Farewell Words from the outgoing President

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, one behalf of SEDOS, I say to all of you, here present and those on-line, Good Afternoon, buon pomeriggio, Bon après-midi, buenas tardes,… a very warm welcome to all of you who attended the Annual General Assembly.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, as you well know, SEDOS (Service of Documentation and Study on Global Mission) is composed of more than 80 missionary congregations and institutes of consecrated life and apostolic societies. The Members commit themselves to deepening their missional call and the concept of global mission in the context of our day. It encourages research and disseminates information through its Bulletin and Homepage, the Annual SEDOS Residential Seminar (beginning of May), public conferences, and workshops. At the last SEDOS Autumn Day of Reflection, we launched the latest work of SEDOS which updates the current research on “New Trends in Mission”, in the Church and the world of today. Pope Francis encourages us to continue to do this when he tells us in Evangelli Gaudium:

“I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself. As John Paul II once said to the Bishops of Oceania: “All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion” (EG, n. 27).

On 28 October 2022 we launched the joint publication that was prepared in 2021, when we celebrated the 40th anniversary since SEDOS conducted an important SEMINAR on “The ‘Why’ of Mission.” We thank Fr. Peter Baekelmans, CICM, our former Director and Executive Secretary of SEDOS, who has been behind this book and Fr. Joh Paul Herman, SVD, and the staff of SEDOS for their concerted effort to present us with a useful tool to Revisit the Charisms in Today’s Context.

We are grateful to the member congregations, institutes and communities for your contribution to help SEDOS materially and also for sharing the personnel you have at the service of the mission in the various activities of the SEDOS. We once again renew our gratitude to the SVD Society for hosting the SEDOS office in their Generalate and at this time for having given us a confrere who now serves as the new SEDOS Director and Executive Secretary.

Today, as we see in the Agenda of the Annual General Assembly, we will confirm the members of the Executive Committee of SEDOS, and approve the Report and the Budget. This is in-line with the STATUTES of SEDOS. We are grateful to all those who have made themselves available to serve on the Executive Committee.

We are also in communion with member congregation who are experiencing difficulty. We remain in communion with the Missionaries of Africa, White Fathers who lost here in Rome Cardinal Richard Baawobr, Former Superior General of the White Fathers, and active member of SEDOS. We are also united in communion of prayer with the congregations who have had a tragic loss of members of their Institute. I want to mention, the case of the killing of Sr. Maria de Coppi, Comboni Missionary Sister, killed in Mozambique, she is the latest of our martyrs.

Thank you for accepting our invitation to attend the Annual General Assembly which is the deliberative organ of SEDOS. On a personal note, as today in an official way I end my service in SEDOS where I have acted for many years as Vice-President and later President of SEDOS. I thank everybody, in a particular way, the members of the Executive Committee and the Staff of SEDOS for having made the service easier by working together and in a special way for having walked together – as SINODALITY continues to invite us to do. GRAZIE.

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