The Divine Word Missionaries will kick off the Extraordinary Month of Mission next month with the annual SVD Mission Day, to take place in Melbourne on Saturday October 5, exploring the theme, ‘A Missionary Impulse Capable of Transforming Everything’.
Guest speakers at the Mission Day Seminar to be held at Yarra Theological Union in Box Hill will be husband and wife leaders in education and mission, Therese and Jim D’Orsa. The day will also include a celebration of the Eucharist at St Paschal’s Chapel and a shared multicultural meal at the SVD’s Dorish Maru College.
Therese, who will be keynote speaker on the day, trained as a teacher and has held many senior educational roles. She is currently Professor of Mission and Culture at BBI-TAITE (The Australian Institute for Theological Education) and with the Sydney College of Divinity.
Therese, who has published widely, currently heads the Master’s program in Leadership and Theology and is a member of the Australian Association of Mission Studies, a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, and represents Oceania in the International Association of Catholic Missiologists.
Jim will be respondent. His contributions to Catholic education include teaching and senior leadership in Catholic schools and systems. He pioneered the preparation of lay leaders to take responsibility for the vision and mission of colleges and has extensive experience in pastoral planning and reviewing large systems. Jim, who has also published widely, is currently Associate Professor at BBI-TAITE where he has been the principal designer and writer of a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Theology.
The seminar will be chaired by former Columban missionary priest Peter Wilkinson, who has also worked at the Good Neighbour Council of Victoria, the Ecumenical Migration Centre, as a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs, and as a visiting lecturer in the Missiology Department of Yarra Theological Union. He is Treasurer of the Australian Association for Mission Studies and writes frequently on parish ministry, synods and councils in Australia.
Academic Dean at Dorish Maru College, Fr Albano Da Costa SVD says the SVD Mission Day aims to raise greater mission awareness and animation in the local Church and form part of the formation program of the Divine Word Missionaries.
Fr Albano says the theme, ‘A Missionary Impulse Capable of Transforming Everything’ is a fragment of a quotation from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (n. 27).
“We chose this passage because it sums up very strongly the fact that mission is the raison d’etre of every faith community, and it speaks to the power released when the baptised are convinced of their missional discipleship,” Fr Albano says.
“It also highlights that, given sufficient encouragement, the missionary ‘impulse’ can pull the Church together and focus it on the mission of Jesus in the world. Such power is capable of effecting wonderful and life-giving changes in both the Church and in society.”
Fr Albano says this year’s Mission Day activities take on special meaning in light of Pope Francis’ call for the Church to celebrate an Extraordinary Mission Month this October, to mark the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter, Maximum illud, published in November 1919.
“The Mission Day Seminar will draw out aspects of the theology of Maximum illud, seen in its historical context and point to lines of development and discontinuity in the Church’s magisterial teaching on mission from that time till the present. This will lead into the section where we will examine the transforming mission theology of Vatican II and beyond, over the last 50 years,” he says.
“The seminar will also explore the unfolding treasure-house of wisdom which invites all the baptised to accept their missionary vocations.
“The focus shifts from the clergy-led Church confidently in charge of mission to the notion of God’s mission calling forth the entire Church community.”
Fr Albano says the SVD Mission Day is always an important event on the Divine Word Missionaries’ calendar in the AUS Province.
“It’s a central part of who we are as SVDs not only to live mission and be mission, but also to raise awareness that the call to mission is a call rooted in baptism and addressed to all the baptised,” he says.
The Mission Day Seminar gets underway at the Yarra Theological Union Study Centre, 98 Albion Road, Box Hill at 3pm on Saturday, October 5. The Mission Day Mass will be celebrated at the adjoining St Paschal’s Chapel at 6pm and the multicultural meal will follow at 7pm at Dorish Maru College.
TOP RIGHT: Professor Therese D'Orsa, keynote speaker at the SVD Mission Day seminar.
MIDDLE LEFT: Dr Jim D'Orsa, respondent.
MIDDLE RIGHT: Mr Peter Wilkinson, chair of the seminar.
BOTTOM LEFT: Fr Albano Da Costa SVD, Academic Dean, Dorish Maru College.