Society Matters | Volume 28 No. 1 | Autumn 2018

3 Volume 28 No. 1 | Autumn 2018 SVD Superior-General thanks our Partners in Mission during visit to Province When the Superior-General of the Divine Word Missionaries, Fr Heinz Kuluke, visited the SVD AUS Province recently, he had one key message for both confreres and Partners in Mission: “Thank you”. “I am here to thank you,” he said. “I am always touched by the dedication of our missionaries and the many mission partners who support us in so many different ways.” Fr Heinz, who is German, spent most of his missionary life working with the poor of the Philippines, before being elected as Superior-General six years ago. Since taking up the leadership post, he has visited all of the 81 countries in which the SVD’s 6000 missionaries are present. “New Zealand was my last country,” he said. “I’m through now. It’s been a challenge, but also wonderful to meet the people and see the work being done. “I’m not an office man. I like to be among the people. I want to get out and meet the people we’re working with.” Fr Heinz said he was delighted to spend time in the AUS Province, with his itinerary taking in Melbourne, Alice Springs, Santa Teresa, Brisbane, Sydney and New Zealand. He has previously visited Thailand, which is also part of the AUS Province. “Australia is a very important Province for the Society,” he said. “Australia helps us to train missionaries from different multicultural contexts and send them out to our 81 mission countries. It’s a tremendous contribution you’re making. “It is good for the Society and, I believe, it is good for the world. I believe the world would be much poorer without religious congregations such as the SVD and Australia would be a poorer place without the Church, where people are putting their faith tradition into practice every day.” Fr Heinz said he was impressed with the work of the confreres in the AUS Province, especially their commitment to being with the poor, with multicultural parishes, and with indigenous communities. He was also thankful for the contribution of lay people to the SVD mission. “In the SVD, we recognise that what we need in many areas is lay expertise,” he said. “We are pastors, theologians and we do that well, but for the rest, we need lay expertise. And the generous cooperation of lay people, our partners in mission is why the AUS Province is moving forward so well. “We, in the rest of the SVD world, are learning a lot from Australia in this area and looking to it for guidance.” Finally, Fr Heinz thanked all those people throughout the AUS Province who support the SVD in any way. “I want to express our deep gratitude for what they’ve done for our Congregation, the sacrifices they’ve made in sharing their finances, their time, their resources over so many years. We can’t express it in words. “But we know that what we are doing today, what our predecessors have done, and what we plan to do in the future, is not possible without benefactors and partners in mission. Photo: Emilie Ng/Catholic Leader