Divine Word Missionaries

SVD Formation

Boni: Hermano argentino Alberto Buet (Boni) svd (ARS)
Nicodéme: Hermano congolés Nicodéme Eluka svd (KEN)
Raul: Hermano argentino Raúl Acosta svd (ARE)
Hermano alemán Stefan Wurth svd (GER)
Br. Karl Lochbüehler, svd - PNG -- Mechanic
Br. Marek Wojtas, svd - IBP -- Works with Refugees in Liberia
Br. John K. Bissue, svd - COL -- OTP Student
Br. Roberto Duarte, svd (2nd from left) - ECU -- Formator

Br. Lawrence Kibaara, svd - KEN -- JPIC Coordinator

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SVD Brother Formation

Welcome to the SVD Brother Formation Programs!
Hermano alemán Roland Scheid svd (GER) Hermano angoleño António Canuwela Mutengel svd (ANG) pic200708 - Hermano Filipino Paul Bongcaras svd (PHS) Hermanos ghaneses (GHA)
Hermano alemán Michael Ertl (ROM) Hermanos de las tres provincias Filipinas Hermano alemán Heinz Helf svd (GER)
Br. Marek Wojtas, svd - IBP -- Works with Refugees in LiberiaBr. Yakobus Too, svd - AUS -- Works with Refugees in LiberiaSVD Novices in GhanaSVD Novices in Ghana

What do you know about Brother formation? The present website provides you with some meaningful information regarding their formation programs, as it is done in the different provinces and regions of the Society worldwide. These programs have been classified by zones: AFRAM (Africa and Madagascar), ASPAC (Asia and Pacific), EUROPE and PANAM. While some provinces and regions have already updated their formation programs for Brotherhood, others are still in the process of doing it. We hope that within this year (2005) all provinces and regions may achieve this task.

Why Brother formation is important in nowadays? It is important because of the Brothers’ contribution in the mission of our Society. Since the world has undergone many changes over the past decades, it is necessary to update Brother formation too. According to our Constitutions:

“Brothers are called to carry out the missionary task of the church, entrusted to every Christian in baptism and confirmation, in the decisive way called for by the religious life. Through their varied services and witness to the Gospel, Brothers share in the mission of Christ to renew all things. The better trained they are for their professional, social and pastoral activities, the more effectively they can fulfill their vocation” (c. 515).

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Since the time of our founder, St. Arnold Janssen, (1875-1909), the Society has been trying to provide the Brothers with a suitable formation, according to the needs, especially in the so called “mission countries” at that time. At the beginning, a great accent was put on the technical and professional training. In this regard, professions related to carpentry, mechanic, building, farming, house maintenance, among others, were highly recommended and supported.

Later on, with the changes introduced by the Vatican II (1965), Brothers started to get involved also in pastoral activities, education, social services, formation, bible apostolate, communications, etc. For that purpose, the formation programs were adjusted accordingly. Thus, Brothers were not any more dedicated exclusively to technical and manual work; they were also committed to other fields. This profile of the SVD Brothers continues until today: while many of them are working in house maintenance, mechanic workshops, others are working in education, pastoral and social activities.

Finally, the XV General Chapter (2000) made also a clear recommendation to the Brothers in order to improve their participation in the Society’s mission today: “Knowing the importance of Brothers in our Society, we recommend that all levels of administration continue their efforts to foster knowledge about the Brother vocation and promote its development in the Society. We recommend further that Brothers be encouraged to choose and to become professionally competent in ministries which are directly part of the fourfold prophetic dialogue and of the characteristic dimensions of our SVD commitment” (In Dialogue with the Word [IDW] 1, No. 104).

Importance of the Brothers

Making a summary of their meaningful contribution to the life and mission of the Society, we could point out the following:

  • Brothers remind the church in general and the Society in particular of our complementarity in mission: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served” (1 Cor 12, 4-5).
  • Brothers by their life and work play a prophetic role in the Society and in the church. They remind us all of the common dignity and fundamental Brotherhood of Christians: “you are all Brothers” (Matt 23, 8).
  • They keep alive the sense of authentic communion in our communities and our unity in diversity, which is expressed by their being consecrated laymen who live together with clerical confreres (c. 104). We should remember that “the absence of a Brother in an SVD community is an impoverishment of our religious-missionary witness” (FW 1, III, B., p. 68).
  • It is important to remember that missionary work is not tied to ordination. Hence, in the light of the last SVD General Chapter (2000), we should keep in mind that Brothers make a great contribution to mission - through their professional work, social services and pastoral ministry. Being laymen, Brothers should be able to reach out to the laity, especially to those who hardly “put their feet in the church”, and to people of other religious traditions.
  • In addition, due to their different services and professions, Brothers contribute also to the self-reliance of the Society and keep its members aware of this issue. Also, in many SVD communities Brothers stand out because of their sense of welcoming, their participation in community life, and their spirit of prayer.

These are some good reasons to promote Brotherhood in the Society. For this purpose you will find in this website a copy of the booklet on Brother Formation Program, which was written recently in order to help provinces and regions to update their respective formation programs for SVD Brothers. Along with this booklet, you will find also the Brother formation programs from some provinces and regions that were already posted on this website.