Manila, July 2-21, 2008

Letter from Manila


We gathered here in Manila with enthusiasm and passion for our ministries and our mission. We came here hungry for direction and guidance, and as we listened and shared with each other, our joy grew stronger every day.

Greetings to you, our brothers in the Congregation throughout the world and to you our brothers and sisters of our parishes and Christian communities!

You will see by our names at the conclusion of this letter that we are SCJs from the Philippines (11), Indonesia (10), Vietnam (1), India (2) South Africa (2) the Cameroon (1), the Congo (1), Mozambique (Italy) (1), the United States (5), Canada (1), England/Ireland (1), Germany (1) Poland (1) and two General Councilors from Rome.

The setting for this Pastoral Conference is Manila, the Capital of the Philippines, the most Catholic country of Asia.

We are gathered in an awesome part of the world and the Congregation, a part of the world and the Congregation that is difficult to describe. It is a world so different from Europe, Africa, and the Americas. While we see aging and few vocations in North America and Europe, more hope and life in Africa, we see Asia bursting with energy, growing in vocations, and full of hope for the Church and the SCJs.


Did you know? That in Asia exist

  • Nearly 2/3 of all of humanity or over 4 billion people

  • 85% of the non-Christians in the world, 700 million Muslims, the 4 largest Islamic nations

  • 110-115 million Catholics (only 2.9%) and about 50% of them are here in the Philippines. (And the Philippines is over 80% Catholic!!!)


That the emerging mega-trends in Asia are:


  • Government controlled to market driven

  • Export to consumer “cultures”

  • Labor intensive to high technology

  • Villages to super cities

  • Deep faith to fundamentalism

  • Rich to poor

We have been celebrating our Dehonian vocation and are pleased to find here among all of us a strong desire to serve the poor and marginalized. We want to live with the poor and share their lives. We desire to stay with the people and build the Kingdom of God together.

Reflecting on the Scriptures, on the teachings of the Church and on the writings of our Founder, Leo John Dehon, we accept the challenge to describe the profile of an SCJ parish.


If You Live In An SCJ Parish It Should Look Like This:

  • The SCJ Community will be Visible … a group of brothers living Dehonian spirituality which will be evident in their spiritual and human lives. It will be a witness to all that SCJs are here and want to stay.

  • The SCJ Community will bring a strong Eucharistic prayer life to the parish. The liturgy will be attractive and welcoming to all.

  • The SCJ Community will necessarily minister to the sick, the poor and the marginalized. The parish will learn with the SCJs to notice great social needs and will respond to them together.

  • The SCJ Community will empower the laity. They will share in the leadership of our church and it will be attentive to the women and the youth of an SCJ parish who will be treated with dignity and respect.

  • The SCJ Community will work for justice and peace and the care and concern for creation. It will be in dialogue with other faiths and cultures. It will continue to actively live in dialogue and be of support within the local Church.

  • The SCJ Community will teach the faith and develop the spiritual life of the people. As Dehonians, the SCJs will promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life in order to fulfill its mission.

We entered the final part of our Conference wondering how to carry out our dreams, our faith, and our mission to the people. We want to be Dehonian Apostolic communities and we know that this, our mission, calls us to a life-long process of conversion and commitment. Even in our struggles and weaknesses, the mission of the Congregation is strong and calls us to a greater compassion than ever.
We believe in our dream and we want it to become a reality so we will share this dream with all of you, our SCJ brothers, and we will place our dream before your eyes, our sisters and brothers of our parishes and communities.

(If you live in a Dehonian parish this is what you will see in our lives and our actions.)

Pastors with compassionate heart will, like the Good Samaritan expressed in our theme, take action. They will cross over to the other side of the road to aid the hurting and the needy. We therefore considered the actions that would help us, as Dehonians, to “Go to the people.”


Dehonian pastors will effectively “Go to the People” when they

  • Value and form with the people what we call Basic Ecclesial Communities.
    (We are sensitive and aware that this will take on different appearances in many cultures and countries. We see the great value in our parishes that we grow as the people of God, using our talents and gifts to build the Kingdom of God in small communities.) We teach our people to reach out to each other!

