P. Victor Bieler, C.M.
1. Let us first have a look at what the Constitutions and Statutes of the CM say; after that we could have a quick look at the last General Assemblies.
C.16: -Among the apostolic works of the Congregation, the foreign missions to peoples in a similar stage of evangelization have an honoured place.
In building up a new ecclesial community, missionaries should pay special attention to the “seeds of the word” which may be found in the cultural and religious practices of the people (cf. EN, 53).
S.5.In regard to the work of the foreign missions, the following norms should be observed:
1° in a spirit of co-responsibility, provinces, whether on their own initiative or at the invitation of the superior general, should give mutual assistance;
2° individual provinces, or several provinces together, should take on at least one mission territory to which they send members as workers in the Lord's harvest;
3° members should be offered the possibility of helping the work of the missions in a practical way, even to the extent of volunteering to undertake the work of evangelization there;
4° members should be urged to share in the universal and local Church's promotional work for the missions. The promotional work for the Congregation's own missions should be properly organized.
2. What do we understand by international missions in our Congregation ?
We could start from the reality as it is now. But we cannot really talk about this, if we do not have a notion what international and what missions means.
Foreign missions or missio ad gentes : formerly: territories belonging to the Propaganda Fide, territories where there is no hierarchy yet. Which are the territories that still belong to the Propaganda Fide, are there still territories without a hierarchy ? Is Zaire a mission country, Indonesia ? India ?
Must we take mission purely in the sense of “being sent”.
International missions: between nations, so there is differences with between provinces; may we identify international with interprovincial ? Central America is that international or interprovincial ? Which provinces have members of other nationalities? Is international identical with foreign ?
3. The international missions or missionary projects now.
Looking in the Catalogue we find on pages 2 and 3: Bolivia, the Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Ukraine, and Albania.
How did they start ?
4. Requests for help received by the Superior General:
1992 Ecuador, Alejandro Soria, diocesan priest, archdiocese. Quito: request to staff major seminary in Quito (3 June 92), answered 16 April 1994.
Burundi, diocese. Of Bujumbura, bishop Simon Ntamwana (26 oct. 1992): return of the Vincentians et DCs.
1993 Mauritania, bishop Robert de Chevigny, diocese of Nouakchott: vincentians (26 mai 1993)
Ukraine, Bishop Purwinski
Peru, Bishop Raimundo Revoredo Ruiz, CM (20-2-93): international missionary team for pastoral - Aymara Indians- and seminary work.
Madagascar, Mgr Zevaco, CM: team of 4 professors for diocese Tolagnaro. Diocese of Fiarantsoa interdiocesan seminary near our scholasticate of Tanantsoa, especially prof of phil, and theology. (13-12-92) Cuba, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba Pedro Maurice Estíu, 13 priests for 600.000 people (22-03-93)
Basil, Bishop of Roraima, Msgr Aldo Mongiamo, I.M.C., Basil: urban pastoral, pastoral of migrants, pastoral for Indians (31-5-93)
Papua Nugini, Diocese of Wabag, bishop Hermann Raich, SVD: help with our seminaries (7 June 1993)
1994 Iraq, Msgr Paul Coussa, Armenian Catholic: community of Vincentians and DCS (April 28, 1994)
Papua Nugini, bishop William Kurz SVD, Diocese of Kundiawa, lecturer in H. Scripture and a priest for spiritual formation (spiritual director), also one for “human sciences”, liturgy and homiletics. Could you provide 2 full-time staff members (Jan. 18, 94)
Basil, Archdiocese. Sao Salvador da Bahia: parish and new mission (18-10-94)
South Africa, bishop of Kroonstad, J.L. Brenninkmeijer: ten-year commitment to develop local clergy (Nov.. 22, 1994)
Denmark, prov. of Netherlands, parish
Angola, bishop Eugenio Salessu: professors pour son seminary (20 May 1994)
Sierra Leone ,bishop of Makeni, George Biguzzi, S.X., lecturers for major seminary: dogma, canon law, liturgy, moral theology
Mozambique, Vice visitor: 4 confreres (3 priests + 1 brother) for pastoral
1995 Turkey, Francesco Gonella, CM (07 January, 95
Zaire province: confrere for Kimwenza
Greece, archbishop of Corfu, Antoine Varthalitis: local church in Salonilka(16 dec. 1995
Angola, Sr. Virginia Ann Brooks, DC:a confrere for the sisters.
Cuba, (27 marzo 1995)
Ethiopia, Mgr Demerew Souraphiel: say mass, teaching at seminary, DCs.
