By Matters India Reporter
Rome: The Society of the Divine Word (SVD) on July 4 elected an Indonesian as the head of the 143-year-old Rome-based congregation.
Father Paul Budi Kleden, 53 and an Indonesian, is the 12th superior general of the Catholic religious congregation for men.
He succeeds German Father Heinz Kulueke, who held the post for five years.
The election took place during the congregation’s 18th general now underway at Nemi, Italy.
Father Kleden is the second one from Asia. The first one was from the Philippine.
Father Kleden was born on November 16, 1965, at Waibalum-Larantuka, Flores, Indonesia. Born as the fifth child of late Petrus Sina Kleden and Dorotea Sea Halan, Fr Kleden has two brothers and four sisters.
He did his schooling in SDK-Waibalun, Larantuka and the minor seminary at Hoken. He joined the Divine Word society in 1985 at Ledalero and completed his novitiate and philosophical studies there. He finished his theological studies at St. Gabriel, Austria. He was ordained priest at St. Gabriel on May 15, 1993.
From 1993-1996, he worked in Switzerland as assistant parish priest first in Steinhausen and then in Auw. He did his doctoral studies in systematic theology in Albert Ludwig’s University at Freiburg, Germany from 1996-2000.
From the year 2001, he was a professor of theology at Ledalero. He was a member of the provincial council (Indonesia) from 2005-2008 and was the vice-provincial for one year during this term. From 2011, he was a appointed director of the post-graduate program in Ledalero.
He now heads more than 6,015 religious men spread all over the world. It was founded by Saint Arnold Janssen, a German diocesan priest in 1875. He also started the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (Blue Sisters) in 1889, and the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration (Pink Sisters) in 1896.