Society Matters | Volume 30 No. 1 | Autumn 2020

Volume 30 No. 1 | Autumn 2020 2 Message from the Provincial Superior Dear Friends, As you receive this edition of Society Matters, we are about to head into Autumn, leaving behind us one of the deadliest and most challenging Summer seasons ever experienced in Australia. And while the seasons move on, we know that many people affected by the bushfire emergency are only just beginning the long process of rebuilding their homes, livelihoods and communities, and many more are mourning lost loved ones. Our prayers are with them all. Difficult times such as these draw us together as a community and help us to understand in new ways that we are all connected in our humanity. As I begin my term as Provincial of the SVD AUS Province, it is this vision of shared humanity, anchored in the knowledge that we are all made in the image of our loving God, that drives me forward. For those of you who don’t know me, I was born in Fiji on March 23, 1968 and began my SVD journey in 1993, taking up my Postulancy and Novitiate in Australia. During formation I spent time in Ghana as part of the Overseas Training Program and then headed back to Australia for Theology studies and ordination to the Diaconate. I was ordained to the Priesthood on December 14, 2002 in Fiji. Most recently, I have spent several years as Parish Priest in Alice Springs, where I got to know the local First Peoples of the Arrernte nation. Walking alongside them as they faced the many challenges of dislocation, poor education, housing and health outcomes has given me an even deeper resolve in our commitment as SVDs to being with the poor and the marginalised. As Provincial, I will be relying on the support of my confreres and the Provincial Council, but also on your prayers and practical collaboration. More than ever the SVD is grateful for you, our Partners in Mission. Without you, we cannot keep on doing the work we do. As I begin my term in leadership, I ask for your ongoing prayers for me. And please be assured that I will pray for you and your needs too. Our Mission is Christ’s Mission. And by virtue of our baptism, we are all in this mission together. In this edition of Society Matters you will read of how your generous donation to our Vanuatu Cyclone Appeal has culminated in the rebuilding and blessing of a new Church for the people of Tanna Island whose community was flattened back in 2015. You will also read of how your support has enabled us to support a project in Chad which not only gives young women sewing skills, but also provides sewing machines for them to help give them an economic future and lift them out of poverty. I am looking forward to sharing in the mission with you. Yours in the Word, Fr Asaeli Rass SVD Provincial Superior Cover Story: The Divine Word Missionaries in the Chad Republic are helping to lift women and communities out of poverty by teaching them to sew and gifting them sewing machines. Appeal Office: 199 Epping Road, Marsfield NSW Locked Bag 3, Epping NSW 1710 Australia Telephone: +61 2 9868 2666 Victoria: 100 Albion Road, Box Hill, Vic 3128 Tel: +61 3 9890 0065 Queensland: 96 Lilac Street Inala QLD 4077 Tel: +61 7 3372 5658 New Zealand: 6 Stanley Street, Wainuiomata 5014 Tel: +64 4 970 8405 Published by Divine Word Missionaries Incorporated, ABN 51 885 667 646