• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Thursday, 30 September 2021 11:39

Assembly brings confreres together across the miles

CaptureMore than 70 members of the Divine Word Missionaries Australia Province – came together this month for the first ever online Provincial Assembly.

Provincial, Fr Asaeli Rass SVD, says the Zoom platform created both challenges and opportunities for the gathering.

“It meant that we could achieve maximum participation, even during this time of COVID with so many travel restrictions,” he said.

“To be able to come together at all and spend time together when so many of us are experiencing COVID lockdown was a real blessing.

“However, I realised that when it comes to intercultural communication, using platforms like Zoom can be very tricky, simply because we come from 18 nationalities and we have to be even more mindful of cultural differences such as body language, timing, inviting people to speak and allowing time for silence.

“So, there is still a lot of work to be done in those areas when using the digital platforms, but thank God this technology exists and allows us to come together in this way.”

 Fr Rass says a Provincial Assembly is an opportunity for confreres to catch up, to get to know each other better and to listen to the stories from those in the various districts and countries of the Province.

“Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit working underneath the various ministries,” he says.

“A Provincial Assembly is a consultative body and is always held prior to a Provincial Chapter, which is a more prescribed gathering in terms of canon law and procedure.

“It allows the Provincial Council to feel the pulse of the Assembly, using the common road of synodality, gathering ideas in our attempt to form policies for the Province.”

Fr Rass says Provincial Assemblies have always focused on the Province’s vision and mission, and this Assembly also sought to engage in the strategic planning which underpins vision and mission.

He said the theme of Invitation came through strongly in the Assembly, both through the guest speakers and the general discussion.

Guest speakers Emeritus Bishop of Darwin, Bishop Eugene Hurley and ACU Biblical Lecturer Dr Janine Luttick, both spoke about the power of invitation in the Christian life.

Bishop Eugene questioned whether “we have lost the art of invitation” and he urged the confreres to get to know people and learn their story as a means of accompanying them in a loving and merciful way.

Janine also stressed the importance of invitation to the table of leadership within the Church and urged those present to help tackle some of the barriers that people, especially women, can face in finding a seat at the table of Church leadership.

“That message of not leaving anyone outside the table, whether that be the Eucharistic table or other parts of the Church, was very, very powerful,” Fr Rass says.

In light of that commitment to inclusion and to accompanying the marginalised, the Assembly affirmed the Provincial Council’s desire to further embed its mission with indigenous Australians.

“This year, as well as celebrating 100 years of the SVD here in Marsfield, we also celebrate 20 years of the SVD working with the Indigenous communities of Central Australia,” Fr Rass says.

“We acknowledge that we are relatively new to this – many others have been there for much longer, including the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Jesuits.

“But as we celebrate 20 years, we wish now to make a deeper commitment, according to our charism, the Anthropos way, to be absolutely serious about putting down our roots with the indigenous people we accompany by applying ourselves to learning the language and culture, to learning from the elders and leaders and working with them where they are.

“We wish to work with the bishops’ mandate we’ve received to work with indigenous Australians – to work with the bishops, with NATSICC and with the indigenous elders in a policy that honours our charism and our deep appreciation of their culture, language and the Cosmic Christ who was there, in these communities before we arrived.

“We are committing ourselves to no longer touching the surface, but really going to the roots and engaging deeply with the First Peoples of our land.”

Fr Rass says the Assembly was also a precursor to the global Church’s engagement with Pope Francis’s Synod on Synodality taking place in 2023.

“It’s an exciting time to be engaged in mission. Under Pope Francis the Church has opened the windows and provided opportunities and an invitation for everyone to participate in the work of the Kingdom, to dream of a different way of doing Mission,” he says.

IMAGE: Screenshot taken from one of the Assembly's prayer sessions.