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SVD in the World

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The Society of the Divine Word was established to send missionaries to foreign countries. What started with the sending of missionaries from Europe now continues with missionaries being sent out from all countries in which the SVD is established, in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. As a result our communities have a rich international character, with local and foreign members living and working side by side.
The first missionary, St Joseph Freinademetz, became an example to all following in his footsteps. His love for China went beyond adopting Chinese clothes and general life-style. His wish was to become Chinese. Internationality is a sign of the Kingdom. Internationality in mission respects the cultures of all without imposing any one culture, but especially it seeks to uncover and point to the working of God in the peoples and cultures among whom we live and work.

General Chapter 2000 w/Pope
Members of the General Chapter of 2000
with His Holiness Pope John Paul II

Indonesian Novice
Novices in Indonesia. Every year in Indonesia about 30 members are ordained priests in the SVD
It has been central to SVD policy from the beginning of the Society not only to send out missionaries, but also to train religious and priests in the local Church.
By also including local vocations in the Society a missionary spirit based on a diversity of cultures is developed.
Following their profession of final religious vows members are given their "mission" to work, whether in their home country or abroad. This is the culmination of a training program that includes a period of one or two years of experience of living and working in a foreign country.

Mass in the prison
Mass celebrated in prison. Manila, Philippines
The Constitutions of the SVD set solidarity with the poor and oppressed as a duty for the Society, with the aim of promoting social justice in accordance with the message of the Gospel.
In this spirit we work for the restoration of human dignity in the poorest regions of the world. We use whatever means are allowed to confront organised oppression and corrupt political systems. As one such means the SVD, jointly with the Holy Spirit Sisters (our "sister" missionary Society), is a registered NGO recognised by the United Nations.

St Arnold himself, our founder, saw the importance of the use of mass media for mission work. Beginning with the publication of "The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart" by which he spread an awareness of missionary work among Catholics at that time, the Society now publishes a wide variety of books and magazines. Each Province of the Society uses Radio and TV programs, and makes Videos and CDs, to meet local needs. The internet is now becoming a valuable aid in mission work. Whatever means of communication is available is put in the service of the message of the Gospel.

"The Word in the World" is an annual presentation of SVD mission activity that is distributed to those who support our efforts

School in PNG
A classroom in Papua New Guinea
At first St Arnold had to convince his colleagues of the value of getting involved directly in education. His intuition proved correct and today the SVD is active in education throughout the world.
In developing countries a central focus of education must be the formation of leaders for society. An education that is based on the principles of the Gospel brings Christian values beyond the classroom into society.