460 years of religious life!
Although it might seem like an overused format for an annual story, it is still significant to note the number of years of commitment to religious life – SCJ religious life – that were celebrated by the province at the 2019 Province Jubilee Celebration. With two 70-year jubilarians, two 60-year, three 50-year, one noting 40 years and another 10 years of vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart the province commemorates 460 years of religious life: 460 years of community, prayer and ministry as SCJs, as Dehonians.
The 2019 Jubilee Celebration took place Monday, June 10, at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. It was the kick-off to the Province Assembly, which runs from June 11-14. The jubilees were also a part of another event: the Former SCJ Reunion, a gathering of former SCJs and seminarians held June 10-11 at SHSST.
This year’s jubilarians represent a wide-range of ministries, including education, vocations, parish ministry, farming, province administration and Hispanic ministry, in areas as diverse as Florida, Mississippi, Texas, South Dakota and Wisconsin, as well as India! We share a bit about them below:
70 YEARS OF RELIGIOUS VOWS
Fr. Ed Griesemer, SCJ
Born in suburban Milwaukee (West Allis), Fr. Ed Griesemer celebrated his 89th birthday on June 9, the day before the Province Jubilee Celebration. He professed his first vows on September 8, 1949, and was ordained on May 25, 1957.
After doing his philosophy and theology studies at Sacred Heart Monastery (now Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology), Fr. Ed was assigned to St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD. He then took several parish assignments in Mississippi, Texas and Indiana. It was while serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Chicago, IN, that Fr. Ed developed a strong interest in ministry to the Spanish-speaking. Among his language study programs was a Spanish immersion course in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
For many years, Fr. Ed was active in Hispanic ministry in Texas and Wisconsin. Besides parish ministry, he conducted Bible study sessions for Spanish-speaking inmates at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Wisconsin and ministered to summer migrant workers at Wisconsin canneries.
Fr. Ed also taught for several years at the province’s Kilroe Seminary in Honesdale, PA. Retired, he is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.
Fr. Paul Casper, SCJ
Originally from St. Paul, MN, Fr. Paul, 89, followed a similar educational path as Fr. Ed: philosophy and theology studies at Sacred Heart. He professed his first vows in 1949 and was ordained to the priesthood with Fr. Ed on May 25, 1957, at St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee.
Fr. Paul’s first assignment was back at the minor seminary (Divine Heart in Donaldson, IN) where he taught Latin and religion. In 1961, he was named dean of students at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Massachusetts. In 1966, Fr. Paul headed to South Dakota, where he worked at St. Joseph’s Indian School for a brief period before being assigned to St. Mary’s parish in Lower Brule, SD. In 1973, he was appointed pastor of All Saints in Eagle Butte, SD, where he remained until 1979.
Following a sabbatical in Jerusalem, Fr. Paul returned to St. Mary’s in Lower Brule, where he was pastor until 1985.
In 1986, he became associate pastor of what was then Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary parish (now, St. Martin of Tours) in Franklin, WI. In Milwaukee, he also did jail ministry at the juvenile detention center. From 1987 to 2002 he was a member of the Mississippi community, serving at Holy Spirit parish in Hernando and St. Joseph’s in Holly Springs. He retired in 2002 and is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.
60 YEARS OF RELIGIOUS VOWS
Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ
Fr. “Westy,” as many know him, grew up near Toledo, OH, and professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1959. He studied theology at Sacred Heart Monastery and earned a master’s degree in Modern European History at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1966. Fr. Tom is now 78.
As with Frs. Ed and Paul, his first assignments were in seminary education. He served at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Lenox, MA, Sacred Heart Novitiate in Ste. Marie, IL, and Dehon Seminary in Lanesboro, MA.
In 1979, he moved west to South Dakota, where served in a variety of ministries, including many years as development director of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain. From 1993-2004 he was on the pastoral team of All Saints parish in Eagle Butte, SD, and from 2004-2007 he was on the Lower Brule, SD, Pastoral Team.
Fr. Tom was also the Province Vocation Director (1990-1993) and often served as the recording secretary at province gatherings.
He last assignment before retirement was in the Province Archives.
“For me, being an SCJ means that I strive to give of myself totally out of love for the One who loves me and each person,” said Fr. Tom reflecting on his vocation. “As an SCJ, I recognize the calling to be inwardly dedicated to returning the love the Heart of Jesus has for each of us.”
Fr. Tom is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML in Franklin
Br. Andy Lewandowski, SCJ
Originally from Scranton, PA, Br. Andy Lewandowski, 85, served in the US Air Force before pursuing his vocation to religious life. He entered the military close to home in Wilkes Barre, PA, and was honorably discharged at the other end of the country in Seattle.
Br. Andy professed his first vows in 1959 and his final vows in 1962. In 1961 he began a nearly 50-year assignment at St. Joseph’s in Baileys Harbor, WI.
Set on a 400-acre farm donated to the Priests of the Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s initially served as the setting for the brothers’ novitiate program. A barn was remodeled into living quarters and a chapel. However, the farm itself continued to thrive alongside the formation program. Br. Andy was one of the primary forces behind the farm, tending to the cattle and fields, maintaining the property and its equipment, and (occasionally dressed in a Hawaiian shirt while sitting inside the heated tractor cab), plowed the drive and roadway in the midst of many a Wisconsin winter.
Eventually, the novitiate program moved, and the property became a retreat center. Br. Andy continued to serve on the center’s staff, primarily with farm work, until the province left the ministry in 2009. By then he had been in vows 50 years. Br. Andy retired and is now a member of the St. Francis Community in Franklin, WI.
