31 January 2023
31 Jan 2023

Dehonians in Germany reflect on the German church synod and their own vocation.

Doing something good for one's confrere, meeting together, looking beyond one's own community, strengthening each other and exchanging ideas: there are many reasons why a meeting of the German Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart was organized at the beginning of the year.

by  Brigitte Deiters

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“His way is our way” (SCJ Constitutions 12).

This was more or less the motto of the days prepared by Fathers Ryszard Krupa SCJ and Olav Hamelijnck SCJ, but to whose success many others collaborated. “They were relaxing and spiritual days,” Father Hamelijnck said at the end, and the feedback from his confreres was similar.

On the first day, Father Heinz Lau SCJ gave the impetus to reflect on one’s baptismal and religious vocation by bringing Edith Stein as an example. For this reason, a visit to Bad Bergzabern, the church where Edith Stein was baptized 101 years ago is located, was planned for the afternoon.

Bishop Heiner Wilmer SCJ reported on the process, cooperative work, results, and reactions from Rome and the universal Church with respect to the German Church’s synodal journey. “It is fortunate that he was able to explain many things first-hand,” said Fr. Hamelijnck. The goal of the consultation and discussions was also to explore what these discussions meant for the religious. In the afternoon, the small groups then continued with the presentation of the religious in Germany to the World Synod.

“None of us can escape a personal examination of the issues of the synod journey,” said Provincial Fr. Stefan Tertünte SCJ, expressing his gratitude that so much space was given to this topic. “When we talk about the issue of power, women in the Church, sexuality and the image of the priest, it is not about structures. It’s about people!” he stressed. During the Epiphany meeting, he noted that there is a wide spectrum of opinions within his confreres, “also because of the diversity of cultural backgrounds, but not only.” That is why it is so important for the German Province of the Order to remain “in dialogue with each other and with the Holy Spirit” despite the differences. This diversity of thought and action is for the Province “a challenge and an opportunity.”

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