


2. The Letters of March 14 and the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2010

In both the March 14 Letter of 2010: “The Story Behind the Story” and the Letter for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, “I will put a new heart in you,” Fr. General explored further the meaning and appropriation of the faith experience of Fr. Dehon. In an interview with Fr. Ornelas, he states that for him “the feast of the Sacred Heart is to celebrate the image of a God who has a heart... This is not a relic of the past, but an appeal to us today to find ourselves, to find our hearts in the heart of God, to become capable to help build a new world and a new humanity.”


3. The Fall meeting with the major superiors 2010

2012 spiritualità3 In the October 2010 meeting of the Major Superiors of the Congregation – the first such meeting after the General Chapter – the General Administration presented its program for the six years. It proposed to them that it would engage in the different activities of the administration (the visits and the work in the various sectors) favouring three priorities – spirituality, formation and internationality. These priorities would not be so much distinct activities as a permeating focus in all the activities. General Administration prepared a power-point presentation on the priorities and used this tool in all the subsequent visits. The attention to spirituality, formation and internationality is now a feature quite visible in the different Provinces, Regions and Districts of the Congregation

 

4. A special issue of Dehoniana (Anno IX, 2011) on the faith experience of Fr. Dehon

In the first issue of Dehoniana of 2011 three authors (André Perroux, Juan José Arnais Ecker and John van den Hengel) explored in more theological and biblical terms the founding experience of the Congregation. In exploring the charism of the Congregation, the writers look at faith experience of Fr. Dehon and have sought it in his personal experience of God as agape and the impact of this Abba agape for him on what he called his “Oeuvre”: the Congregation and his social outreach.


5The Letters of March 14 and the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2011

2012 spiritualità4

Again in the letters of 2011 the General Administration picked on a theme, central to our spirituality, namely, the social aspect of our spirituality. While the theme of the year was our economy, the letters of March 14, the birthday of Leo Dehon, and the Feast of the Sacred Heart explored how for Fr. Dehon one must not separate the spiritual from the social. For our Founder, the love we have experienced in the Heart of Christ as a gift within the deepest part of our selves is also a gift that grounds our social, economic, cultural and political life. What stood out in Fr. Dehon, particularly during his most active years was his intense involvement in the social movements of his time. He took to heart the situation of workers in the most difficult years of the Industrial revolution. He became the apostle of the social encyclicals. It is there that Dehon’s charism shone passionately. He was convinced that the love of Christ penetrated all these areas and was in the process of creating a new community. In the letters of 2011, the theme of the “Reign of the Sacred Heart in souls and society” led us to reflect on “Solidarity and Freedom in the Administration of Goods.”

 

6. A Special Issue of Dehoniana on the social dimension of spirituality (Anno X, 2012)

2012 spiritualità5

The issue of Dehoniana of 2012L’Economia: per una solidarietà diffusa” – “The Economy: for a broad solidarity” is an exploration by four of our confreres (Aimone Gelardi, Francisco VanderHoff-Boersma, Yves Ledure and Claudio Weber) of the social, political, economic, ecological and reconciliatory dimensions of our spirituality.

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7. Meeting of Major Superiors of Europe on Spirituality

In April 2011 the major superiors of Europe met in Neustadt to discuss the lived experience of Dehonian spirituality. The title of the meeting was “Spirituality: what do we have in common as Dehonians?” The objective of the meeting was to discern what orientation to our spirituality is being promoted in the various entities? What do the various entities in Europe seek to realize as our spiritual heritage for the young? What is being presented in formation? What is the shape given to Dehonian spirituality in your Province or District? During the conference there was a lively exchange about the way our spirituality is promoted and lived in our apostolate, our retreats, our discussions in the community. P. Gabriel Pisarek gave a presentation about Fr. Dehon and his reflections on the Ignacian retreat. Each entity prepared a two-page analysis of the lived spirituality in their communities.


