On July 2nd, 2008, the SCJ Pastoral Convention organized by the Philippine District commenced. It is being held at “Bukal ng Tipan” center, a former CICM (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) seminary in Taytay, Rizal in Metro Manila and is attended by 43 SCJs from 13 different entities of the Congregation and 2 Lay Dehonians. It’s noteworthy that 10 participants are from Indonesia, 5 from United States of America, 2 from India, 2 from South Africa, 1 from Democratic Republic of Congo, 1 from Cameroon, 1 from Canada, 1 from Germany, 1 from England, 1 from Mozambique, 1 from Poland and 1 from Vietnam. The rest, with the exception of 2 General Councilors, Fr. Claudio Weber and Fr. Andreas Madya, come from the Philippines.
The theme of this Convention is “Pastors with Compassionate Hearts”. This is inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), which can also be a source of inspiration in our SCJ pastoral work, in reaching out to our needy brothers and sisters.
The Convention is composed of two major parts: the seminar-workshop (July 2-16, 2008) and field trip to the island of Mindanao (July 17-21, 2008). The aim of the first part, which is divided into three parts, is to see the reality we are living in and its challenges, to reflect on our SCJ vocation and to see what can be done to better address the urgent needs that we are facing right now as a Church and as a Congregation. The intention of the first part is to share, to discuss, and to learn from each other. In the middle of the first part, there will be a day of recollection with the time for prayer and personal reflection. The aim of the second part is to visit the places where there is an SCJ presence, to see the living conditions of the people, their problems and the work being done by the SCJs.
The Convention started well and according to the plan. At the start of the first day, Fr. Rino Venturin, the District Superior welcomed all the participants and presented the background of the convention, which was decided during the General Conference in Warsaw, Poland. The next was Fr. Andreas Madya, the General Councilor, who read the letter of the General Superior Fr. Jose Ornelas Carvalho addressed to the participants of the SCJ Pastoral Convention. Fr. Vilsom Basso, the coordinator of the convention, also welcomed the participants and presented the plan of activities that are going to take place during the next few days. The first input entitled “Pastoral Reality of the Congregation” was delivered by the General Councilor Fr. Claudio Weber in which he presented the whole panorama of the SCJ engagement in pastoral activities of the SCJ members in different parts of the world and realities. The first part of the day was concluded with the concelebrated Mass presided by Fr. Andreas Madya.
The second half of the first day of the convention was dedicated to the personal presentation of the participants during which they could share about their life and work.
The first part of the second day was dedicated to the “Pastoral Reality in Different Countries” during which representatives of different entities of the congregation presented their pastoral involvement, some of them using Microsoft Power Point and some others just power of word.
In the afternoon of the second day, Fr. James Kroeger, MM, presented “The Reality of the Church in the World.”
In the evening of the same day, Fr. Francis Pupkowski showed a Power Point presentation about the reality of the Philippine District entitled “Our Life and Our Work”.
The third day, July 4, 2008, was dedicated entirely to the reality of the Church in Asia. Fr. Domingo Moraleda, CMF in his input regarding the “Identity, mission, and future of the Church in Asia” presented in a very dynamic way its lights and shadows, hopes, and worries.
On July 5, and 6 there were no sessions. On July 5, 2008, the participants had an opportunity to visit some interesting places in Metro Manila, particularly: Black Nazarene Church, San Augustine Church – one of the oldest in the country, Fort Santiago, and the dumpsite in Payatas in Quezon City which is the pastoral area of the theologians and possibly the future parish of the SCJs. Many of the visitors were literary shocked seeing the slums and the pitiable living conditions of the people existing next to the mountain of garbage and earning their keep from the dumps. The culmination of the day took place in Dehon House in the SCJ Theologate where the participants of the convention together with the seminarians had a Holy Eucharist and followed by a common supper. This day was also the birthday of one of the participants from Canada, Fr. William Marrevee, who just turned 72. The day was full of impressions, a little bit tiring, but, on the other hand, everybody was happy. This was also a day of farewell for Fr. Claudio Weber since the following day, July 6, 2008, he had to leave for Rome and to Argentina where he will take part in the Provincial Chapter.