Ireland and UK
At the beginning of August I was “baby-sitting” that is, looking after the community house and basic activities in Dublin while Fathers John Carmel and Michael Moss were on retreat with the other confreres from the UK and Br Francis from the Vatican at the Jesuit retreat house of St Beuno in North Wales. I then flew from Dublin to Liverpool where Br Firas met me and I stayed with Fr Stephen and Br Firas for a few days at Up Holland. At Cardinal Heenan House there is wonderful work going on caring for elderly people, many suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Fr Stephen supervises the lay manager and celebrates Mass and sacraments and Br Firas was daily with the staff and residents. I was able to visit Mr Joseph Tipping, an ardent benefactor of our Delegation and with him went to visit some of the other friends and benefactors in Penwortham, near Preston. Then I went down to London with Br Firas who was changing communities from Up Holland to London. He was sorely missed by the staff and residents of the Home. I spent the week-end in Hampton Wick, spent some time in Orione House for elderly people where again great work is going on in caring for our needy older brothers and sisters. I also had a cup of tea with our Polish brothers and sisters who attend Mass in Polish with Fr Henryk Halman after the earlier Mass in English with Fr Philip and Fr Joseph Tirello. I returned to Rome on 13th August. It is good to note that in the UK the Charity of the Sons of Divine Providence is now legally modified with greater participation in decision-making of the “Members” that is, the Confreres, the Delegation Council and Fr Flavio Peloso. The Board of Management consists of Fr Philip Kehoe, Chairman, Fr John Carmel Perrotta, Fr Stephen Beale, Fr Michael Moss, and the newly appointed Mrs Ursula Harrison and Mrs Bernadette Griffin, old friends of the Congregation. The two lay-members are appointed by the Members for a three-year term of office and can be re-appointed.Payatas
On 17th August Fr Eucinei Antonio De Souza, was officially installed as parish priest in our parish at Payatas, Quezon City, Metro-Manila by His Excellency Antonio Tobias, Bishop of Novaliches. Best wishes to him in this very demanding role in an enormous and very poor parish. He is together with Fr Julio Cuesta, the vicar and bursar and Br Mark Mangulabnan, doing his first year of tirocinium and they are joined by Fr Diego Lorenzi until next June. Fr Martin Mroz is also involved in the parish, even though he belongs to the community of Lucena, because he is in charge of PAOFI which runs the medical and social programmes for the Parish. Also Frs Anderson, Stefan and John Castillo and the novices and seminarians, from Montalban, also come to assist in the parish on Sundays
Secretariat Meetings via Skype
I must confess that I failed to participate in two or more Secretariat meetings via Skype which I had planned - because of forgetfulness! My apologies to all concerned. Let us not be discouraged but try to continue these very useful meetings.
This year I joined confreres from Italy and other countries at Montebello from 22nd to 28th August, some of whom were celebrating 25th, 50th, 60th or 70th anniversaries of religious vows or priestly ordination for my annual retreat. The preacher was H.E. Mons. Giovanni Scanavino OSA, emeritus bishop of Orvieto and Todi. He spoke very much and passionately about the love of God dwelling within us because of our Baptism in the light of St Augustine’s “Confessions”.
Feast of Our Lady of Safe-keeping (Madonna della Guardia) Tortona, 29th August
Brs. Ian Kiprotich, Gideon Ombwori and Sunil Raja were called to serve at the altar for the novena leading up to and including the feast day itself. My participation was mostly by being available for Confessions and I hardly ever had a spare moment in all the six hours. On the following day I went with them on foot and by car to visit the house where Don Orione spent much of his life, the “Paterno” in Tortona, our parish in Voghera which was a Franciscan convent where little Luigi Orione first tried his vocation, the house where he was born and the church where he was baptised in Pontecurone, the chapel which he rebuilt of Our Lady of “La Fogliata” and the Hermitage of “Sant’Alberto”. They had previously visited the Cottolengo of Tortona where seriously disabled children a very lovingly cared for by our Sisters and many volunteers. I managed also to visit Sr Leonarda who had spent many years serving the people of Kenya, especially in Meru and Igoji and was now in the “Mother House” where Don Orione started his first college, cared for by Sr Evangeline from Meru, Kenya. We all returned by train to Rome on 31st August.
Synod for Africa and Madagascar
On 6th August I went with Fr Flavio, Fr Eldo and Fr Pierangelo, the Provincial of Italy, to the Ivory Coast to participate in the Orionine Synod for Africa and Madagascar. It was about sixteen years since I had visited the Ivory Coast where a good number of our confreres from Kenya have spent some of their initial formation, starting in 1992. I saw many developments, especially the enormous shrine of Our Lady of Safe-keeping (“Notre Dame de la Guarde”) and the Provincial House and additional buildings at the nearby novitiate, the women’s hospital near Anyama, the new Theological House at Anyama, the Sisters Novitiate near Anyama, the new Church of Our Lady Mother of Divine Providence at Bonoua and several new developments at the Centre for the Handicapped at Bonoua.
