3 Volume 28 No. 2 | Winter 2018 Province gathers for 2018 Assembly and Chapter SVD Missionaries from across the AUS Province gathered together in Sydney for the Provincial Assembly and Chapter recently, affirming their commitment to the current missionary priorities and drawing deeper into wells of personal and community renewal. Provincial, Fr Henry Adler SVD, says the Assembly and Chapter focused on the theme: ‘The love of Christ compels us: Rooted in the Word, Committed to Mission’. “We were very committed to exploring the theme and to renewing our reality of being rooted in the Word and committed to mission,” Fr Henry says. The Assembly and Chapter, held every three years, prepare the Province for the SVD General Chapter, to be held in Rome later this year. They began with a presentation from Fr John Prior SVD, an Englishman who has worked in Flores, Indonesia since 1972, who placed the mission of the SVD AUS Province into the current global and cosmic context. Fr John identified the key issue of our times as being “the growing gap between the super-rich and the rest of us”, a gap, he said, which had “become virtually unbridgeable”. “This is the result of the globalisation that accelerated after 1989, resulting in a small network of economic actors running the global economy. National economies are losing their significance. This leads to mass migration and human trafficking, which is the underbelly of economic migration. This is not the world God created. This is the world we’re creating. Where are we in this world, personally, as communities and as a Province? Where does this place us? What does this mean to our mission as we work with the disenfranchised, the marginalised? “If we are to be SVD within this context, I think we have no other choice but to be counter-cultural. We have been called to mission at this time, in this world, facing global challenges, economically, politically and culturally.” Fr John also gave a powerful presentation on the cosmic nature of mission, based on the interconnectedness of all of God’s creation, earth, animals, people. Throughout the Assembly and Chapter he took on the role of ‘critical friend’, helping to challenge and probe the confreres as they examined their mission in the light of the current context. Also speaking at the Assembly was Fr David Leary OFM, who gave an expert account of the Royal Commission final report and the implications for the Church moving forward, as well as a session on renewal of self in light of the realities of the post Royal Commission environment. “Both speakers gave excellent, challenging presentations and helped us to look deeply at renewal of our self, our community and our mission,” Fr Henry says. “Another highlight of the Assembly was the gathering together with our lay partners, from SVD parishes, migrant chaplaincies and ethnic communities, as well as our staff.” The Chapter affirmed the current five mission priorities of the Province, which are: Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue; Primary and New Evangelisation; Indigenous and Ethnic Communities; Migration; and Social Justice and Poverty Eradication. Among the resolutions passed at the Chapter was a commitment to proceed with inviting lay friends of the SVD into a more formal relationship of SVD Lay Partners; and a deeper commitment to promoting and also living the JPIC apostolate (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation); and a focus on both the initial and ongoing formation of SVD members and lay partners.