God doesn't intend for us to pursue his heart in solitude — we are called to journey together. This Lent, we invite you to make your 40-day journey alongside our missionaries in the field.
On Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent we will send you a devotional email with powerful stories and reflections from a Divine Word Missionary on that Sunday’s Gospel reading.
Will you join us as we journey toward Calvary and grow together? Sign up below for full access.
Father Nicholas Barla SVD was born in 1961 in Sambalpur, India. He was ordained a Divine Word Missionary priest in 1993. During his ministry in India he became an advocate for indigenous people, called Tribals, advising them of their legal rights under India’s constitution.
In 2017 he was appointed secretary of the Catholic Bishop Conference of India’s Office for Tribal Affairs, an office he still holds. He is based in New Delhi, India’s capital city.
Archbishop Isao Kikuchi SVD was born in 1958 in Japan and was ordained to the priesthood in 1986. His first assignment was to Ghana, where he served as a parish priest for nine years. He was reassigned to Japan in 1994 to work in seminary formation. In 2004, he was made bishop of the Diocese of Niigata, becoming the first Divine Word Missionary bishop in Japan. In December 2017, Pope Francis elevated him to Archbishop of Tokyo.
In July 2021 he was made secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and in February 2022 he became president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan. Archbishop Kikuchi still serves both offices.
Father Daniel Otieno SVD was born in Kenya in 1978. He entered the seminary in Kenya in the year 2000 and was ordained a priest in 2011. His first mission assignment was to Bolivia, where he worked mostly in La Chiquitania in the Amazon region of Santa Cruz. After being reassigned to Kenya, he worked as a director in the pre-philosophy program and as a member of the vocations team.
He is currently an assistant pastor at St. Barnabas Parish in Kimumu while assisting with the chaplaincy at the University of Eldoret. He is the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation coordinator of the Kenya-Tanzania Province and is studying for an MBA specializing in finance and accounting.
Father Kingsley Sagru-Larr was born in 1973 in Ghana to a Muslim family. As he got older he felt a deep call to join the Catholic faith. Thoughts of becoming a Catholic priest entered his mind while he was preparing for the sacraments of Christian initiation. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2009.
He was assigned to Mexico, where he became pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz Yagavilla. Since 2020 he has been in Mexico City, where, in addition to being an associate priest at San Antonio de Padua parish, he facilitates workshops to benefit urban parishes as well as indigenous persons in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Father Felipe Hermosilla Espinoza SVD was born in Chile in 1992 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2021. He now serves in Paraguay.
Fr. Hermosilla has worked at Grupo de estudio de fuentes Arnoldo Janssen, which is dedicated to study the letters, conferences and retreats of St. Arnold Janssen, founder of Divine Word Missionaries. The group has published two books about Arnold Janssen’s theological reflections on the Holy Trinity.
Father Godwin Fiawoyi SVD was born in Ghana in 1977 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2014. He was appointed to the Ghana Province and assigned to serve as the assistant treasurer for four years. In 2018, he was appointed the provincial treasurer and continues to hold that title.
For his pastoral experience, he assisted at St. Charles Lwanga Church in Accra until he was appointed treasurer full time. He continues to offer pastoral assistance in some of Accra’s rural parishes.
Father Benigno “Ben” Beltran was born in 1946 in the Philippines and was ordained a Divine Word Missionary priest in 1973.
Fr. Beltran has taught theology at Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay for more than three decades while ministering to the scavengers at Smokey Mountain garbage dump in Manila. He has published many books including Faith and Struggle in Smokey Mountain: Hope for a Planet in Peril. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Michael Ramsey Prize, which is awarded to “the most promising contemporary theological writing from the global Church.”
At present, Fr. Beltran is involved in promoting the use of online technologies to teach marginalized youth how to gain entrepreneurial skills. He is also a proponent in the project to plant “One Billion Bamboo” by 2030 to help reduce the effects of climate change.
Apostolic Vicar Pablito "Pabs" Tagura SVD was born in 1962 in the Philippines and was ordained to the priesthood in 1988. He has had several leadership positions with Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City and the Philippines - Central Province. Most recently he was rector of the seminary.
On Dec. 17, 2022, Pope Francis appointed Fr. Tagura the apostolic vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose Mindoro in the Philippines. An apostolic vicariate is a jurisdiction of the Church, usually in a missionary region, that is not yet a diocese and falls under the Vatican’s control. It is led by an apostolic vicar, a titular bishop, who acts as the pope’s representative. Fr. Tagura’s episcopal ordination was Feb. 17, and his installation as apostolic vicar will be Feb. 24.