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Mission of SVD

Mission of SVD

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Published by: richma26 on Nov 29, 2007
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FUTURE MISSION OF SVDs
Introduction
I am here to share with you what could be our mission in the future as Divine WordMissionaries. At the very outset, I thank Fr. Stan for giving me this wonderful opportunity toreflect along with you on this relevant topic.When we are called upon to speak of future realities, most of us tend to speculate what our future should be and accordingly we make our proposals. E.g.; we have often given speeches onwhat I would do if I were the Railway Minister, Mr. Lalu Prasad or what I would do if I becomethe PM of India? But called on to reflect on our future mission I cannot do the same, eventhough I am tempted to do so, with a topic so vital for our life and mission. So, in the first part of this presentation I would like to propose the basis for the future mission i.e. the life of the DivineWord, Jesus, endeavours of other congregations in the changing times, paradigm shift in theunderstanding of mission, changing dynamics of our Society and our General Chapters. In thesecond part I will share with you what necessitates such a future mission and in the third partwhat could be our future mission.
1.Basis for the Future Mission
1.1First of all, the life of the Divine Word, Jesus, was one of love and service and it was for the realization of the Kingdom of God. He began his public ministry by proclaiming, “thekingdom of God is at hand repent and believe in the Gospel.” Lk. 4:18-19 Jesus presentedHis mission manifesto and this he lived out all through his life. Thus He inserted andimmersed himself in fighting against the evil, the unjust structures and thus restored thelost dignity of the excluded.1.2 Many congregations have already adopted to this essential dimension of mission todayand many more are grappling with this reality. Holy Spirit Sisters have already taken agreat leap in forming the future missionaries in this new paradigm Sr. Shalini, Provincial,India South Province, during the formation board meeting held at Jharsuguda mentionedabout this shift in their functioning and formation). OFMs have set a clear-cut programme to form their future friars and many more congregations are embracing thishard way of witnessing instead of being only ministers of the Church and institutionalrepresentatives.1.3The XV General Chapter (2000) defined our mission today as “Prophetic Dialogue.”1.4Paradigm shift in the understanding of mission necessitates different approach to life andmission. We are called to move from a Church centered to a Kingdom centered approachto mission. There is a need for us to move from a geographical mission to a frontier mission where human situation is much more relevant than the geographical or numericalexpansion. That’s why the issues related to justice, peace and integrity of creation urge usto move in that direction all the time.1.5 We have to look at our future mission in the light of the growth of our congregation andin the context of globalization and secularization. SVD is a growing congregation in thechurch with relatively young membership. In the recent past our Society is becomingmore and more ‘third-world’ in origin, particularly Asian and so we need to address the problems and struggles of our people in Asia in our future missionary endeavours.
 
2. Sings of the Times
2.1 Missionary challenges for SVDs
Touched and affected by the realities of our globalizing and secularizing world, we arechallenged and urged as a congregation to give an effective response to the concerns andneeds of our times.We ourselves are not immune to the impact of globalization and secularization. Thespeed of change, the flow of information, the conveniences of travel, the availability of material goods, the focus on personal comfort and individual rights, the diminishingrespect for life, the mobility of people, the fragmentation of families and societies, thesearch for meaning in life, the breaking down of national and cultural borders througheconomic and interdependence, and the struggles of peoples to maintain their rights,dignity and identity touch us as persons and as community. We are urged to reread thesigns of the times.
2.2The passing of Christendom
In more and more places, active church-going Christians will live as a minority. Thistrend is nothing new. This is observed in many traditional Roman Catholic countriessince Vat. II. While the change is coming quite unevenly in various parts of the world, itthreatens many Christians. We live increasingly among neighbors who feel no pressuretoward religious affiliation, and many of the children of religious parents are notchurched in any active way. In these changes, Christians are being forced to question if they are to have a religious future at all. How can we make an appeal to this section of the population without the benefit of a position of privilege or advantage?
2.3The unchurched as formerly churched
The task is greatly complicated by the fact that so many of the people who are outsidethe church were at one time church members. It is a great challenge to take the Christianstory to those who have never heard it, but a double challenge to convince those withearlier and negative experience of the Christian community to give the church another try.
2.4Residential religious pluralism
Our world mission is now a local mission in the cities, and even to some extent insmaller towns, as one's neighbours and co-workers may be Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or adherents of other traditional religions. When people are co-workers, children attendschool together, and intermarriage looms as a real possibility, the confident sense of living as a Christian is deeply challenged. I see many more signs of conflict at this pointthan evidence of local congregations dealing positively with how to live together in thisnew situation. The minimal first step would be to provide opportunities to learn moreabout the religions of these neighbours. 
2.5 Challenges posed by Globalization and Secularization2.5.1Globalization and Market economy
: With its extreme focus on profit, a marketeconomy fosters competitiveness that leads to greater gaps between rich and poor. Thenumbers of socially excluded people – like immigrants, refugees, the imprisoned,asylum seekers, the homeless, street children and the detained continue to increase.Trafficking of women, prostitution and the spread of HIV/AIDS are among thesymptoms of market economy trends. Environmental destruction and ecological
 
imbalance result from the use of natural resources for immediate profit withoutconsideration for the future.
2.5.2 Globalization and Technological development
: Though providing us with fast andconvenient ways of keeping informed and maintaining contact with one another, massmedia also affect how we see and understand the global society and ourselves.Technological development has contributed to the misuse and manipulation of media, toviolence, to consumerism, to concentration of power. It has given rise to moral andethical issues surrounding techno-medicine, genetic engineering, cloning and other social justice concerns.
2.5.3 Globalization and Ethno-consciousness
: As globalization moves the world toward amega-culture, ethno-consciousness the desire for a sense of cultural identity and belonging often causes unstable political and economic situations, corruption,oppression, ethnic and tribal conflicts, violation of human rights, racism, religiousfanaticism, poverty and terrorism
2.5.4 Secularization
: Secularization has led us to lack of respect for persons and their values.Its most obvious symptoms are erosion of moral values on the personal, familial andsocietal levels. Individualism, loss of faith, loss of meaning in life, changing concept of the family and its disintegration, and the degradation of women are also consequences of secularization.
3. Our Future Mission
3.1 His mission our Mission
We, the Divine Word missionaries are called upon to continue the mission of Jesus intoday’s context. Jesus Christ was born outside the town; he lived on the road and diedoutside the city. We should be encouraged to go beyond the gates of our institutions andstructures in a prophetical manner so that it might be possible for us to meet theexcluded. Jesus had started the movement of establishing the Kingdom of God and weneed to revitalize this movement in our future mission. He started movements of leadingthe people back to the Father, fighting against unjust structures, fighting against self-glorification and pro-life movement. So once again we need to pledge to make Hismission our mission.
3.2 Mission to the Restless Souls
Many people today may not publicly profess their faith by certain worship patterns butwe see in them greater thirst and hunger for values and for God. People are fed up andempty in a way after having gone behind the world and its pleasures. They are lookingforward to live by the word of God and life enhancing values. We, the Divine Wordmissionaries first of all, need to be challenged by this phenomenon and take up our responsibility seriously in proclaiming the values of the Kingdom as manifested in theScriptures.

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