09 February 2024
09 Feb 2024

Called to be One in a Transforming World

5th Indian District Chapter, 15-18 January, 2024

by  Michael Augustine SCJ

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We have celebrated our 5th Indian District Chapter from 15-18 January, 2024 at Ernakulam, Kerala. There were 69 participants in the Chapter. Fr. Steve Huffstetter SCJ, our Vicar General and Fr. Vincentius Herimanto SCJ, our General Councillor, in-charge for Asia served as the facilitators of the Chapter and have guided us all with their valuable inputs and substantial insights.

The Chapter began with the Spiritual preparation. We had a spiritual conference given by Rev. Fr. Robin Daniel, OFMCap who spoke about the various parameters to evaluate our Dehonianness as we are on the path of preparing for our XXV General Chapter. He has enriched us with the following inputs:

  • Dehonians should always remain like the fresh flowers forming the bouquet and never to allow the flowers to fade away;
  • We need to have authenticity, unicity, credibility to form our Dehonian Identity;
  • Religious communities are the nostalgic extension of the Early Christian Community;
  • we need to focus on faith commitment of the confreres which includes apostolic, cultic and communitarian components.
  • We as Dehonians are to foster Spiritual presence and not just institutional presence;
  • We need to keep up the first love, to be a Dehonian alive and

During the District Chapter, we had the following Presentations of District Superior, District Treasurer, Formation Commission, Spiritual Commission,Pastoral Commission, JPIC Commission, Media & Communication.

The presentations were followed by a quality time for reflection and sharing in the small groups and then the presentation and discussion in the plenary assembly. We were divided into 10 small groups to facilitate qualitative sharing in a Synodal Way for further reflection.

On the Final Day, we have made some amendments in our District Directory and also made some changes in our Formation program (Ratio Formationis) to strengthen our Dehonian Formation in this transforming world. During the open plenary session on the last day, the Chapter participants had the possibility to clarify several doubts concerning the life and mission of the District and its future. And we have considered the following areas as our priorities for the coming 6 years fostering Indian District Vision 2030:

  • to expand our missions,
  • to contribute to foster the spirit of WE the Congregation by sending our missionaries for various missions around the globe with more clear guidelines (internationality & Interculturality),
  • to have plans to permanently establish ourselves in missions wherever we are at present,
  • to expand our missions to various parts of India (the land of the missions),
  • to invest more human resources for specialization (both in ecclesiastical and secular subjects),
  • to prepare psycho-spiritually integrated formators,
  • to find concrete means for financial stability,
  • to create more meaningful social apostolates to meet the urgent needs of the Church and the Society,
  • to have more collaboration of the laity by forming lay Dehonian communities, Dehonian Youth, Dehonian Families etc.
  • As the District is growing in membership (112 confreres at present), we shall initiate the process of making a formal request to become the Region to consolidate our Dehonian Presence in India.

The District Chapter has elected Fr. Michael Augustine SCJ as the First Delegate and Fr. Mathew Lalan SCJ as the Second Delegate to the General Chapter. The 5th District Chapter has come to an end with the thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration.

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