Fr. Emil B. Pati, SVD

Divine Word Missionaries

Pindangan, San Fernando City

La Union, Philippines

SVD Characteristic Dimensions

The XV General Chapter highlighted Bible Apostolate (BA), Mission Animation (MA), Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and Communication as “characteristic dimensions” of our Apostolic service and Missionary life. As ‘Ad Gentes’ missionaries, “We get to know the biblical Word whose story is told in scriptures. We proclaim the animating Word who calls everyone to share in his mission. We commit ourselves to the prophetic Word who announces peace, justice and transformation of all creation. We share the communicating Word who seeks only to be poured out in self-giving love.” (In dialogue with the Word, Nr. 1, 3.3[74]).

These characteristic dimensions are the mark of every SVD. So encompassing that, “…whether confreres work in a parish, school, or specific apostolate, whether they are at the beginning of a life of missionary service or near its end, their life and work ought to bear the marks of the Biblical, Animating, Prophetic and communicating Word.” (In dialogue with the Word Nr. 1, 3.3[77]).

Specifically, they are essential to our own community life. “…as Divine Word Missionaries we seek to share the bible together, animate one another, to be just and at peace with one another, and to communicate with one another in fraternal love.” (In Dialogue with the Word Nr. 1, 3.3[78]).

  1. On Mission Animation

1.1 Mission animation, as a characteristic dimension is a way of life and ministry

for every SVD. It has four tasks:

1.1.1 encouraging and ad gentes mission spirit that is willing to explore new situations and to seek out partners for dialogue.(Directive for Mission Secretaries #3.3.1)

Mission ad gentes can either ad intra or ad extra or both.

1.1.2 Promoting collaboration in ministry that is open to full cooperation with laity and with other ministers in the Church. (Following the Word 6:24)

The Society of the Divine Word (SVD) considers its relationship to the laity very essential, thus, missionary collaboration is sought to ensure a fuller communion. It is a task to the Office of the Provincial Mission Secretary undertakes with seriousness. Since its establishment almost three years six years ago, SVD institutions employees, project sponsors, parish and mission station catechists and pastoral workers and staff as well as other associates are grouped together and intimately called PHN SVD FRIENDS. They are specifically SVD immediate family members, SVD associates/coworkers and XVDs.

1.1.3 Helping the laity to fulfill their mission in the Church and in the world. Too often we seem to be asking the laity to help us rather than to be asking ourselves how we might help them. (In Dialogue with the Word, Nr.3,5.2.2[60].

During meetings and recollections, PHN SVD Friends renew their commitment to pray for the missions. A prayer for missionaries (leaflet) is to be prayed daily. Each is enjoin to establish a praying relationship with any our missionaries abroad. Each endeavors to promote vocation in the family by praying and attending church activities together. In places where they work, each will try to encourage young colleagues to attend search-ins and to attend big church functions like Ordinations, Perpetual Professions, etc. In schools or parishes, each will get involved in all mission program and activities. As SVD Friends, they actively promote fundraising activities for the mission for instance, the distribution of the brown mission envelops, the traditional way and other unique and innovative means of doing mission animation and promtion.

1.1.4 Cultivate a wide, universal vision so as to witness the coming of the Kingdom. The ability to see local situations within a wider, “world” context is a special gift that we could contribute to nearly every situation in which we find ourselves. (In dialogue with Word, Nr. 3, 5.2.2(60)

1.2 Mission Animation, as a characteristic dimensions is a way of approach/strategy. It has three aspects:

1.2.1 We are called to move from “nest-building” to “passing-over.”

After few years in a given ministry there is a strong temptation to settle in. as individuals and as communities, we are called to leave the familiar and settled order of things so as to encourage dialogue in frontier situations. (In Dialogue with the Word, Nr. 3,[60].

1.2.2 We are called to move from “the desire to control” to “teamwork”

Clericalism and other inordinate desires fro control place large barriers on Catholic evangelization. As we encourage people to contribute their own gifts, we are called to let go of our grasping at control and to develop instead a capacity and enthusiasm for working with others. (In Dialogue with the Word Nr. 3, 5.2.2[60].

To be more effective in the work of mission animation, teamwork is very essential. Thus, the SVD Mission Animation Team (SMAT) for the triennium 2008-2010 has the following duly elected confreres as members:

Fr. Randolph Botial, SVD – Cagayan District

Fr. Cirilo Ebisa, SVD – Tabuk District

Fr. Leonardo Hiquiana, SVD – Abra District

Fr. Dominador Fernandez, SVD – Vigan-Laoag District

Fr. Emilio B. Pati, SVD – PHN Mission Secretary

1.2.3 We are called from “being the star” to “being the cheerleader or coach”

A good mission animator has to learn when to leave the job to someone else and play the role of a coach or a cheerleader. We give someone else a chance to ‘shine’. (In Dialogue with the Word, Nr. 3, 5.2.2[60].

  1. On Vocation Promotion

2.1 Personal and community witnessing

Every SVD is a vocation promoter. “It is the responsibility of each individual and community in the Society to win young men for the missionary ideal by living our vocation in a convincing way as well as by earnest prayer and active effort.” (Const. 510) In fostering vocations, each confrere and every community need greater commitment to pastoral care of vocations. Some confreres are doing fairly well on this regard. A confrere in his own initiative organizes every year a vocation Search-in in his parish. “Our efforts to win missionary and religious vocations therefore, must begin with self-reflection and an open attitude towards renewal. Only on this foundation can direct vocation (to us) recruitment be meaningful and bear fruit. (Fr. H. Heekeren, SVD, ‘Pastoral Care for Vocations’, august 5, 1982)

2.2 Collaborative Vocation Promotion

SVD friends are vocation promoters too. At home parents can very instrumental for the young members for vocation awakening. The family is indeed a seed bed for vocations. In work places, they can get in touched with young coworkers and students/young people and lead them to vocational introspection

  1. On mission-mindedness

3.1 Mission talks, Recollections, Mission Masses in schools and in the parishes

3.2 Fund Raising for the Mission

3.2.1 SVD Mission envelopes

3.2.2 Mission Pledges

3.3 Net working, media, Information technology, etc.

  1. Projects

4.1 Centennial Mission Exhibit

4.2 PHN SVD Pastoral/Personnel/School and Special Apostolate Profiles.

This is a joint project of the SVD four characteristic dimensions.

“Our institutions have their employees, their sponsors… our parishes and mission stations count on the active involvement of many catechists and pastoral coworkers. Our schools have lay teachers, associations and committees. Our mission procures and institutes have their benefactors…”

(Report of r. General, following the Word no. 8)

They are SVD Friends!


2 Responses

  1. Hello Fr. Emil,

    Thanks for this info on svd mission animation… I will be quoting you and this site in the article i will be writing on svd characteristic dimensions.

    I need to get in touch with you regarding this topic. I hope i could get your email add.

    thank you apo!

    • hello!

      it’s okay. how are you? how is life? let’s keep on with the mission endeavors…God bless you!

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