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Report
In many ways, Friday, June 5, was a day of celebration at the General Chapter. It began with Eucharist at which Fr. John van den Hengel was the main celebrant. It was his 50th anniversary of priesthood. Then it was on to a visit with Pope Francis who set aside a prepared text to freely speak with the SCJs, noting his familiarity with the congregation, its work and its charism. He mentioned Bishop Virginio Bressanelli, the former…
  Much of the chapter’s work on Thursday was in small groups. In the meeting hall there were only a few business items: information about the next day’s visit with Pope Francis, approval of a statement from the chapter on the persecution of Christians, a presentation on the use of DehonDocs, and a look at the tenth anniversary website produced by “Dein Reich Komme,” a publication of the German Province. However, during one of the presentations participants were reminded…
The first item of business at the General Chapter on Wednesday was the four motions. The first called for a public statement of solidarity to be made by the congregation on behalf of persecuted Christians. “It is estimated that 50 million Christians are persecuted each year, yet this issue rarely gets the attention of the media,” said Fr. Pedro Fernandes Coutinho In presenting the motion. Capitulars agreed that the concern is significant but that instead of directing attention solely…
Each day's session begins in prayer.   The “Preferential Option for the Poor” and  “Mission” were the final themes to be fleshed out in the small groups at the General Chapter.  As noted previously, the work of developing these themes is vital for the new general administration as it sets priorities for its work and the needs of the congregation in the future.  Each theme continued to receive a three-fold review: what gives inspiration to the theme, what commitments does the…
Moving into its the third and final week, the chapter continued to develop themes and priorities for the congregation. This work is vital in giving the new administration direction as it sets the course for the congregation’s future. The first small group discussions were on the topic of “Fraternal Life in Community.” As with their discussions on Friday, the capitulars were asked to identify sources of inspiration for the theme but also to list practical steps that…
Participants at the General Chapter picked up on Friday where they left off on Thursday: identifying priorities, and thus themes of focus for the congregation in the years ahead. The capitulars returned to their small groups. Joining them in their discussions were several invited guests of the chapter, including Silvia Bertozzi and Grace Escobia who serve on the Dehonian Family organizing committee. In their first session chapter participants prioritized the themes identified yesterday: formation, spirituality and identity, organization of the general government,…
After a day of celebration that included a Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by a trip to Frascati and a musical performance at Cristo Re in Rome, the capitulars moved to the next phase of their task: work on the theme of the General Chapter (Merciful, in Community, with the Poor). They began by grounding themselves in prayer; much of Thursday morning was devoted to extended Adoration. Then it was on to small group discussions where the…
  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. In just one round of voting Fr. Heiner Wilmer, provincial superior of the…
  One of the primary tasks of the General Chapter is to elect the congregation’s general administration for the next six years. Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho completes his second six-year term during this chapter. “We must enter into this process with a free and open heart,” said Fr. Ornelas. “This is a democratic process, but God is also a part of that process. We must listen to the Spirit. Jesus told us that we must…
Just as with Fr. General’s report, capitulars broke into multilingual, multi-cultural groups to discuss the general treasurer’s report. This was presented by Fr. Aquilino Mielgo Domínguez on Wednesday, as was the report of the financial experts. Reporting back in the meeting hall, small groups echoed much of what Fr. Aquilino had said. Sharing between the entities must continue and grow stronger. However, solidarity also calls for transparency. The concept of a “common purse” is vital to Dehonian religious life. Yet,…
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