  • Place value on and encourage even small beginnings that would involve our lay leaders to reach out to the disenfranchised, to involve the people in evangelization.

  • Based on the Scriptures, the efforts of Dehonian pastors will create a community that people know they are accepted in and feel they belong to. Teach the scriptural message of stewardship and sacrificial giving.

  • Are ever attentive to find ways to be present to the people. Dehonian pastors who know their mission as an SCJ community will continue to find ways to carry this out.

The Conference of Manila has been prophetic in saying that pastors with compassionate heart must live the model and the reality learned here during these days. The reality that perhaps 80 % of Catholics are inactive in the practice of their faith moves us to follow this process in the future.


Simply stated, the steps we will follow go like this:

  1. Know your Realities. Know the people. Pay attention.

  2. Be empowered with Dehonian spirituality and the gifts of your community. Continually reflect and plan together carry out the SCJ mission. Be in constant dialogue.

  3. Go to the people. The song we sang together said simply: “Go to work!” Take action, my brothers, the Holy Spirit will give life to what you do.

  4. In pastors with compassionate heart, this process never ends. From initial formation to our Senior years we must see, reflect, and act as Dehonian Apostolic Communities.

We conclude our letter to all of you by expressing our profound gratitude to the members of the District of the Philippines. They were truly moved by the Holy Spirit in presenting us with a theme and a process that we can bring home to all of you, our confreres throughout the world. They became for us a Dehonian model of hospitality and welcome that all of us will always treasure.

We sincerely hope that this letter will deepen your interest in the experience that we shared together in Manila and that you will take the time to reflect on the complete work of our conference.

The following is the list of the SCJs who gathered in Manila and who send you this letter.

1. Fr. Claudio Weber --- CU
2. Fr. Andreas Madya --- CU
3. Fr. Heiz Lau --- DE
4. Fr. Wlilhelmus Marrevee --- CAN
5. Fr. Richard MacDonald --- US
6. Fr. Robert Tucker --- US
7. Fr. Leonard Elder --- US
8. Fr. Charles Wonch --- US
9. Fr. Quang Anh Nguyen --- US
10. Fr. Adam Maslowski --- AM
11. Fr. Zdzislaw Koscielny --- AM
12. Fr. Onorio Matti --- IS
13. Fr. Halim Suriady --- VT
14. Fr. Andrzej Kietla --- PO
15. Fr. Felix Astono Atmojo --- IN
16. Fr. Aloysius Dwi Pramono --- IN
17. Fr. Markus Tukiman --- IN
18. Fr. Yoseph Sutrisno Amirullah --- IN
19. Fr. Antonius Sumardi --- IN
20. Fr. Yohanes Harry Subekti --- IN
21. Fr. Paulus Sarmono --- IN
22. Fr. Florianus Poling --- IN
23. Fr. Bernardus Beda Kedang --- IN
24. Fr. Aloysius Suyoto --- IN
25. Fr. Gilbert Kamta Tatsi --- CM
26. Fr. Michel Mandey --- CO
27. Fr. Jijo Voyce --- IND
28. Fr. Aji Appukuttan --- IND
29. Fr. Maciej Kopczynski --- BH
30. Fr. Rino Venturin --- PHI
31. Fr. Janusz Burzawa --- PHI
32. Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito --- PHI
33. Fr. Indra Pamungkas --- PHI
34. Fr. Laurentius Suwanto --- PHI
35. Fr. Robertus Sutopo --- PHI
36. Fr. Arthur Guevara --- PHI
37. Fr. Delio Ruiz --- PHI
38. Fr. John Karl Cabaluna --- PHI
39. Fr. Vilsom Basso --- PHI
40. Bro. Yohanes Sismadi --- PHI
41. Fr. Eddy Susanto --- PHI
42. Fr. Jose Benedito Machado --- PHI
43. Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski --- PHI
44. Atty. Grace Escobia --- LD
45. Miss Joan Ubalde --- LD

© Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Via del Casale di S. Pio V, 20 - 00165 - Rome (Italy)