Official notes decrease in missionaries


THE number of Divine Word Missionaries in Papua New Guinea is dwindling, a senior church official says.
Head of Society of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries in the country Fr Jose Orathinkal said this as the Catholic order celebrates its 125th year of existence in the country.
“Our numbers are dwindling as some years back we had over 200 people, but we are down to less than 100 so we would like to rethink how best we can actively participate in the life of the mission of the church,” he said.
SVD missionaries are in Madang this week for the celebration.
The mission was first established in PNG in 1896.
Fr Jose said the easing of coronavirus (Covid-19) protocols allowed them to go ahead with their plan to celebrate the anniversary of their founding mission.
The guest of honour of the celebration is SVD superior-general Fr Paulus Budi Kleden, who flew in from the SVD headquarters in Rome, Italy.
Seventy members of the SVD from Highlands, Mamose and Southern – comprising Bishop-elect of Daru/Kiunga Fr Joseph Durero, priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians – gathered for the celebration.
Fr Jose said the mission had a different look and dimension in the makeup of the SVD numbers with more members drawn from the Asian region and the mission would continue to sustain a number of activities done by their predecessors.