The Campus Ministry Office takes care of the pastoral and spiritual needs of the entire community. It promotes the creation of a community of faithful who are willing to deepen, celebrate and act on their faith. It facilitates the conducts of masses, confessions, recollections, retreats, inspirational talks, other liturgical and religious exercises and other such activities.

Saint Arnold Janssen, SVD (1837-1909)

Arnold Janssen was born on November 5, 1837 in Goch, a small city in lower Rhineland (Germany). The second of ten children, his parents instilled in him a deep devotion to religion. He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1861 for the diocese of Muenster and was assigned to teach natural sciences and mathematics in a secondary school in Bocholt. There he was known for being a strict but just teacher. Due to his profound devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he was named Diocesan Director for the Apostleship of Prayer. This apostolate encouraged Arnold to open himself to Christians of other denominations.

Little by little he became more aware of the spiritual needs of people beyond the limits of his own diocese, developing a deep concern for the universal mission of the church. He decided to dedicate his life to awaking in the German church its missionary responsibility. With this in mind, in 1873 he resigned from his teaching post and soon after founded The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart. This popular monthly magazine presented news of missionary activities and it encouraged German-speaking Catholics to do more to help the missions.

These were difficult times for the Catholic Church in Germany. Bismark unleashed the “Kulturkampf» with a series of anti-Catholic laws, which led to the expulsion of priests and religious and to the imprisonment of many bishops. In this chaotic situation Arnold Janssen proposed that some of the expelled priests could go to the foreign missions or at least help in the preparation of missionaries. Slowly but surely, and with a little prodding from the Apostolic Vicar of Hong Kong, Arnold discovered that God was calling him to undertake this difficult task. Many people said that he was not the right man for the job, or that the times were not right for such a project. Arnold’s answer was, “The Lord challenges our faith to do something new, precisely when so many things are collapsing in the Church.”

With the support of a number of bishops, Arnold inaugurated the mission house on
September 8, 1875 in Steyl, Holland, and thus began the Divine Word Missionaries.
Already on March 2, 1879 the first two missionaries set out for China. One of these
was Joseph Freinademetz.

Aware of the importance of publications for attracting vocations and funding, Arnold
started a printing press just four months after the inauguration of the house.
Thousands of generous lay persons contributed their time and effort to mission
animation in German-speaking countries by helping to distribute the magazines from
Steyl. From the beginning the new congregation developed as a community of both
priests and Brothers.

The volunteers at the mission house included women as well as men. From practically
the very beginning, a group of women, includingBlessed Maria Helena Stollenwerk,
served the community. But their wish was to serve the mission as Religious Sisters.
The faithful, selfless service they freely offered, and a recognition of the important
role women could play in missionary outreach, urged Arnold to found the mission
congregation of the “Servants of the Holy Spirit,” SSpS, on December 8, 1889. The
first Sisters left for Argentina in 1895.

In 1896 Fr. Arnold selected some of the Sisters to form a cloistered branch, to be
known as “Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration”, SSpSAP. Their
service to mission would be to maintain an uninterrupted adoration of the Blessed
Sacrament, praying day and night for the church and especially for the other two
active missionary congregations.

