Fr Heinz Kulüke
The 17th General Chapter of the Society of Divine Word (SVD), taking place in Rome, yesterday elected Fr Heinz Kulüke as new Superior General of the SVD. Since 2005 he was Superior of the SVD Southern Province of the Philippines, based in Cebu City, and previously had been Vice-Provincial of the province since 1998.
Kulüke was born on September 29, 1956, in Spelle, Germany. After studying electronics and one year of military service in the Air Force, he carried out further studies in Electrical Engineering. In 1979 he entered the Divine Word and did his novitiate at St Augustin, Germany. He professed his first vows on 1 May, 1981. He was ordained a priest on March 9, 1986 in St Augustine.
His first missionary assignment was Agusan del Sur, Mindanao, the southern province of the Philippines. After three years in Agusan, he obtained his Master of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, Washington. In 1990-1992 he taught philosophy at the University of San Carlos, in Cebu City, Philippines. In 1992 he continued his studies in Rome for a doctorate in Philosophy, which he obtained in 1994. From 1994 he was professor of philosophy at the University of San Carlos. He also served as Vice-President for Academic Affairs (1997-1999) and was the Rector of the SVD Community at the University of San Carlos (1996-2005).
The XVII General Chapter of the Divine Word Missionaries began on June 17 and will continue for four weeks. The theme of the chapter is 'From every people, language and nation: to share intercultural life and mission '. There are about 6,000 Divine Word Missionaries who serve in 67 countries across five continents, with 70 Superiors and 40 delegates elected from the 57 SVD missionaries provinces at the Chapter.
The Congregation of the Divine Word was founded by St Arnold Janssen in 1875 in Steyl, Holland. It serves in parish ministry, education, biblical ministry, communications and other apostolates specialized in all the continents. The Founder sent his first missionaries to China in 1878, the last mission assumed by the Divine Word Missionaries is South Sudan, in early 2012.