There are three Divine Word Missionaries based in and around Wellington, New Zealand, engaged in a variety of ministries.
Archdiocese of Wellington
Our SVD priests, Fr Marlon Maylon and Fr John Quang Phan have the pastoral care of the Parish of the Holy Spirit and work with other priests and lay pastoral leaders from the Archdiocese of Wellington as part of a new expression of collaborative ministry.
Archbishop John Dew has introduced Lay Pastoral Leadership into the Archdiocese both as a way to address the shortage of priests and to celebrate and support the baptismal calling of lay people in the Church.
Under the Lay Pastoral Leadership model, lay men and women are trained so that they can work alongside priests in pastoral area teams, not replacing the priests, but complementing them and collaborating with them in providing pastoral care in a particular area of the Archdiocese.
The parish is made up of four churches, Sacred Heart Parish, Petone, St Patrick's Wainuiomata, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Waiwhetu and San Antonio Church, Eastbourne.
The parish is is a multicultural community, made up primarily of Kiwi, Maori, Pacific Islander, Filipino and Sri Lankan peoples.
Bible sharing and study groups meet regularly and Bible seminars, hosted by SVD missionaries, also feature regularly. A celebration of SVD Foundation Day on September 8 is held every year and attracts a good turn-out.
Missionz – (The Pontifical Mission Societies)
Fr Bernard Espiritu SVD has been appointed by the Vatican as the National Director of Missionz – the Pontifical Mission Societies in New Zealand.
Based in Wellington, Fr Bernard is charged with promoting and finding funding and support for the four Pontifical Mission Societies in NZ. The four societies are: Propagation of the Faith; Holy Childhood; St Peter the Apostle; and the Missionary Union.
Fr Bernard travels the length and breadth of New Zealand, speaking at Masses, promoting a missionary spirit among the people, and raising funds for the missions around the world.
The Missionz office produces resources and liturgy material to help parishes celebrate Mission Sunday which takes place in October, which is Mission Month on the Universal Church calendar.
In the tradition of the Society of the Divine Word, Fr Bernard says that his work is firmly planted in the scriptural tradition.
“Scripture should be the context of Mission education,” he says. “You become a cheerful giver if you know why you’re giving.
“By promoting Mission in this context, I believe we can build a tradition for the future. It’s an SVD contribution to the Church.”