Meet the new administration

The membership blesses its new administration
The membership blesses its new administration

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With the election of Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, as the final member of the new Provincial Council, members of the U.S. Province concluded their Election Assembly on Thursday, June 6. Here is a look at the  new administration, which will take office on August 1.

The new council

All but one of the newly elected councilors served during the past administration.

Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, 58, has been in vocation work, in ministry to those living with HIV/AIDS, served as province justice and peace director and in parish ministry.  He was professed in 1975 and ordained in 1983.

Ed elected
Fr. Ed Kilianski (middle) is welcomed to the council by Fr. Stephen Huffstetter (right). Fr. Peter McKenna (left) of the Canadian Region was facilitator of the assembly.

“When I was seven years old, Pope John XXIII died and on the radio they said that he wanted to be a priest when he was 11 years old,” said Fr. Ed.  “I said to my mom and dad that, ‘I’m only seven and I want to be a priest, does that mean that someday I’ll be the pope?’

“They laughed as everyone does when I tell the story but somehow I knew that one day I would be a priest.”

He told that story to parishioners when he introduced himself as the new pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston, Texas in 2008.  He came to the assignment after a six-month study sabbatical in Mexico to improve his Spanish language skills.  Although he had done several month-long study sessions, it was the extended time in Mexico that strengthened both his language skills and his call to Hispanic ministry.

“To be immersed in Spanish for six months; to celebrate the Mass and get to know the people; this made a huge impact on me,” said Fr. Ed.  “I just felt that it was where the Lord was leading me, where I was being called in ministry.”

“For me, I see provincial administration as a ministry of service,” said Fr. Ed. “In Spanish, there’s an expression that is used everywhere in Mexico which says, ‘Para servirles.’ in order to serve you. As a Priest of the Sacred Heart, I am here to serve.


Fr. Steve congratulates Fr. Byron on his election to council
Fr. Steve congratulates Fr. Byron on his election to council


Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ, 64, is California native. He professed vows in 1970 and was ordained in 1977. Currently he is Vice President for Mission at Sacred Heart School of Theology.

Formation, spirituality, and retreat ministry have been the mainstays of Fr. Byron’s life as an SCJ.  He was on the formation team of the Chicago House of Studies, the undergraduate formation program in San Antonio, and for the North American novitiate in Detroit.

However, it is retreat ministry which has had a special place in his heart since he directed his first retreat as a deacon.  He has traveled the country, and internationally, giving retreats for a wide variety of groups and organizations.

He has also presented retreats to participants in Alcoholics Anonymous.  “There are many similarities in 12-step programs and SCJ spirituality,” he said.  “I think that SCJ spirituality kind of ‘catapults’ you into a poverty of spirit that helps you to see your powerlessness.”  And from that sense of “powerlessness,” said Fr. Byron, one realizes that it is only through God that “we can do anything.”

But whatever he does – formation, retreats, administration —  he said that the basis is always the same:  SCJ spirituality.

“Welcoming the spirit, responding to Christ’s love, seeking union and communion with Jesus, and cooperating in the work of redemption.  That is SCJ spirituality in a nutshell.”


Br. Duane Lemke gets the new provincial laughing
Br. Duane Lemke gets the new provincial laughing


Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, 41, is a “home-grown” SCJ.  Professed in 1997, he grew up in an SCJ parish in South Dakota and as a teen, worked for the SCJ community when it had a pastoral team in Eagle Butte, SD.

“I came to the Priests of the Sacred Heart in January, 1995, after my collegiate years at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.,” said Br. Duane.  He earned a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, but said that in formation he also “began to learn how to be a Priest of the Sacred Heart: one who is called to promote God’s love in the heart of people and society.”  Unlike CTU, his study of the later has no graduation.  He adds that it is a “lifelong course of study!”

His first ten years of ministry were in and around Lower Brule, S.D.  “As a member of the Catholic Pastoral Team, I ministered to youth and elders, taught religious education to youth and adults, and was a pastoral associate to St. Michael’s Parish in Kennebec,” he said. “Memories of the people, events and experiences I had there will always be with me, and continue to influence my ministry.”

