A shift from north to south
As noted last week, the major superiors of all of the provinces, districts and regions of the Priests of the Sacred Heart have been meeting in Rome. Meetings conclude on October 27.
In their first days the superiors focused on the Six Year Plan. The document brought to light the fact that the population of the Priests of the Sacred Heart is shifting from the northern hemisphere to the southern. In particular, Africa has changed from being a continent ministered to by missionaries from the north to being one whose SCJ population is now primarily African –– and much larger than before. In 1991 there were 65 SCJs in Africa; in 2010 there are 311 members (again, primarily indigenous Africans).
This movement to the south is not just an SCJ trend but a trend of the Church as a whole.
The repercussion for the general administration is that it must prepare for a congregation that is no longer European-centered. During his presentation of the Six Year Plan to the U.S. Provincial Council, Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, general councilor, said that “This shift from north to south is the greatest change and challenge that the congregation has faced since its initial development.”
Fr. Aquilino Mielgo Domínguez, general treasurer, continued to address the changing face of the congregation during his report to the superiors. Preparing developing entities to take on more leadership in regards to finances is a priority for his office.
“Taking care of the finances of a province – this is a ministry, an important ministry” said Fr. Aquilino in an interview during his visit to the United States last summer. “We need to train people in Congo, Cameroon, Mozambique, India, the Philippines and other developing areas to do a ministry that in the past was done by missionaries. This is as important as training an SCJ for any other ministry in our community.”
The general treasurer’s office will host an extensive financial course in Rome from January through May 2012 aimed at SCJs who new to financial ministry. It will include over 400 hours of class work. The program will also focus on financial management from the perspective of a religious congregation, and in particular, the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
Much time during the Major Superiors meeting has also been spent in small, geographic gatherings, during which SCJs spoke about common issues. The reports on the meetings showed a common theme – collaboration. The European entities are planning a conference on secularism in society that will take place in October, 2011. Those from the Asian entities discussed interreligious dialogue and the inculturation of the Gospel in an Asian context, as well as a joint formation program to be held in 2012. South Americans also hope to further their collaborative efforts in formation. In Africa, SCJs are preparing for a conference on the meaning of consecrated life in the African context.
Fr. Tom Cassidy has written several letters from the Major Superiors Meeting that you can access at the province website. Click here.
Two features regarding the meeting have also been posted on the province website:
And finally, photos and reports from the gathering are available on the congregational website. Click here. The daily reports are in Italian, but there are several supplemental documents (such as Fr. General’s opening homily) in English under the reports section. Photos from the gathering are available under the reports tab.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Chuck Wonch had a pacemaker inserted last week.
Those celebrating birthdays in November include: Fr. David Szatkowski (37) and Fr. Ed Kilianski (56) on Nov. 2, Br. Brian Tompkins (54), Br. Luc Coursol (60) and Fr. Bill More (84) on Nov. 4, Frater Greg Schill (35) on Nov. 14 (just a week away from his diaconated ordination), Fr Jan de Jong (73) and Fr Joe Doscher (77) on Nov. 17, Fr. Tim Gray (62) on Nov. 18, and Fr. Larry Rucker (77) on Nov. 30. Happy birthday!
The U.S. Province hosts a blog at http://scjusa.wordpress.com/. The blog is a place for SCJs (of any province, region or entity) and those with whom they collaborate (including lay ministers, employees and parishioners) to share something about themselves and their ministries. A possible topic for an SCJ in parish ministry could be a special liturgy –– something in a recent liturgy that made it memorable. Or a comment on a homily that seemed to have impact.
An employee might reflect on something in his or her day that helped the person feel more connected to the mission of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Or, the writing might be as simple as “something funny happened today and I want to tell you about it.”
A teacher could write about a class or student that has impacted him or her. Or again, “something funny happened at school today…”
Please submit your blog posts to Mary Gorski at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have questions about blog submissions, again, contact Mary Gorski.
November 3-4: Provincial Council Meeting
November 20: Frater Greg Schill’s diaconate ordination at Sacred Heart School of Theology (invitations will be in the mail soon; all SCJs are welcome)
December 14-15: Provincial Council Meeting
Fr. Tom Cassidy returns from the SCJ Major Superiors meeting on October 30, after which he has a visitation with the formation community in Chicago. November 3-4 he has council meetings at the Provincialate.