SVD order celebrates 50 years
The Society of the Divine Word's U.S. Western Province celebrated 50 years of service to Catholic communities in California, with its yearlong anniversary celebration concluding with a Mass on May 28 celebrated by Bishop Gerald Barnes at Holy Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino.
Known as the Divine Word Missionaries, the order began working in the San Francisco Bay Area with ministries to African-American and Japanese communities.
Later, the missionaries opened Verbum Dei High School for boys in the Watts District of Los Angeles and a minor seminary in Riverside for educating missionary priests and brothers.
In the Oakland diocese, the order operates at St. Bernard Parish in Oakland (Rev. Dominic Asare, SVD), St. Joachim Parish in Hayward (Revs. Joseph Antony Sebastian, SVD, and Mario Olea, SVD) and with Rev. Carl Seewald, SVD, as chaplain at the Dominican Sisters Motherhouse in Fremont. Providing clergy support at St. Columba Parish in Oakland are Revs. Kwame Assenyoh, SVD, and Kenneth Hamilton, SVD.
Statewide, 65 Divine Word Missionaries serve Catholic communities in 17 parishes, as well as hospital and prison chaplains, promoters of Bibles and biblical study, retreat directors, and even as a diocesan administer of the Propagation of the Faith.
Founded in 1875, Divine Word Missionaries serve the spiritual and social needs of people on six of the seven continents. Worldwide, more than 6,000 members of the Society of the Divine Word serve in more than 70 countries.
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