• 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

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016 17:00

Grandfather Bill - supporting young missionaries in Indonesia


Bill-Burt-150By Fr Bill Burt SVD

Way back in 1969 I came to Ledalero, the major seminary of the Divine Word Missionaries, in Flores, Indonesia. I was a seminarian, coming to study theology and preparing for priesthood. I was ordained in early 1973, and then worked for about 3 years on a small island in the Flores Sea called Palue.

In 1976, I returned to Australia, taking-on a number of jobs in the following years in Australia, New Zealand and Tonga. Then, when my second term as parish priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Preston, in Victoria, was coming to an end, I accepted an invitation to return to Ledalero.

Unlike most places in the world, the vast majority of priests and brothers in Indonesia are youthful. Almost 300 young men are training to be Divine Word Missionary priests at Ledalero. And there are several hundred others from a variety of dioceses and religious communities studying here as well, in addition to a growing number of lay women and men. Most of the formation and lecturing staff are relatively young too, and except for Fr John Prior SVD, from the UK, Fr Georg Kirchberger SVD, from Germany, and Ms Joan Grabowski, a US lay missionary, all are Indonesian.

Bill-Burt-and-friends---Ledalaro---450There was a felt need to have an older colleague, from overseas, who could be both a “grandfather”-counsellor, and also someone who could provide a different viewpoint from the local staff-members. There was a need for someone to help with English, too.

For almost three years, now, I have been that person. I am not a professor or lecturer, and don’t have a formal title. I am not “employed” at Ledalero. However, I have an office on the campus with a door that is usually open. Anyone wanting to have a chat with “Grandfather Bill” is welcome to call in. I help with translating, as well.

Bill-Burt---Seminary-chapel---Ledalaro---350It is exciting being a part of Ledalero, which is now the biggest provider of Divine Word Missionary priests in the world. Later this year, 18 young men will be ordained. Three will remain in Indonesia, while the rest will take up mission postings around the world. One priest from last year’s ordination class, Fr Firminus Wiryono SVD, will soon start working in Australia.

Over the past 100 years, about 350 foreign Divine Word Missionaries have served in Indonesia. Over the past 30 years, the number of graduates from Ledalero and our brothers’ formation houses in Indonesia, who have gone overseas, has exceeded that.
It is a joy and an honour to play a small role, as “Grandfather Bill” in this very vital mission.