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Tuesday, 28 February 2023 07:39

General Visitation gets underway across Australia Province

Visitator at Dorish Maru 2023 550The SVD Australia Province is hosting two General Visitators over the next month, who will make their way around the various districts in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand to spend time getting to know the confreres and observing our ministries in action.

Fr Yosef Masan Toron SVD, who is currently serving as the General Chairperson of the Indonesian Biblical Institute, is one of the Visitators appointed by the SVD Generalate in Rome. He is joined by Fr Jose Antunes da Silva SVD, who is Vice Superior General and was the provincial superior of Portugal.

Provincial of the AUS Province, Fr Asaeli Rass SVD, says the Visitation, which occurs every six years, is an opportunity to share with the Generalate the life and mission of the AUS Province, as well as to receive feedback and identify areas for growth and development.

“The Visitators will spend time in each district, observing our ministries, but also, importantly, talking with confreres and hearing their stories and experiences as missionaries in this part of the world,” Fr Rass said.

“A Visitation is a formal process, where the Generalate checks in on how we are living out our charism and responsibilities as Divine Word Missionaries, especially in light of the resolutions of the last General Chapter.

“But it is also an opportunity for us to give them a hands-on view of the joys and challenges we face, to share that with our confreres in the broader Society.”

VISITATOR JOSE AT SVD BANGKOK 550The SVD’s Handbook of Superiors describes General Visitations as “a vital means of animation and interpersonal contact with a resulting increase in Society solidarity and the morale of members”.

Fr Rass said the SVD General Council has proposed that the General Focus for the Visitation be: “Our name is our Mission: Renewal and Transformation in ASPAC.”

“As Divine Word Missionaries, being faithful to our name is a permanent challenge said Superior-General, Fr Budi Kleden, in a letter to Fr Rass.

Quoting from the outcomes of the 18th General Council, Fr Budi said: “We are inspired and compelled to commit ourselves to carry out the work of the Missio Dei to become transforming missionary disciples of Christ in each place, among every people and for all cultures”. #13

“As confreres, communities, province, and congregation, we seek continuous renewal and transformation so that we truly become transforming missionaries in name and task,” Fr Budi said.

The Visitation will look at both individual and community spiritual renewal and discernment, intercultural life and mission, as well as the implementation of the resolutions and recommendations of the 18th General Chapter.

Other areas of focus would be the challenges and learnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, and initial and ongoing formation.

Due to the geographic spread of the Province, Fr Jose and Fr Yosef will split the Visitation duties, before coming back together again to attend the Provincial Chapter in Sydney in early March.


TOP RIGHT: General Visitator, Fr Yosef Masan Toron SVD (centre), celebrates Mass with members of Dorish Maru College in Melbourne.

SVD Vice Superior-General, Fr Jose Antunes da Silva (centre), spends time with members of the Thailand District during his official Visitation.


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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Society of the Divine Word, Australia Province, acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, sky, and community.

We acknowledge their skin-groups, story-lines, traditions, religiosity and living cultures.

We pay respect to their elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all indigenous peoples of New Zealand, Thailand, and Myanmar.

We are committed to building with them, a brighter future together.