• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Monday, 29 January 2018 11:26

January feast day celebrations for SVD saints

 

SVD saints 450January has been a big month of prayer and thanksgiving at Divine Word Missionary communities throughout the AUS Province with the celebration of not one but two SVD saints’ feast days. 

Both of the SVD saints, St Arnold Janssen and St Joseph Freinademetz, have their feast days in January, prompting SVD and SSpS communities to come together for special Eucharistic Celebrations and gatherings.

St Arnold’s feast day was on January 15, the date of his death in 1909 in Steyl, Holland. He was the founder of the Divine Word Missionaries, as well as two orders of Religious Women, the Servant Sisters of the Holy Spirit and the Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration.

St Arnold began his priestly life as a diocesan priest in his home country of Germany, but these were difficult times for the Catholic Church in Germany. Bismark unleashed the ‘Kulturkampf’ with a series of anti-Catholic laws, which led to the expulsion of priests and religious and to the imprisonment of many bishops.

In this chaotic situation Arnold Janssen proposed that some of the expelled priests could go to the foreign missions or at least help in the preparation of missionaries. Slowly but surely, and with a little prodding from the Apostolic Vicar of Hong Kong, Arnold discovered that God was calling him to undertake this difficult task. Many people said that he was not the right man for the job, or that the times were not right for such a project. Arnold's answer was, “The Lord challenges our faith to do something new, precisely when so many things are collapsing in the Church.”

With the support of a number of bishops, Arnold inaugurated the mission house on September 8, 1875 in Steyl, Holland, and thus began the Divine Word Missionaries. On March 2, 1879 the first two missionaries set out for China. One of these was Joseph Freinademetz.

St Joseph stayed for many years in China, during turbulent political and cultural times, and he faced many challenges, but he came to know and love the Chinese people and was loved by them in return.

“I do not consider missionary life as a sacrifice I offer to God, but as the greatest grace that God could ever have lavished upon me,” he said.

Meanwhile, back in Steyl, from practically the very beginning, a group of women, including Blessed Maria Helena Stollenwerk, served the mission house community as volunteers. But their wish was to serve the mission as Religious Sisters. The faithful, selfless service they freely offered, and a recognition of the important role women could play in missionary outreach, urged Arnold to found the mission congregation of the “Servants of the Holy Spirit,” SSpS, on December 8, 1889. The first Sisters left for Argentina in 1895.

In 1896 Fr Arnold selected some of the Sisters to form a cloistered branch, to be known as “Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration”, SSpSAP. Their service to mission would be to maintain an uninterrupted adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying day and night for the church and especially for the other two active missionary congregations.

Today, the members of the Society of the Divine Word, the Missionary Sisters and the Perpetual Adoration Sisters number about 10,000 and are present in 80 countries around the world. The Divine Word Missionaries are the largest international missionary congregation in the Catholic Church.

Rector of the SVD Marsfield Community in Sydney, Fr Mikhael Loke, says the SVD and SSpS communities came together on St Arnold’s Feast Day for a Mass celebrated by Fr Frank Gerry SVD.

“Frank gave us a very inspiring homily during Mass about some important aspects of St Arnold’s life and how those examples can inspire us and guide us in our missionary work serving God’s people,” Fr Mikhael says.

“He also mentioned briefly the life example of St Joseph Freinademetz, Blessed Maria Helena and Blessed Joseph SSpS.”

Celebrations for St Joseph’s Feast Day included a Mass celebrated by Fr Wim Valckx SVD and a social dinner.

Other SVD and SSpS communities in the Province celebrated the Feast Days in a similar way in their own location.