Fr. Terry Langley, provincial secretary, is in Rome this week for a secretaries’ workshop. No, there won’t be classes in shorthand, but instead there are presentations on the many tasks involved in the administrative needs of a province, region and/or district in the congregation. This is the second time that such a workshop has been hosted by the General Curia. Fr. Terry is joined by SCJs from South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
After his first day, he wrote the following:
I’m enjoying Rome. Heru and Roberto [Fr. Heru is the secretary general and Br. Roberto is vice general secretary] have organized an excellent meeting. Yesterday, Fr. John van den Hengel and Fr. Tullio Benini spoke about the mission and tasks of the provincial secretary.
Fr. John talked about the power of the written word, which is to say that the interminable letters we provincial secretaries have to write can be instruments that help further the mission of the congregation and also break down the social isolation that our confreres sometimes feel. Along the same line, Fr Benini said that the door of the provincial secretary’s office should always be open.
In the afternoon we broke up into small groups (according to language) and talked about specific duties we have as provincial secretaries in our respective provinces, as well as difficulties we often experience and ways in which our working relationship with the Secretary General might be improved.
This morning Fr. Marek Stoklosa, a canon lawyer from the Polish Province, spoke about things that all provincial secretaries must deal with regarding members: prolonged absences, exclaustration, dismissal, incardination. He will speak to us again this afternoon and most of tomorrow.
The local community here is most kind and welcoming but there are certainly things that I find so different from home: eating lunch at 1 p.m. and supper at 7:30; sitting at supper and sometimes having no one to talk to in English (thank God for Fr. John van den Hengel and Fr. Wayne Jenkins!); not having a TV in my room (and not missing it a bit; however, life without a computer would be another matter).
The internationality of our congregation is something to behold. I stand in awe of our young people from the countries we have recently entered. I am filled with hope for the congregation.
By the way, I was just feet away from the pope as he passed by me in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday right before the celebration of his outdoor Mass. We were surrounded by Harley bikers who were there for the 110th anniversary celebration of Harley Davidson.