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Missionary Body Sets Record Straight

February 03, 1991

Re Richard Eder's review of Stephen J. Ochs' book "Desegregating the Altar" (Jan. 3): His reference to my international congregation, the Society of the Divine Word, as "smallish" is totally misleading.

Known popularly as Divine Word Missionaries, we rank as the 10th largest mission society in the Roman Catholic Church with more than 5,000 priests, brothers and seminarians. Our generalate is in Rome. The majority of our members under 45 are from Third World countries.

The Divine Word Seminary of St. Augustine in Bay St. Louis, Miss., has eight black Catholic bishops among its alumni, including Bishop Harold R. Perry, the first black Catholic bishop in modern times. Of the 13 black Catholic bishops in the United States, five are Divine Word Missionaries.

We serve in more than 50 countries. Hardly "smallish."

REV. CHARLES D. BURNS

Los Angeles

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