7th September, World Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace and for Syria.
This was the day of prayer and fasting for peace in the world and especially in Syria called for by Pope Francis. I would like to thank you all for your participation in this event of the whole Catholic Church, and all who wished to take part, like the Muslims in St Peter’s Square, wherever you were. I think we are seeing the fruits already.
Syrian Refugees Zarqa
Our Frs Carlo and Hani in Zarqa, Jordan, are co-operating with Caritas in distributing food, clothing and medicines to the ever-increasing number of refugees from Syria and are also preparing accommodation for a number of families with the help of the Fondazione Don Orione and Fr Alessio.
The Synod continued
The Synod was composed of four of us from Rome, representing the General Curia, the Province of Italy, which includes Madagascar, and the Delegation, Fr Paul Mboche and Peter Wambulwa from Kenya, Fr Luciano Mariani and Fr Modeste from Madagascar, Fr José Geraldo from Mozambique and the Provincial for Brazil South, Fr Aparecido Da Silva, Fr Basile, the superior of the Vice-Province of Africa, Fr Riccardo the bursar, Fr Fabio and Fr Natale from Togo, Fr Mathieu and Fr Silvain from Burkina Faso and Fr John Baptiste and Fr Angelo from Ivory Coast. We discussed evangelisation, culture, inculturation and formation in Africa and Madagascar and also how we can co-operate better in the future. Some points which I remember are the many charitable, pastoral and educational activities that we have in all these countries as well as formation of the numerous young men who are coming forward to join us. It was mentioned that while respecting culture is important, it can also be used as a tool to escape the full demands of the Gospel and the religious life. The meaning of the word “synod” is “seeing together” therefore sharing experience, ideas, how to improve. So that is what we did and we talked about many aspects of life in our communities and saw that we must move from individualism to sharing, from multiculturality to interculturality, from words to life and action, using especially lectio divina, deeper spirituality, significant moments from the life of Don Orione as signs of how to live our charism. We also decided to continue the synodal experience by meeting every three years and setting up secretariats for all the areas of life in the congregation in Africa and Madagascar and finding a small group of confreres to be the permanent committee for motivating the synod. Bishop Raymond kindly joined us for supper on the last evening.
After the Synod Fr Flavio, Fr Eldo, Fr Pierangelo and I returned to Italy and Rome on 13th September.
General Canonical Visit UK & Ireland
From 17th – 27th September Frs. Fulvio and Joao Batista carried out the General Canonical visit in the UK & Ireland. They had meetings with all the confreres and visited all the three communities at Hampton Wick, Up Holland and Dublin and visited all the properties of the Congregation.
Ist Year Theology Rome
This year the Delegation has five confreres beginning theology in Rome – Br Marcio, Br Ian, Br Jeremiah, Br Gideon and Br Sunil. They join Br Raju, now in the second year, Br Njenga, now in the third year and Deacon Sidon who is completing his license.
Confreres arriving in Italy for studies and tirocinium
I was able to welcome Br Rey Jones who had arrived from the Philippines in the Curia as he started studying Italian and then went to our community at Camaldoli, Genoa. I also welcomed Fr Praveen who had arrived from India to study for a license in a branch of theology which was finally decided on, namely, pastoral theology of healthcare at the Camillianum. Meanwhile Fr Antonio applied and was accepted for a license in Arabic and Islamic studies with the Missionaries of Africa in Rome.
Visit of Fr Diego and Nancy Baldwin from the Hickey Foundation
We also had a brief visit in Rome from Nancy Baldwin, the chief executive of the Hickey Foundation which helps many of our programmes in the Philippines and now in Kenya. Fr Diego came to Rome to welcome her and then travelled to the Philippines to join the community at Payatas for about nine months.
Meeting of the Executive Council for Formation Rome
On 30th September I took part in the Executive Council for Formation at the Theology House, Rome with Fr Joao Batista de Freitas, Fr Carlo, Fr Alessandro, Fr Giacomo, Fr Pierangelo and Fr Basile, to reflect on the roles of formators and spiritual directors, the timing and place of tirocinium (the importance of the community receiving the confrere in tirocinium) and other matters.
· The Orionine Lay Movement Assembly, Montevideo, Uruguay, 7th -11th October. Karen Chia from UK and Fr Mariano Zapico, co-ordinator for India are attending
· The General Assembly of Verification at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil, 13th – 20th October. Fr Mariano and I will attend. This is also the start of the Orionine Missionary Year. Each country must prepare a celebration to remember the foundation of the Congregation in his territory during the following 12 months. Please let me know the date as soon as possible!
· Formation in the charism course, Montebello, Italy, 4th – 15th November.
· Delegation Council in the Philippines 26th– 28th November.
· General Canonical Visit Zarqa, Jordan, 15th - 20th December.
· General Canonical visit to the Philippines, 25th – 31st January 2014.I am hoping to visit India and Jordan soon.
Fr. Malcolm Dyer FDP
Missionary Delegation "Mother of the Church"