Petitio Missionis 2020 – Generalate Priorities for First Assignments

Fr. General’s Circular Letters
Friday, 08 November 2019
To all Provincial, Regional and Mission Superiors of the Society
in re: Petitio Missionis 2020 – Generalate Priorities for First Assignments
Dear Provincial / Regional / Mission Superior,
Missionary vocation is God’s gift. We see this gift in our young confreres, some of whom are now preparing themselves to profess their perpetual vows. We believe that, over the years of formation, they are made aware of the injunction: “Because of the character of our Society, confreres are appointed to various provinces according to the principle of relative internationality” (C 116.2).
Accompanying confreres in making their petitio missionis is an important task. Confreres who will profess their final vows should carefully study the countries, the available ministries, the expectations of each province, region, and mission territory (PRMs), the climatic conditions, the language(s), and the food habits. After careful study and discernment, the confreres give their options for missionary life and work.
The complete application procedures for First Assignments are outlined in the Handbook for Superiors SVD (C21 and Form C21a). We expect that the formators as well as local and provincial councils make comments on the confreres’ preferences. When they make their three preferences, they should understand that all the three choices are of equal weight and importance, and that they can even be assigned to their home province or country without prior consultation. A confrere may also indicate that he is leaving the option of his first assignment entirely to the Superior General. In writing the petitio missionis, the above considerations should be made clear to everyone.
We follow the policy on the first assignments according to the circular letter P03/2016. If a confrere expresses his desire to work in a specific country/district of the PRM, or if he expresses his interest in a particular ministry, we will make this known privately to the confrere’s PRM Superior, so that he and his council can consider the confrere’s future assignment in the PRM.
Lifelong Commitment: The Society calls every confrere preparing for perpetual vow to a lifelong commitment in the assigned country or PRM. All the three preferences are indications of this commitment. Unqualified commitment to God’s mission is not only desired but expected of every confrere.
Challenges and Spirit of Sacrifice in the Mission: “We are invited to see our whole life as mission” (GC 2018, 18). Difficulties and sufferings are part of our life; thus, we live for others, for God’s people. The Society needs confreres who are ready and willing to work in challenging and tough missions. The Society expects that confreres do their mission in the spirit of sacrifice and devotion (GC 2006, 96).
Rooted in the Word and Committed to His Mission: The missionary vocation “calls us to share in the paschal mystery of Jesus, directing us to renew and transform ourselves and others, thus becoming more joyful missionaries” (GC 2018, 52). “This call to renewal and transformation has shed new light on the core of being a Socius Verbi Divini, kindling new fire” (GC 2018, 53) in all of us. All the confreres preparing for their first mission assignments are reminded to discover the Word, to have “fire” in their hearts, and to immerse themselves among the people. The mission to serve the poor, the refugees, the migrants, and the marginalized is “non-negotiable” (GC 2018, 42).
Interculturality: Intercultural life and mission is our way of giving witness to our Christian Faith and to the Reign of God. We commit ourselves to this way of life; thus, learning the language, culture, and inculturating ourselves in a local situation is part of our missionary calling. When a confrere gives his mission preferences, he needs to understand the challenges and the dynamics of the SVD intercultural way of being as lived in different PRMs.
Regarding the priorities, the General Council would like to propose the following mission areas to which our young confreres could give special attention:
1. AFRAM Zone
Confreres are needed for all the PRMs in this Zone for pastoral work, formation, and other ministries. In particular, confreres are needed in GHA (Liberia) for pastoral, SSD for work among the refugees and social work and in TCD to work in various ministries. We encourage Indonesian, Indian, and Vietnamese confreres to give priority to AFRAM. We also urge the confreres from AFRAM to include in the list of their choices an option to work in another country in Africa.
Young confreres are needed to work in the innovative ministries such as prophetic dialogue with the secular world and other religions, pastoral work with the migrants and the refugees and the missionary dimension of the parishes administered by the SVD. In particular, confreres are needed in the following provinces and regions―POL (Latvia and Norway) for pastoral work; ITA (Albania) for pastoral work; ECP, HUN and URL for pastoral and social ministries; and GER for research and publication.
3. ASPAC Zone
Indonesia welcomes confreres from other countries. The window of opportunity is open to make SVD Indonesia provinces more intercultural. We also encourage young confreres to opt for TLS to work in pastoral and formation work; for AUS (Myanmar) in biblical apostolate and pastoral work, and for BGD in pastoral work. There are needs in other provinces/regions as well.
We ask our young confreres to consider working in our universities in Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and Philippines (PHS). There is an urgency to prepare confreres for universities.
4. PANAM zone
Important considerations are to be given to MEX (Cuba) and BRA (French Guiana), where pastoral work is the missionary focus.
Young confreres are needed in pastoral ministry in schools in ARS, ARE, BRN, CHI and PAR. We encourage confreres to opt for BRA, BOL, COL and CAM and work in pastoral settings. There are a lot of opportunities to engage in JPIC, in the apostolate with indigenous peoples, and in prophetic dialogue with cultures in this zone.
5. Formation
Young confreres who are interested to work in formation houses may express their desire in the list of mission choices (including one’s “Home Province”). Normally, confreres destined for formation work are asked to have mission experience in a pastoral setting before they take up formation work.
6. Administration
Good administrators in various apostolates are an important asset in the PRMs. Confreres who have knowledge and skills in the area of finance and administration are encouraged to include this special ministry in their mission choices.
7. Four Characteristic Dimensions
These are our ways of doing mission. Anyone interested to work in a specific SVD Dimension in a creative way may express his desire.
We appreciate your commitment and hard work in formation ministry, and we thank all the formators, the vocation promoters, and the staff members for their zealous work. May the clarion call Faithful to the Word, One with the People touch our hearts and inspire us all in doing God’s will and mission.
May the love of Christ impel all those who are preparing to do their petitio missionis to be rooted in the Word and committed to His mission!
Fraternally in the Divine Word,
Paulus Budi Kleden, SVD José Nicolás Espinosa, SVD
Superior General Secretary General

1. The petitio missionis of those preparing for First Assignments in June/July 2020 should reach Rome no later than 30 April, 2020.
2. For all those expecting their First Assignments in January/February 2021, the Provincial/Regional Superior should see to it that their petitio missionis reach us in Rome no later than 30 November, 2020.
3. Please note that the petitio missionis that arrive later than the indicated dates would be decided on with the next batch of First Assignments.
4. Please provide a copy of this letter to all local superiors and formators, and to every young confrere in your Province/Region currently preparing to fill out his petitio missionis.

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