Sint Unum with the Holy Father and the Universal Church

The day was characterized by Pope Francis' audience with the capitulars. In the afternoon, reflection on ecomomy and commemoration of the confreres who have passed away in the past six years.

by  Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ

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The twelfth day of the XXV General Chapter begun with a private audience with the Holy father in the Vatican. In his address, Pope Francis reflected on the theme of the General Chapter, “Called to be one in a transforming world: That they may believe” (Jn 17.21). He emphasized two main points: “to be one” (unity), and “that the world may believe” (mission/evangelization). He reminded us that at the Last Supper, Jesus prayed that unity would be given to his disciples as a gift. “Unity is not our work, we cannot attain it on our own. We can do our part, but we need God’s help. (…) The more united we are with him, the more united we become with one another.” In terms of our apostolate, he asked us, “how can you say something meaningful to a world that seems to have lost its heart?” In fact, this fraternal meeting encouraged us to move on with our desire to build reconciliation to a broken world. It was a true experience of Sint Unum with the Universal Church represented in the person of the Holy Father, who took time to encounter us. Informally, Pope Francis turned to Fr. Carlos, superior general, and promised to pray for Dehonian vocations. Thank you, Pope Francis. We also promise to pray for you!

To read Pope Francis’ speech, click on: “I thank you for all that you do”

Returning from the papal audience, we celebrated the Eucharist in English for the memory of our deceased confreres. The main celebrant was Fr. Piotr Surdel, superior of the South African Province. In his reflection on the Word of God, Fr. Piotr said that the first reading tells the story of the Babylonian invasion over the Kingdom of Israel, the consequent destruction of the temple, and exile. Isarel interpreted this tragedy as result of their unfaithfulness to God and for having oppressed the poor. God spoke through the prophets and invited his people to return to him. They must reorient their lives according to his law. The Bible attests that God has never abandoned his people. Rather, he is always reaching out and seeking them. As people saved by the Lord, we are called to open ourselves to discernment. For us Dehonians, discernment means to immerse ourselves in God’s love, to find out his word for us today; it is to change our ways to be configured to God’s way (metanoia). In the Gospel, Jesus says that those who listen to his words and act upon them are like a wise man who built his house on rock. We welcome the Word of God to change our minds and heart. In this process of metanoia, we have God as our companion, as well as each other. And today, we have the example of our confreres who came before us and were faithful servants of God and his Church. May they intercede for us!

In the afternoon, we gathered in language groups to work on the topic of economy. The results of the groups discussion will be shared in the chapter hall tomorrow.

To close today’s work, a beautiful celebration of remembrance was held in the chapter hall. As we watch on the screen the names and pictures of our confreres who passed away in the last six years, white roses were offered in front of the cross to honour their memory. May the fragrance of their charity continue to perfume heaven. Requiescant in Pace!

As on June 28 we celebrate the birth of our Congregation, on 27  evening at 9:00 pm, there was a moment of prayer and music concert called “Dehon Voices.” Confreres from different countries presented their song celebrating the treasure of our Dehonian charism in the spirit of Sint Unum.

To see the Dehon Voices:

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