Br. Duane is now director of the province formation program in Chicago. “Formation ministry is quite different from parish ministry, but I count myself fortunate to be with these young men as they celebrate, struggle and study at school while preparing themselves for novitiate and religious life.”


Fr. Jack Kurps speaks to the membership
Fr. Jack Kurps speaks to the membership


Originally from Chicago, Ill., Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, professed vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1972 and was ordained in 1977.

His first assignment landed him a place that he still enjoys calling home:  Mississippi.  Starting in 1980 at Queen of Peace parish in Olive Branch, Miss., he is now executive director of Sacred Heart Southern Missions.

For eight years Fr. Jack was director of the province vocation office and also sat on national vocation boards. He has served the province on a variety of committees and commissions, and was a delegate to the 1997 general chapter. Often, he is called on to be province liturgist, as he was at this year’s Election Assembly.

“I have always found it to be affirming to be nominated for the Council; it is even more so to be elected,” he said (Fr. Jack has served two previous terms). “I have enjoyed it and found it to be rewarding as well as challenging. I consider service to the province to be an important part of who I am.”

Fr. Hendrik
Fr. Hendrik

The final member elected to the council is new both to the province and to administration. Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, originally from Indonesia, came to the United States in 2009 to learn English in preparation for ministry in the Philippines. And then he stayed.

It was during his studies that Fr. Hendrik’s provincial superior suggested a change in plans.  He still wanted him to be a missionary, but instead of the Philippines, Fr. Hendrik was asked to consider South Dakota. The U.S. Province was short on personnel for reservation ministry.

It didn’t take much consideration; Fr. Hendrik quickly said “yes.”

“I am happy to go where needed,” he said.

Professed in 1990, Fr. Hendrik has known the Priests of the Sacred Heart all of his life. His home parish was served by SCJs and it was their example that inspired him to pursue a vocation.

“I had a dream to be like them, it was just a child’s dream at first, but they were such good examples,” said Fr. Hendrik. “They were very kind.”

When an SCJ asked if he would like to join them, he immediately said “Yes!” just as he did when asked to go to South Dakota.

“But I didn’t know what that meant,” said Fr. Hendrik. “And I didn’t really realize what it did mean until I was in the fourth year of my studies at the seminary!”

Ordained in 1998, Fr. Hendrik did his seminary studies in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

His first assignment was in a small parish on the border between South Sumatra and Bengkulu. He was there for four years before serving as the director of a retreat house in Palembang and later, in Lampung. His last year of ministry before coming for ESL studies was as a missionary in West Papua. He loved his work as a missionary priest, but malaria cut has assignment short.

Fr. Hendrik has been a member of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team for the past three years.


Fr. Steve receives congratulations from Fr. Mike Burke
Fr. Steve receives congratulations from Fr. Mike Burke


The new provincial-elect

Fr. Steve, 54, is currently executive director of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D.

Originally from South Bend, Ind., Fr. Steve studied at and earned degrees from Loyola University and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  At CTU, he received a D.Min. in theology and a D.Min. in cross cultural ministry.

Fr. Steve has had a commitment to ministry among Native Americans and the people of South Dakota since his initial years with the community.  Before completing his seminary studies Fr. Steve worked for two years with the Cheyenne River Pastoral Team in Eagle Butte, SD.

Following his ordination in 1989, Fr. Steve returned to Eagle Butte, where he had also served as a deacon.  In 1997, he moved from pastoral work to formation and became the director of the undergraduate program in San Antonio from 1997 to 2001.

Fr. Steve returned to South Dakota in 2001 and served with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team until 2004, when he was named president of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD.  He continues in that role.  Among his other roles, Fr. Steve also serves on the Native American Commission of the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

Talking about his ministry with Native Americans he said that “a challenge of working on the ‘Rez’ is the poverty and social problems that we see around us. Yet in my years here, what inspires me is people’s strength to keep trying and struggling to make life better in spite of the odds.

“The people I serve encourage me to have greater hope and trust in God. They show me what it means to pick up your cross and to embrace suffering rather than trying to run away from difficulties.”

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