Friday, 25 November 2022 09:06

Report of the SSS International Theological Commission (3 - 9 November 2022 - Rome)

The AGC 2021, Father General and his team re-created the International Theological Commission (ITC). Bringing back this commission was a hope of the General Chapter in 2017 and one of its action plans.


Composition of the ITC SSS

Fr Joseph Binh SSS, Vietnam - general council secretary and convener
Fr Justin Chawkan SSS, Sri Lanka – newly-elected provincial and theologian/professor
Fr Lino Emilio Diez Valladares SSS, Spain – parish priest and theologian
Fr Noël Mayamba SSS, Democratic Republic of Congo director Eucharistic Center
Fr Philip Benzy Romician SSS, India - general treasurer and translator serving in Rome
Fr John Thomas Lane SSS, U.S.A. - provincial and pastor in Highland Heights, Ohio

Commissione teologico

From left to right: Fr Noël, Fr Lino, Fr Binh, Fr John Thomas, Fr Justin, Fr Benzy


After meeting six times on Zoom due to COVID, we enjoyed our first in-person meeting working at the Generalate (from 3-9 November 2022, Rome) on a few projects we had discussed for more than a year.


Survey for prayer and exposition

First, we prepare a survey for prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and the practice of prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. This survey accesses the state of critical points of our prayer life. The 2017 General Chapter asked for an assessment of prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and exposition. This survey calls us to respond and share why we pray, how we pray, and the styles with which we pray. We will invite our associates, parishes, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, and Servitium Christi to participate. The survey will be sent out through our provincials and other leaders with a link for all to participate; provincials will gather the data in our different language groups and return it to the ITC for compiling and study. A report will be made about this issue at our General Chapter in Vietnam in November 2023.


Eucharistic Catechism Project

The main task that brought us to Rome was to develop a Eucharistic Catechism project for our Eymardian family. We hope to have basic texts to serve the Eymardian Family and ensure we share a common theological language and basic formation about the Eucharist. In the beginning of this year, we requested Blessed Sacrament religious submit articles on different aspects of Eucharistic theology. These came in multiple languages, and we spent time reviewing, editing, adapting, and in one case, working with the author to improve the text. The majority of our work surrounded the many submissions.

Many articles will be published in Ensemble/Together, the publication of the General Administration of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament; all will be uploaded to the international website of the Congregation and a newly-created drop-down folder with Eucharistic works. We hope this is a starting point for others to share their inspiration about the many facets of the Eucharist and its theology. We request further submissions and articles about the Eucharist so that we may add to the Catechism and our Eucharistic source on the website.

We are reminded that previous administrations did such fine work and created an excellent bibliography that still is a hallmark of our website and the former Centro Eucharistia. We hope this added Catechism will draw others to our website for the resources that genuinely support our Eucharistic theology and Rule of Life.


40th anniversary of our Rule of Life

Speaking of the Rule of Life (ROL), another aspect of our meeting was brainstorming for our 40th anniversary with our ROL. For some of us religious, the ROL is all we have known. Our discussions reminded us of the great history and challenges that brought the ROL to birth and the excellent commentaries that have been written (notably Tony McSweeney’s) to guide our daily living of the ROL.

With the General Council’s blessing, we hope to have a preparation year from August 1, 2023, until August 1, 2024, the 40th anniversary of the approval/implementation of the ROL. The ITC and General Council will invite a series of articles and reflections to prepare us each month for the event. We hope we will revisit the backstory and history that brought the ROL to birth, the meaning of this document for us today, and the way we give flesh and life to the ROL. 

I shared a story about our religious in the USA: on our memorial cards, we list the favorite number of the ROL or the one we choose for the person who has died that truly exemplified their life through the ROL.

The ITC each asked one another: what is your favorite ROL number and why. This is a starting point for each of us to celebrate and live the ROL and share its meaning in our religious life. We demonstrate how we love and live our ROL and invite others to share their theological reflection on the ROL. What is your favorite number?

Let us celebrate the great gift of our Eucharistic vocation, springing from our Eucharistic Lord, the Gospel, and our ROL.

On behalf of the SSS ITC:

Father John Thomas Lane SSS
Provincial Superior – Province of Saint Ann – USA
Highland Heights, Ohio

Last modified on Friday, 25 November 2022 10:41