HOLY SEEOblate named General Director of Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith
On April 2, 2014, the Apostolic Nunciature in Warsaw announced that the Provincial of the Polish Province, Fr. Ryzszard SZMYDKI, has been appointed General Director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, an office of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome. He will be responsible for the operation of this Pontifical Society in 150 countries. The main objective of the Society, according to its website is “to enliven that Christian maturity which, by its nature, is missionary; it aims to form living members in the Church, able to animate the missionary dimension of its life.” The Society oversees collections for the missions throughout the world and manages the allocation of this aid. It also disseminates information about the needs of the missions and it develops leaders and associates for the missions.
Until the appointment of a successor for Fr. Szmydki as Provincial, the Vicar Provincial, Fr. Andrzej KORDA, will be in charge in Poland.
Fr. Szmydki was born in 1951 and made his first vows as an Oblate in 1970. He attended scholasticates in Obra and in Rome; his two-year pastoral regency was in Cameroon. After his ordination to the priesthood in1978, he earned a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Catholic University in Lublin where he also taught for several years. He is the author of many scholarly works in the field of dogmatic theology and ecumenism.
During the 1992 and 1998 General Chapters, he was elected Assistant General; he held the portfolio for missions during those 12 years. In 2005, he returned to Poland where he was named Vicar Provincial for the Missions. He was appointed Provincial of Poland in 2010 and again, in 2013. He is fluent in Polish, Italian, French and English. He has a conversational knowledge of Spanish and Russian. (www.oblaci.pl)
On 3 April 2014, in a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis inscribed into the Church’s official list the canonized three new saints, foregoing the usual requirement of a second approved miracle. One of them, the Jesuit José de Anchieta (†1597), was a missionary in Brazil. The other two were born in France but ministered in Canada. Francois de Laval, former Bishop of Quebec (†1708) and Marie de l’Incarnation, Foundress of the Ursulines of Quebec (†1672).
Obviously, all of these new saints lived before the Oblates were founded. However, the two French missionaries to Canada have an Oblate connection. The Postulator for their 1980 beatification was the Oblate General Postulator, Father Angelo MITRI (†1984). And the former Superior General of the Oblates, Fr. Fernand JETTE´ (†2000), wrote a book about St. Marie de l’Incarnation: La voie de la saintete´ d'apres Marie de l'Incarnation, Fondatrice des Ursulines de Que´bec, Institut de Missiologie de l'Universite´ d'Ottawa. Ottawa, Editions de l'Universite´ .