The Preparatory Committee of the General Conference, which will take place in Manila (Philippines) from July 15-21, 2018, met for the third time in the Generalate of Rome. During the meeting, held February 6-12, the members, under the guidance of Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, completed the work on the program and the Instrumentum Laboris of the conference. The time of the conference will be divided between a brief presentation of the past of the Congregation’s efforts in social commitment, the status quo of today, and the real challenge: future commitment in the social field. The conference was not given a specific purpose at its start, which is to allow for the development of new ideas and projects for future collaboration in social works.
The main question that confronts both the preparatory committee and the general government is how to help the Dehonian confreres do what was indicated at the General Chapter: to get more involved in social works. The chapter and the programmatic letter propose that in initial formation that there be an internship of at least one year outside of one’s own entity and its cultural context, in the context of social works. Because of this, the Manila gathering will focus on the element of education for social engagement.
The Conference wants to not only inspire an increase in social engagement among Dehonians, but to also plan for their participation in existing works. It will not just be a time to reflect, but to experiment. Participants’ activities will include visits to social works in Bagong Silang and Payatas.
Approximately 80 Dehonian confreres will participate in this IX General Conference, most of whom, in addition to the major superiors, are confreres in charge of social work and formation.