On September 26, three of our ESL students – Fr. Tomasz, Fr. Sugi and Fr. Praveen – spoke with staff from the Province Development Office about their home countries. It was a way of connecting the work they do in fundraising with the many places our Dehonians serve around the world.
Fr. Tomasz talked about his home country of Poland, a country that is both very traditional but also very modern. Dehonians are involved in a wide variety of ministries, including work with corporate leaders to help them develop a strong sense of justice both as business owners and as employers. SCJs serve in parishes, schools, and retreat ministry, especially with youth. They are involved in media and publishing. Much of their mission work is in Eastern Europe in places such as Moldova and Belarus, places were poverty is a challenge for many.
Although its culture is very different than Poland, the Dehonian mission in Indonesia, said Fr. Sugi (pictured at the top of the page), is very similar: to serve the poor. The SCJs minister to orphans and immigrants. They run schools and serve in parishes. There is a strong Lay Dehonian movement. And like the Poles, the Indonesian Province has an extensive youth ministry and works in mass media. “Loresa” is a word used by Indonesians to express how they serve others. It stands for having a spirit of LOve, REadiness and SAcrifice.
Fr. Praveen was the last to speak, and in talking about India he said that “I am actually a stranger to my own country.” It was a way of highlighting the many different cultures of India. “We have no national language in India,” he said. Each state has its own language. The Indian District is one of the youngest Dehonian entities in the congregation and much of its mission is simply being an example of how the voices of many can live together as one. Before they can begin their studies to enter the seminary, candidates first must learn English, the common language of the SCJ district. But even with such challenges, the Indian District has rapidly grown. There are approximately 100 SCJs in vows. Ministry is primarily in parishes centered on the poor, but there are also several social outreach programs, including bringing the basics of clean water and toilets to those who are without.
“You, through your work, help us build the SCJ presence in India and help us serve others,” said Fr. Praveen. “We are grateful to so many in the United States who support our ministries, who help the poor of India. Thank you.”