Society Matters | Volume 33 No. 3 | Spring 2023

5 Volume 33 No. 3 | Spring 2023 Society Matters The SVD Chad Mission Chad is a land-locked country in central Africa, sharing borders with Niger, Libya, Sudan, Republic of Central Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria. Chad has a population of 16 million, of which 1.6 million live in the capital and largest city of N’Djamena. The country is comprised of some 110 ethnic groups, with a total population of about 14 million. People speak a variety of local languages, but French and the local version of Arabic are the most popular ones. Chad has a brutal climate, with two-thirds of its territory being part of the Sahara desert. Chad is one of the poorest countries in Africa, due to recent civil wars, coups and endemic corruption. The Human Development Index placed Chad as the 186th amongst the 188 countries in the world. The country is divided socio-culturally between the predominantly Muslim north and the largely Christian south with 55.3 per cent of the country being Muslim, 40.6 per cent Christian and 4.1 per cent adhering to tradition religion. Of the 40 per cent of the population who are Christians, more than 22 per cent profess the Catholic faith. The SVD began its missionary activities in Laramanaye, in the Diocese of Gore in 2004. Today, 10 SVD confreres live and work in three parish communities, one in the Diocese of Moundou and two in Gore. People are hungry for the Word of God and in the SVD parishes, adult catechumens number in the hundreds. The missionary priorities of the Chad mission are: Primary evangelisation, training lay leaders and faithful, educational programs, missionary animation; accompanying families and youth; promoting justice and peace with small selfhelp projects towards integral human development, especially in the rural context; ecumenical and interreligious dialogue with partners, especially Muslims and adherents of the many other churches. RIP Fr Anton Bulla SVD Fr Anton Bulla SVD has been remembered as a faithfilled and joy-filled person, a committed priest and missionary, both during his years in Papua New Guinea and later in his ministry of healing through the marriage tribunal in Sydney. Fr Anton died at Marsfield on July 11, just shy of his 89th birthday. His funeral Mass was held in the St Arnold Janssen Chapel, Marsfield. “Anton was a faith-filled and joy-filled person and he touched the lives of the people he met,” said friend and homilist, Bishop Robert McGuckin. Fr Janusz Skotniczny SVD delivered the eulogy, saying how Fr Anton had grown up around the SVD and entered the SVD Minor Seminary in Nysa at age 15. However, shortly afterwards, the Communist regime in Poland closed all minor seminaries, leaving Fr Anton and his classmates without a completed secondary education. But the SVD allowed them to enter the Novitiate and finish their schooling there. Fr Anton entered the SVD on September 8, 1952, taking his first vows on September 8, 1954 and final vows in 1960. He was ordained a priest on January 29, 1961, but under the Communist government wasn’t allowed to leave Poland for the missions until some years later when he was appointed to New Guinea (later, PNG), where he became a multi-task bush missionary caring for parishes and schools in Kerowagi, Denglagu, Chuawe, Wangoi in Chimbu Province, Kamaliki in Goroka Province and teaching catechesis, Fr Janusz said. In the 1980s, Fr Anton was asked by Bishop William Kurtz SVD to study Canon Law in Canada, later returning to PNG, working in the marriage tribunal and assisting with parishes. But with deteriorating health, Fr Anton moved to Australia, taking up ministry in the Sydney Archdiocese tribunal, which he described as: “The tribunal of healing wounded and broken relationships”. Fr Anton continued this work until his retirement to the SVD Marsfield community in 2019. He remained active until his last morning of July 11, 2023 when, preparing himself for morning Eucharist with the community, Fr Anton Bulla SVD was called by the Lord to Eternal Rest. For more on Fr Anton’s life and mission visit: