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From every nation, language dan culture

African song and dance lead the procession

The opening mass at the main chapel

The official declaration by the General Superior

WITH AFRICAN style of procession, coloured by its distinctive customs, rhythm of songs and beats of tambourine, the general superior of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), Fr. Anthony Pernia, accompanied by four zonal coordinators, leads the whole capitulars to enter the main chapel of Ad Gentes Centre, Nemi, Italy, to mark the opening of the SVD General Chapter with a solemn mass, on Sunday, June 17, 2012. The opening ceremony is also attended by members of SVD Communities in Rome and Holy Spirit Sisters (SSpS) Congregational Leaders. On the way to the chapel, the procession stops twice to do the first and second reading, in Spanish and Vietnamese. And finally the Polish concludes the procession at the Gospel reading in the chapel.

In his homily, Fr. Pernia reminds all capitulars of their duties to build certain congregational directions. This particular chapter is very much related to the two previous chapters, 2000 and 2006. Therefore, the 2012 chapter serves as the closing part of the trilogy of the last three chapters. 2000 Chapter gives us theological and spiritual basis of new mission approach, which is summarised in the new definition of mission as prophetic dialog, characterized by four characteristic dimensions: Biblical Word, Communicating Word, Animating Word and Prophetic Word. 2006 Chapter provides us vision of how to live this prophetic dialog within the society, underlined in five different areas: spirituality, community, leadership, finance and formation. And 2012 Chapter is expected to develop clear form of congregational directions, which will guide the whole society in practical ways that would to some extent bring the mission implementation to the perfection, either for the world or for the Society itself. Therefore, the theme of this chapter would be "FROM EVERY NATION, PEOPLE AND LANGUAGE: Sharing intercultural life and mission."

After the communion, Br. Roland Scheld of Steyl Community, German Province, brings a candle from Steyl, the birthplace of the society, that is lighted by Fr. Willibrord Kamion Bhia, the provincial of Congo, Africa. With that, Fr. Pernia officially declares that the chapter is opened. The declaration is responded with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

In the afternoon session of the opening day, all capitulars gather in the chapel and silently join the procession to the aula magna (main hall) for the enthronement of the Bible that will remains open on a podium right at the centre of the hall. After singing the Veni Creator and recites some prayers and petitions, Fr. Pernia gives some introduction, followed by presentation of agenda and organisation structures and procedural rules by the Vice General, Fr. Konrad Keller.

The opening day is concluded with solemn adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and Vespers, led by Fr. Tony Pates and Fr. Peter McHugh. Now the task lies ahead of all capitulars to represent ideas and concern of their respective home provinces, regions and missions. Yet, one common thing raises among them is the spirit of fraternity as everybody is aware that we are from the same mother society and need to find common ground to live our mission with one spirit in the variety of missionary assignments, languages, cultures and nations. All superiors and delegates of Indonesia and East Timor are present at this chapter, namely Fr. Leo Kleden, Fr. Paul Budi Kleden and Br. Martin Mamaq from Ende Province; Fr. Isaak Servulus and Fr. Hubert Muda from Ruteng Province; Fr. Simon Bata and Fr. Yulius Yasinto from Timor Province; Fr. Felix Kadek Suartha, Fr. Eko Yuliantoro and Fr. Aurelius Pati Soge from Jawa Province, and Fr. Gabriel Suban Koten from East Timor Region. For the first time in the history of the Society, a Fijian confrere attends the chapter, i.e. Fr. Asaeli Raass of Australian Province.


Nemi Ad Gentes Center, the venue of SVD XVII General Chapter



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