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The Divine Word Missionaries, also known as SVDs (not to be confused with the Dragunov SVD) 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 SVDs, in their 16th General Chapter, re-elected Antonio M. Pernia, a Filipino, as the superior general for the next six years.


SVD Missions

See: List of SVD Missions
Also see: List of SVD Schools

The 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 the 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.


SVD in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the Divine Word Missionaries arrived in Bangued, Abra in 1909, founding schools in Bangued, Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, as well as other parts of the Philippines. Today, it is evident that the missionary grains planted by Saint Arnold on the Philippine soil is now bearing hundreds of fruits. Now, there are more than 500 Filipino SVDs and around 120 of them are working abroad.

In the Philippines, the SVD has three ecclesiastical provinces, namely: the Philippine North (PHN) that comprises missionary works of Pangasinan to Aparri; the Philippine Central (PHC) that covers Tarlac, Manila, Mindoro, Bicol and Palawan; and the Philippine South (PHS) who are present in the Visayas and Mindanao islands. Saint Jude Catholic School, a school in Manila near Malacañang Palace, is an SVD school.

SVD Philippine Southern Province

The SVD Philippine Southern Province works on three (3) areas: Formation, Education and Pastoral ministries.

On Formation, young candidates for the priesthood are trained in the Divine Word Formation Center in Davao City while seminarians for brotherhood are form in the Freinademetz Formation House in Cebu City.

On Education, the SVDs run the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Holy Name University in Tagbilaran City, Bohol and the Liceo del Verbo Divino (formerly Divine Word University) in Tacloban City, Leyte.

On Pastoral Ministries, the SVDs have 1 parish in Cebu City, 5 parishes in Surigao del Norte, 6 in Agusan del Sur and 2 in Zamboanga, Sibugay ? Olutanga Island. They manage Radio Stations, the Steyler Canteen, Catholic Trade Cebu, Inc. and a Retreat House. They also work on cooperatives, adopted communities, depressed areas and dialogue with faith seekers and other religions.

Their Vision Statement is as follows: "We, members of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), an international religious-missionary congregation of brothers and priest, founded by Saint Arnold Janssen and named after the Divine Word, envision a world where dialogue is possible because people, inspired by the Word of God and empowered by the Spirit, respect the uniqueness of each person and accept all nations and peoples."

Finally, their Mission Statement says: "As confreres belonging to the SVD Province of the Southern Philippines, we promote and integrate in our lives and apostolates the following: Bible; Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation; Mission Animation; and Communication."

SVD in Botswana

In all of Africa, Botswana is one of the last truly wild places where spectacular wildlife is still abundant. Botswana is a unique success story of Africa. It is a democratic country with political stability, constant development and modern facilities.[1]

Catholic Safaris

In a departure from the traditional sources of income used by many religious orders (schools, hospitals, etc.), the Divine Word Missionaries who are citizens of Botswana, in collaboration with professional lay people, run "Catholic Safaris". The idea was to run a safari with a Catholic perspective as a means of maintaining a reliable source of income for mission projects.

In Botswana, we realize that we can utilize local possibilities to support the mission of the Church. In recent years, the country has become the prime safari destination for thousands of people from around the world. Most book their trips with western tour operators outside Botswana. The money stays outside the country and supports few individuals. The project wants to support the local ventures, creating also job opportunities and income for the families.

"Catholic Safaris" is a unique 'self-reliance project' rather than a business. It runs two fully licensed safari operations: a tour operator and a mobile safari operator. Its main purpose is to provide financial support for missionary activities, including the development of a missionary spiritual and pastoral facility near Maun called "Lefoko Centre." The center will serve the immense Catholic mission territory of the northern and western parts of Botswana.


  1. ^ idea pharma

Divine Word Missionaries, SVD Mission 2006: Province Reports for the XVI General Chapter Rome: SVD Publications-Generalate, 2006), edited from backcover text.

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