Saint Joseph Freinademetz: First SVD Missionary to China

  • After Saint Joseph Freinademetz set off as a young, 27-year-old SVD missionary to China,he never saw his home again. He dedicated his entire life to the Chinese.
  • Joseph Freinademetz was born on April 15, 1852, in Oies, a small hamlet of five housessituated in the Dolomite Alps of northern Italy. The region, known as South Tyrol, was thenpart of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was baptized on the day he was born, and heinherited from his family a simple but tenacious faith.
  • While Joseph was studying theology in the diocesan seminary of Bressanone (Brixen), hebegan to think seriously of the foreign missions as a way of life. He was ordained a priest on July 25, 1875, and assigned to the community of Saint Martin, very near his own home,where he soon won the hearts of the people. However, the call to missionary service did not leave him. Just two years after ordination he contacted, Fr. Arnold Janssen, the founder of amission house which quickly developed into the Society of the Divine Word.
  • With his bishop’s permission, Joseph joined the mission house in Steyl, Netherlands, in August 1878. On March 2, 1879, he received his mission cross and departed for China withFr. John Baptist Anzer, another Divine Word missionary.Five weeks later they arrived inHong Kong, where they remained for two years, preparing themselves for the next step. In1881, they travelled to their new mission in South Shantung, a province with 12 millioninhabitants and only 158 Christians.
  • The first years were hard ones for the mission, marked by long, arduous journeys, assaults bybandits, and the difficult work of forming the first Christian communities. Adding to theburden was the lack of missionaries in China which led the Bishop to instruct him to leaveeverything and start a new mission as soon as a community had just been barely developed.
  • Soon, Joseph came to appreciate the importance of a committed laity, especially catechists, for first evangelization. He therefore dedicated much energy to the formation of groups oflaity, and prepared a catechetical manual in Chinese. At the same time, together with Anzer(who became a bishop) he put great effort into the preparation, spiritual formation andongoing education of Chinese priests and other missionaries. His whole life was marked byan effort to become a Chinese among the Chinese, so much so that he wrote to his family: “Ilove China and the Chinese. I want to die among them and be laid to rest among them.”
  • In 1898, Freinademetz fell sick with laryngitis and had the beginnings of tuberculosis as aresult of his heavy workload and many other hardships. So, at the insistence of the bishopand the other priests, he was sent to Japan for a rest, with the hope that he could regain his health. He returned to China somewhat recuperated, but not fully cured.
  • When the bishop had to travel outside of China in 1907, Freinademetz took on the addedburden of the administration of the diocese. During this time there was a severe outbreak oftyphus. Joseph, like a good shepherd, offered untiring assistance and visited manycommunities until he himself became infected.He returned to Taikia, the seat of the diocese, here he died on January 28, 1908. He was buried under the twelfth station of the Way of theCross, and his grave soon became a pilgrimage site for Christians.
  • At the end of his life, the mission field of the SVD congregation in China had grown toachieve the following pastoral fruits: 46,151 new living Christians, 44,564 catechumens, 57European SVD missionary members, 12 Chinese priests, 17 brothers, 30 missionary sisters,141 churches and chapels and 962 oratories. It was also from this mission in China that thefirst superiors for New Guinea, Japan, and the Philippines were called. The late MonsignorPeter Tsao, SVD, former parish priest of the Saint Jude Archdiocesan Shrine, co-founder andfirst school Director of Saint Jude Catholic School mentioned that his father was one of thosebaptized by Saint Joseph.
  • Freinademetz learned how to discover the greatness and beauty of the Chinese culture and tolove deeply the people to whom he had been sent. He dedicated his life to proclaiming thegospel message of God’s love for all peoples, and to embodying this love in the formation of Chinese Christian communities. He animated these communities to open themselves insolidarity with the surrounding inhabitants. And he encouraged many of the ChineseChristians to be missionaries to their own people as catechists, religious, nuns and priests.His life was an expression of his motto: “The language that all people understand is that of love.”

SVD Foundations Worldwide

The Divine Word Missionaries, also known as SVDs are members of the Society of the Divine Word (Latin: Societas Verbi Divini). They are an international order of Roman Catholic brothers, priests and seminarians numbering 6,102 members (as of 2006) working in 67 countries. Members usually live in multicultural communities reflecting their rich ethnic diversity.

The ultimate purpose of their mission today is the same as it is has been since the time of their founder, “to proclaim the Kingdom of God’s love” (Mark 1:14-15) as the common destiny of all humanity and the horizon toward which they travel. It is from the internal loving dialogue of the triune God that this mission emerges, a dialogue of love and forgiveness with all humanity. They do not invent their own mission — it is Missio Dei — they are called by the Father, sent by the Word and led by the Spirit.

They give witness to the Kingdom in a world deeply divided by belief, social class, culture and religion. And so they reach out to others in prophetic dialogue, seeking to bridge the divisions that keep human beings separated from one another and from God. Their mission in prophetic dialogue is at the service of communion and it points to the final manifestation of the Reign of God.

They give witness to the Kingdom in a world deeply divided by belief, social class, culture and religion. And so they reach out to others in prophetic dialogue, seeking to bridge the divisions that keep human beings separated from one another and from God. Their mission in prophetic dialogue is at the service of communion and it points to the final manifestation of the Reign of God.

They understand dialogue as an attitude of solidarity, respect, and love that is to permeate all of their activities. In solidarity, they reach out to others to share their lives with them in their concrete situation. In respect, they revere the uniqueness and the dignity of each person and of every human community. Above all, love binds them together in spite of their failings.

In prophetic dialogue, they especially commit themselves to people who are (1) faith-seekers and who have no community of faith, engaging in primary evangelization (missio ad gentes) and re-evangelization; (2) poor and marginalized, seeking to promote integral human development; (3) of different cultures so as to learn from and share in the diversity of gifts given by the God of Life; (4) of other Christian Churches, followers of other religious traditions, and those committed to diverse ideologies.

The Society of the Divine Word or SVD missionaries work primarily where the Gospel has not been preached at all, or only insufficiently, and where the local Church is not yet viable on its own. The SVD’s membership reflects the international nature of the congregation and representative of the areas of the world they serve. The SVD missionaries serve according to the needs of the local Church and the particular expertise they bring to the task.

In Asia, the SVDs are involved in education, especially in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Japan. They are also involved in pastoral and developmental work, and other specialized ministries such as Bible apostolate, the youth, communications, and refugee apostolate in Africa and South America. Their work in the United States involves the minority communities, especially African-American and Hispanic communities, as well as, poor areas such as Appalachia.

Religion Area

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