Honduras, bishop of Trujilla, Virgilio Lopez: two parishes
Papua New Guinea, Henry van Lieshout CMM, bishop of Lae, team for pastoral work in 3 cities, university chaplain, youth work, director of pastoral centre to coordinate pastoral courses
1996 Rwanda, bishop Joseph Nduhirubusa, diocese. Of Ruyigi, priests pour le Petit Seminary et une paroisse (28 fevr. 1996)
Algiers, Francis Hiss CM: polish priest , Francophone, for the whole of Algiers and DCs in Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania.(8 fevr. 1996)
Nigeria, Regional Sup.: formation for 3 years
Cameroon, Yves Danjou, un confrere Francophone for the pastoral, who can lead a community, Nsimalen) (5 oct. 1995)
5. The International Missionary Projects:
A. Bolivia: this new missions is situated at Le Alto, in the highlands of Bolivia, at a height of more than 4000 metres, which demands that the confreres must get used to a new kind of breathing in the thin air. They work here with Indian tribes and have to learn the languages. Our confreres there are Bernard Massini from the province of Toulouse, Elias Romero and Aaron Gutierrez from Mexico, and Boguslaw Sroka from Poland.
B. the Solomon Islands: request from the bishops to the Province of Australia, which did not have personnel to send, so they send the letter to the Superior General, McCullen. He send a letter to visitors of English speaking provinces, who answered that they did not have personnel. After the General assembly 1992, it was decided to send a letter to all the confreres with the requests for confreres from other provinces, bishops and others. There were several who volunteered for the Solomon Islands.
There are now 3 confreres in the Solomon Islands: Marcello Manimtim from the Philippines, Tom Hynes from USA, and Stanis Reksosusilo from Indonesia. They are teachers at the interdiocesan seminary near Honiara.
C. Tanzania, The Sisters of Untermarchtal in Germany had already years before asked for a confrere who could become the director of their sisters in this country. Till then the director was a Benedictine, but the sisters have a Vincentia spirituality. Leo Dobbelaar had already approached the former superior general about this subject. There were now volunteers for Tanzania. This grew in the sense that the local bishop also asked for confreres. Later on the Indian province volunteered to send confreres. These confreres are: Chacko Panathara, Johnson Neumgadan, James Theikanath and Prokash Tirkey from India. Myles Rearden is the spiritual director of the sisters.
The bishop of Mbinga also asked for help in the pastoral field, i.e. in Mbinga and Mpepai.
D. Ukraine: After the fall of communism, it became possible for the Church to start in several places. Requests from bishops. The confreres are : Joroslav Jasso from Slovakia, Jacek Dubicki from Poland and Jan Trzop also from Poland.
E. Albania: The leading figure in promoting this as an international missionary project is Father Vitello. The confreres now belong to the Naples province. This is also the province that is directly responsible for the new mission, although with the help of the Turin and Rome provinces.. Cristoforo Palmieri, Giuseppe Ferrrara, Mario Murgia from the province of Turin, Lino Nicolai from the province of Rome, Marek Owsak who comes from the Polish Province.
F. China: The confreres of the international missionary project now belong to the province of China. They live in the Perboyre Mission Centre in Taipei, preparing themselves for going to the mainland. In fact, 3 of them have expressed the desire of ging to China: Joseph Loftus of the Irish province, Thomas Sendlein of the Eastern province and Anton Budianto of the Indonesian province. Two others, Dario Pacheco and Peter Solis of the Philippine province, would like to stay in Taiwan to work with the Taiwanese, the Aborigines and the Filipino contract workers in the country. This mission found its beginning with an Australian confrere, John Halloran, who taught in China for some years, but had to leave the country. He was with Aitec. The superior General took up contact with Edward Kelly, the chairman, and Miss Audrey Donnithorne, who is very much engaged in China. And so, after a visit to mainland China, accompanied by Ned Kelly, an appeal was made to the confreres.
G. Mozambique: The Province of Mexico offered to send confreres: Jorge Pedroza, Jesus Arzate, José Ramirez. They work now in the diocese of Xai-Xai.
H. Cuba: has received several confreres from other provinces.
The bishop, of German origin, has asked for confreres to work with about 50.000 Russian-Germans. There are also many Poles, many of them have married Russians. One should start with forming small groups, from which larger groups can be made. Most of them speak German. But of course, knowledge of the Russian is necessary.
6. How many responses were received ?
The responses received on the letters from the Superior General requesting volunteers:
Provinces with confreres having nationalities other than the nationality of the people where they work.:
Rio de Janeiro