Along with getting in touch with various new developments in theology, missiology, psychology, anthropology, Biblical studies, humanities and cosmology, the program opened our eyes and minds to relate to God, the other and the self in a new way. Ongoing reflections and personal sharing in the smaller and the entire group helped us to understand the beauty and richness of our missionary vocation and to appreciate the richness of synodality and interculturality and the dangers of Clericalism in the Church. Exploring the various enchanting places, from churches to sanctuaries and holy tombs across Europe, has woven a spell of reverence and awe in us. Contemplating the lives of saints, popes, and martyrs who have profoundly influenced the faith of Catholics and believers over the years, and visiting their places, we are stirred by the monumental legacy they have bestowed upon the Church through the ages. The churches, relics, and tombs, encountered during the program have left an indelible mark on our memory. Internationally acclaimed speakers from different parts of the world such as the USA, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia-Pacific and Africa, stirred our minds to reflect beyond ourselves and the Church to include every human person as a child of God and to exclude none in our missionary task. Their sharing of real human experiences from the present moment offered invaluable insights into living life as a disciple of Christ. One of the most unforgettable experiences in Steyl, Netherlands was the sharing by the Pink Sisters (SSpSAP). They recounted their encounters with God, their struggles, their weaknesses, their human and love stories and how they turned them into spirituality and prayer. Their voices bore the weight of real-life trials, illuminating their journey toward lives of sanctity. Listening to them, speak of hearing God in gentle conversation, as if God were an ordinary companion and friend, is truly inspiring, something which we seemed to have lost as the years passed by. The genuine sincerity in their words resonated with a profound yearning, a deep longing to connect with God. This poignant reminder reinforces the purpose of our ongoing journey of renewal. Further reflecting on this, reminds us that the very essence of our existence rests on this profound yearning for the Divine. But first, we need to get back on track. Get to the roots. And to do that, we must once again take up our cross, the one we decided to carry when we chose to follow the Lord. Finally a sense of gratitude and thanks to our SVD Congregation and the Province, at the end of the renewal program, we were also able to visit nine countries in Europe, including the famous Marian shrine in Fathima, many SVD communities in Europe and get the glimpse of the life and mission of our confreres.
Two of us from the INM Province – Mahipal Toppo and Mervin J. Noronha – got an opportunity to attend the 89th SVD Tertiate renewal course, initial one month in Steyl, Holland and the remaining two and half months in Nemi, Rome from the 1st of August till the middle of November, this year. It proved to be one of the most enriching, and for some of us, a life-changing experience for the 27 participants. We found ourselves unable to refrain from thanking God for the amazing graces, memorable moments, profound insights, exciting pilgrimages, and novel realizations gained during this renewal journey. Of the 27 participants who took part in the course, 26 were SVDs, of which one was a Brother from Ghana and a Diocesan priest from Thailand. The course began at the SVD mission house, Stely, Holland, under the guidance of Kulandaisamy, the Director and Thomas Heck, the Spiritual Director and the Arnold Janssen Spirituality team. It was a time to deepen the knowledge of St. Arnold, our founder, St.Joseph Freinademetz, our first missionary to China and the founding Fathers, Brothers and sisters of our congregation. It was a time to get in touch with our roots, our spirituality, our original vision and our calling and be confirmed strongly in our missionary vocation