 

 C. Centro Studi Dehoniani

2012 spiritualità6

In 2010 the Centro Studi Dehoniani was placed under the direction of P. Aimone Gelardi. The Centro Studi has now completed the digitalization of the works of Fr. Dehon. It means that in 2012 all the works of Fr. Dehon will be available in electronic form to the members of the Congregation. This is an important event since it allows researchers to work in different countries on the writings of Fr. Founder. The Centro Studi has created a list of about 175 key words and concepts to help future researchers find their way through the great number of writings of Fr. Dehon. Attached to the CSD are Rafael Gonçalves Da Costa, Marcello Matté (Bologna), Gabriel Pisarek, José Brinon, Claude Siebenaler, Fernando Fonseca, Joseph Galonka, and André Perroux (Bruxelles).

 Also a number of graduate studies on Fr. Dehon and the Congregation have been completed and are in the process of being published in Studia Dehoniana:

Joseph Kuate SCJ, Les Dehoniens au Cameroun dans la dynamique missionaire de l’Église au XXe siècle (Roma : Studia Dehoniana, 2012)

Gabriel Pisarek SCJ, L’influsso degli esercizi spirituali di Sant’Ignazio in P. Dehon, (Roma: Studia Dehoniana, 2012)

Also to be published this year or early next is a text of P. Evaristo J. Martinez de Alegría scj, Le bon Père André Prévot: “Fare traboccare la misura della carità” (Roma: Studia Dehoniana).

 

 

2012 spiritualità7D. Theological Commission

The Congregation also convenes a theological commission to help it reflect on the theological issues of our spirituality. The Theological Commission consists Fernando Rodriguez Garrapucho (ESP), Stefan Tertünte (GER), Joao Carlos Almeida (BSP), Giuseppe Guiglielmi (ITM) and Eugeniuz Ziemann (POL) under the chairmanship of the General Councilor John van den Hengel. Other theologians can be asked to participate in its activities in accordance with the specific circumstances and needs.

In order to involve the different areas of the Congregation and to permit a greater inculturation of the spirituality in the different continents, there also exist theological commissions on the different continents.

2012 spiritualità8 The first to be established was in Latin America under the leadership of Joao Carlos Almeida (BSP). The other members are: Marcial Maçaneiro (BSP), Manuel Teixeira (VEN), Eduardo Agüero (ARG) and André Vilal (BRE). This group has been meeting once a month mostly by skype, but also, when possible, face to face as in the picture. They have been involved in preparing the Latin American Continental Conference, the course for superiors in Paraguay in 2012, a retreat for young people. It began its work after the April 2010 Latin American theological conference, entitled Missio Cordis, to reflect on the Congregational spirituality in the context of Aparecido.

Also a European group of theologians (Fernando Rodriguez Garrapucho, Joseph Famerée (EUF), Javier Lopez (ESP), Stefan Tertünte (GER) and Lorenzo Prezzi (ITS) have worked together for certain topics. This group, under the leadership of P. Fernando Rodriguez Garrapucho, was asked to help prepare the European Continental Conference on Secularity, held in Clairefontaine in October 2011. It has also been asked to become involved in the future theological symposium.

A first meeting of Asian confreres, under the leadership of Fr. Francis Purwanto, was held in Yogyakarta in July 2011, during the Asian Continental Conference. Its primary task was to work out in greater detail the threefold dialogue of culture, religion and the poor in the Asian entities.

An African theological commission under the leadership of Fr. Joseph Kuate is in the process of being organized, first of all in conjunction with the African Continental Conference, but also around the Theological Symposium of the Congregation.

The Theological Symposium on the Anthropologia Cordis will be held in Taubate, Brazil, in January 2014. It will gather in a seminar style to discuss the underlying anthropology of the Fr. Founder’s Oeuvre. It refers both to Fr. Founder’s original charism as well as its expression in the current constitutions. It will be under the leadership of Fr. Fernando Rodriguez Garrapucho.


E. SCJ Retreat

2012 spiritualità9

From October 28 to November 2, 2011 the General Curia went to Briatico to reflect together on the spirituality of the Congregation as found in first part of the Constitutions. Underlying this retreat of the members of the General Curia was the desire to begin the formation of a Dehonian Retreat: a series of reflections that could serve in the Congregation as a spiritual exercise in the Dehonian way. Five topics guided this retreat: (1) “Faith in the Son of God who loved me” : the faith experience of Fr. Dehon, (2) The apostolic and social dimension of the spirituality of the Heart of Christ, (3) The ministry of reconciliation / reparation, (4) Oblation, and (5) Communion in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.