50 YEARS OF RELIGIOUS VOWS
Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ
Another Pennsylvania native, Fr. Jim Walters, 69, first professed vows in 1969 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1978.
Early in his studies he discovered that he had both an interest and aptitude for language. Fr. Jim earned a BA in Modern Foreign Languages from the University of Loyola in Chicago; he is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian. Though he is quick to note that “fluency” is a relative term. “In rocket science I am not fluent in English,” he said when talking about language study. “It is important to be fluent in the terminology that you need; here [at SHSST] we help people become pastorally fluent.”
Fr. Jim has been at SHSST since 2004; for many years he has directed the seminary’s Hispanic Studies program. Prior to his ministry in academics, he served primarily in parishes. From 1989-2003 he was in South Dakota, where he ministered with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team and at St. Joseph’s Indian School. From 1980 to 1988 he focused on ministry with the Spanish-speaking in Texas, serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Raymondville, St. Cecilia parish in San Antonio and St. Lawrence parish, also in San Antonio.
He has been on several province committees, as well as the Provincial Council (1998-2001). Besides his degree in Foreign Languages, Fr. Jim also as an MA in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola of Baltimore, as well as an M. Div. from the seminary at which he now teaches.
Fr. Yvon Sheehy, SCJ
A Vermont native, Fr. Yvon, 68 (he turns 69 on June 18), grew up in a French-Canadian family near the Canadian border. French was his first language. He professed his first vows in 1969 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1978.
Fr. Yvon spent many years in South Dakota ministering on the Cheyenne River, Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations. He is credited with being the architect of the team ministry approach that continues to be used on the reservations. Visitors to South Dakota may remember his frequent line: “And all this could be yours” as he waved his hand towards the South Dakota prairie, encouraging other religious to join him in ministry at the birthplace of the US Province.
In 2001, Fr. Yvon was elected to the Provincial Council; he served as vice-provincial from 2001-2010. When elected to his first three-year term, he was also named Province Vocation Director. He continued as director until 2007, when he was named pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, WI; he was pastor for 10 years. Since 2017, Fr. Yvon has been the Residential Director of the ECS (formerly “ESL”) program at Sacred Heart Monastery.
Fr. Terry Langley, SCJ
The third of the 50-year jubilarians, Fr. Terry, 69, professed his first vows in 1969 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979.
With a father in the Marines, Fr. Terry called many places home when growing up. It was during his family’s stay in Norfolk, Va., that he learned about the SCJs. “One day our teacher gave us some vocational literature about the Priests of the Sacred Heart,” he said. Something about the literature attracted him and “that was that!”
He attended the minor seminary, and later earned a BA in History from Loyola of Chicago, an M.Div. from Catholic Theological Union (also in Chicago) and an S.T.L. in Systematics from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, MA.
Currently pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, Fr. Terry has served in a variety of parishes including St. Matthew parish in Houston, St. Rose of Lima parish in Detroit, St. Paul parish in Grosse Point Farms (near Detroit), and Queen of Peace parish in Olive Branch, MS. In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Fr. Terry has also served at St. John the Evangelist in Twin Lakes and St. Alphonsus in New Munster.
He has been on several province committees and commissions, including five years on the Finance Commission. Fr. Terry also served as provincial secretary from 2012-2013. As secretary, he took part in an international workshop for secretaries at the Generalate in Rome. “The internationality of our congregation is something to behold,” he said of the experience. “I stand in awe of our young people from the countries we have recently entered. I am filled with hope for the congregation.”
Fr. Terry is a member of the St. Joseph Community at SHML.
40 YEARS OF RELIGIOUS VOWS
Fr. Ralph Intranuovo, SCJ
A Brooklyn native, Fr. Ralph, 82, was 42 when he professed his first vows. Prior to pursuing his religious vocation, he served in the US Army and worked at AT&T as a plant craftsman.
Feeling called to ministry, he began teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies and religion at a Catholic school in Rockville Center, NY. A few years later he applied to be a candidate with the Priests of the Sacred Heart. He earned his M.Div. at SHSST and was ordained to the priesthood in 1983. Prior to entering the community, he received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in Brooklyn. He also has a D.Min. from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and received certification to be a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas.
Fr. Ralph’s first assignment after ordination was at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Raymondville, TX. It was the first of several assignments in Texas including OLG in Houston, St. Rose of Lima parish in Charlotte, St. Jude parish in San Antonio, the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in San Antonio (chaplain), Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio (chaplain), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Houston and Christ the Redeemer parish in Houston.
In 2006, Fr. Ralph retired and became a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL.
10 YEARS OF RELIGIOUS VOWS
Fr. Praveen Kumar Richard, SCJ
Our final jubilarian is Fr. Praveen, 32, who celebrates his tenth anniversary of vows this year. He was ordained to the priesthood on October 27, 2014. A member of the Indian District, during the past year he has been a student in the US Province with an emphasis on English and Development studies.
Fr. Praveen earned his degrees in Philosophy and Theology in India, and also participated in the extended finance course offered by the General Treasurer’s Office in Rome. While in the United States, he earned a certificate in fundraising through Boston University (remote study).
He was born in the village of Marthandanthurai in Tamil Nadu, India. His father is a fisherman and his mother works in the home; the second child, he has one older brother and two younger brothers and a sister.
What attracted him to the Priests of the Sacred Heart? “It was the charism of our founder and his social teachings,” he said, “the importance of hospitality and availability to the needs of the Church.” He learned of the community through a Portuguese missionary: Fr. Jose Guilherme, SCJ.
His initial assignments have been in parish ministry, formation, teaching and as a local treasurer. Fr. Praveen’s hobbies including reading, listening to music, movies and yoga.