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Be peacemakers and hope for every culture, Pope tells Divine Word missionaries

Pope meeting with the Missionaries of the Divine Word (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis invited members of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) to become peacemakers and hope for every culture.

Gathered at the Clementine Hall in the Vatican on June 28, they listened to the Holy Father’s call for their congregation to take action in today’s world scarred by conflicts, wars, and various forms of destruction. 

“Let us bring the peace of Christ to all, especially to the poor, migrants who suffer much, women who face discrimination, children, and the marginalized… May we not close our ears to the cry of those who are oppressed in our own day, and prove creative in fostering peace,” said the Holy Father.

“So many times in confusing situations, the Spirit takes the Church forward. Do not be afraid of conflicts!

Do not create conflicts, but don’t be afraid of conflicts either. Do not be afraid of the confusion of today’s culture. The Spirit can enter there,” he also said.

SVD representatives from more than 79 countries are currently in Rome for their 19th General Chapter, which is held every six years.

Their delegates were led by their outgoing Superior General Fr. Paulus Budi Kleden, who was recently appointed to become Archbishop of Ende in Indonesia.

This year, the general chapter focuses on the theme “Your Light Must Shine Before Others: Creative and Faithful Disciples in a Wounded World.”

In line with this, Pope Francis reminded SVD members to become hope themselves before giving hope to others.

“In your case, consecration in accordance with your original charism confirms and strengthens those baptismal gifts and impels you to become committed witnesses in the various social and cultural settings where you find yourselves, ‘being prophetic hope for every culture,’” stressed the Holy Father.

He lauded the congregation as “experts in inculturation” who are tasked with the mission to shape “a new culture of love and hope” in the current age of internet and social media.

Pope Francis also encouraged the SVD members to become “missionaries of synodality.”

“I encourage you to promote synodality in every aspect of your life,” he said. “May every community
grow and enjoy a synodal ‘style’ whereby each member feels listened to and accepted.”

The SVD General Chapter opened on June 16 at the Ad Gentes Center in Nemi, Italy.
It will run for four weeks until mid-July.

This gathering involves the society’s discernment process and the drafting of a chapter statement outlining how the congregation will live out its mission in the coming years.

Among the countries of origin of the Divine Word missionaries, the top three are Asian: Indonesia (1687), India (974), and the Philippines (457), as per data from the congregation’s website.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.