Thursday, 8 May 2003

Rome (Fides Service) – The Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonian Fathers) will hold their 21st Chapter in Rome, 12 May to 13 June at their General Curia house on the theme “Dehonians in Mission: hearts open with solidarity”.
In a communiqué the Dehonian Fathers say: “The general chapter intends to project the congregation with a heart open with solidarity towards those situations of social injustice and frontier where many of our confreres already work: Congo, the first mission opened by Father Dehon, and where for years a cruel forgotten war is being fought; the Philippines, where two years ago our confrere Father Giuseppe Pierantoni was kidnapped and held hostage for months; the great poverty in Latin American countries; the de-Christianisation of Europe; the Church in Asia where in recent years the Dehonian districts of India and the Philippines were born. The chapter aims to respond, lastly, to an appeal from the Bishops of Vietnam for a Dehonian presence in that nation”.
Some 80 delegates from Asia, Africa, America and Europe will take part in the chapter, which will elect a new General Superior to replace Argentinean Father Virginio Domingo Bressanelli.
Father Bressanelli says that the “21st Chapter intends to be a continuation of the general chapter of 1997: “We, the Congregation, at the Service of the Mission”. In 1997 we reflected on the first part of a project “We the Congregation” responding to the challenge of globalisation with the theological principle of communion, with the spirituality of Sint Unum and with operative options of communion of persons, collaboration in projects and sharing of goods. Now we intend to focus our attention on the ”.
The verification will deal with three themes: a return to essential Dehonian Christian religious life; confrontation with the challenges of our day; the specificity and re-qualification of the apostolic service of the Dehonians.
Father Bressanelli underlines that “Father Dehon’s call to come out of the sacristy and go to the people, sends us still today out to the world, to the people, to the peripheries. We join the conflicts on the roads where, at least in part, the future of humanity is at stake”.
The Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart was founded in France in 1887 by Venerable Father Jean Leon Dehon. Today some 2,300 priests and brothers work in 38 countries. LM (Fides Service 8/5/2003 EM lines 34 Words: 390)