March 22, 2010

New center opens for Catholic-Jewish studies

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology is being established as a tribute to Professor Richard Lux, Ph.D., on the occasion of his retirement after 37 years on the Sacred Heart faculty. Its purpose is to establish a legacy that will continue his life’s work in strengthening Catholic-Jewish relations. This effort kicks off with a May 11 fundraising dinner at the Boerner Botanical Gardens.

To learn more about the center go to:

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Tom Cassidy finishes his visit in Pinellas Park, Fl., today, comes back to the office for a couple of days and then heads to Texas March 25-29.   His next trip will be to South Dakota April 6-9 for board meetings.


The province welcomes Anthony Nguyen from Minneapolis-St. Paul, who was accepted by the Admissions Board this past weekend to enter the SCJs’ college program in Chicago in fall.

New on the website

Each Monday the Fridge Notes brings you short news and updates about the Priests of the Sacred Heart and their ministries.  However, you can also find news and features about the community under the “NEWS” tab of the new province website,  Here’s a bit of what was posted during the past week:

Br. Long Nguyen prepares for final vows: “His name is Vietnamese but Br. Long Nguyen is definitely a man of Louisiana’s bayou country.  He appreciates a good gumbo as much as the Vietnamese dishes from his family’s homeland.  And while he speaks fluent Vietnamese, his English is definitely tinted with a bit of a southern drawl…”

To read the rest of the of the story, go to:

Former ESL student named bishop: On March 19 Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Fr. Vilson Basso, SCJ, as bishop of the Diocese of Caxias, Maranhao (Brazil). He will succeed Bishop Luis D’Andrea, OFM Conv, who is 76.

The bishop-elect is an alumnus of Sacred Heart School of Theology’s ESL program (Hales Corners, Wis.).  He was a student in the program in 2006 as preparation for his current work in the Philippines.

For more about Fr. Basso go to:

World Water Day: The general administration of the Priests of the Sacred Heart encourages its members, co-workers and other collaborators to commemorate “World Day for Water” on Monday, March 22.  The day was organized by the United Nations in 1992 following the Rio de Janeiro conference on climate change. This year’s theme for the day:  ”Clean Water for a Healthy World.”

Read more at:

Update on Fr. Steve

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, who is being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for cancer, sent an e-mail with an update:  “The medical news is very encouraging. The first two cycles of chemotherapy have been eating away at the tumor, and it’s shrunk perhaps 15%, and in one spot almost an inch. Now we’re changing to some different chemotherapy medicines that aren’t quite as intense. I had three hours of chemo yesterday, and I’ll only have one more of those in about four weeks.

“The CT scan of chest and lungs came back clear, so nothing has spread. All indications are that we’re heading toward a successful surgery sometime in May.

“I’ll have lots of time on my hands, but primarily need to rest. As I get my energy back I’ll try to walk more and exercise and enjoy the good things that spring has to offer. I brought a good pile of books with me (both spiritual and fun ones), a stack of letters to answer and a computer to keep in touch with family, friends and the folks at school.”

During the weekend Fr. Steve was able to move to “Hope Lodge,” a residential facility for cancer patients operated by the American Cancer Society.  “There are 60 rooms, and staff on hand to help if you need it, but everyone does their own cooking and laundry and the room is spacious and nice,” he wrote. “There are also common areas for reading, TV and exercise. Tuesday night is pot luck so I have to figure out what to cook!

If you want to say “hi” Fr. Steve’s e-mail is:

Thank you

Fr. Bob Bossie writes:  “My family and I are most appreciative of all the care and love expressed by members of the province following the sudden death of my sister, Natalie. All your cards, emails, prayers and expressions of support, as well as Br. Duane Lemke’s presence at the Mass, meant so much to us. Thank you.”

And thanks from Portugal

“Thank you for yours payers and generous donation for the needs of Madeira Island,” wrote Fr. Zeferino Policarpo, provincial superior of Portugal.  The U.S. Province donated $10,000 to the province to assist with relief efforts following massive mudslides and flooding on the island of Madeira.  Over 40 people died during the natural disasters, which took place in areas where the SCJs have ministry.  No member of the community was hurt; however, several SCJ structures were damaged and many of the people to whom the community ministers were affected.

“In our parishes of Ribeira Brava and Serra de Agua many people lost their houses and possessions,” wrote Fr. Zeferino.  “Our SCJs are working to help the people and to give them the hope. The donation from U.S. Province is a good expression of fraternity. Thank you so much.”

Out of the hospital

Fr. Michael van der Peet has moved out of the hospital to the Congregational Home, 3150 Lilly Rd, Rm 1277,
Brookfield, WI 53005-7623.  His room is across the hall from fellow SCJ Fr. Vince McDonald.

Please remember

Fr. Pietro Cavazza, a member of the North Italian Province, died March 17.  He was born in 1929, professed in 1946 and ordained in 1955.

St. Joseph’s alumnus receives national award

John Beheler is an alumnus of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D.  He graduated in 1979, went to college, and then came back a few years later to serve as assistant principal and cultural advisor.  He also assisted with staff development and alumni relations.  During the past year he has served as principal of the Lower Brule Elementary School on the Lower Brule Reservation but continues to provide staff development sessions at St. Joe’s on various aspects of Lakota culture.

For his work John has been named “Alumnus of the Year” by the Coalition for Residential Education (CORE) in its Catherine Hershey Awards.  He will receive the award during a CORE’s national conference April 15 in St. Charles, Il (near St. Louis).

The Catherine Hershey Awards are the only national awards specifically for the residential education field. Established in 2005, the awards honor outstanding staff, students, alumni, and supporters whose tireless dedication and important contributions exemplify the essence of residential education.

The awards are administered by CORE.  Judges are supporters, alumni, and youth work professionals who rank all submitted nominations with personal and program information removed.

Mike Tyrell, executive director of St. Joseph’s Indian School, submitted John’s nomination.

“John provided a lot of ‘hands-on’ cultural experiences and staff development session on culture, when he was employed here at St. Joseph’s,” said Mike.  “He led ‘Inipi’ (Sweat) Ceremonies, worked to restart our drum group, worked with mural projects, and assisted with Marketing efforts, all as part of his cultural advisor duties.  Even though he left employment here, he still provides staff development session on various aspects of the culture.”

Remembering those who built the province

As we have for the past several months we will continue to share a bit of information about deceased members of the province on or near the anniversary of their death. This week we remember three SCJs:

Fr. Dermot Twomey (d. March 25, 2008): Fr. Dermot was a well-loved pastor at several Mississippi parishes, including Sacred Heart in Walls, Christ the King in Southaven and St. Gregory in Senatobia.  The SCJ died of cancer on March 25.  He was 76 and had been a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart since 1954.

A brother serving in the British-Irish Province for many years, Fr. Dermot felt called to the priesthood following Vatican II.  He came to the United States to study at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., and was ordained in 1976.  During his studies, he joined the U.S. Province.

His first assignment was at St. Cecilia parish in San Antonio, Texas.  To prepare for the ministry, he went to Mexico to study Spanish.  It was one of several times that he hit the books following ordination.  He also earned a master’s in Applied Theology from the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

Following a sabbatical in 1988, he went to Mississippi to help out at Sacred Heart parish in Walls.  The short-term assignment eventually turned into a long-term commitment.  Besides Sacred Heart (1988-90), Fr. Twomey ministered at Christ the King parish, Southaven (1990-97), St. Anthony Mission, Tunica (1998-99) and St. Gregory parish in Senatobia.

Frater Theophane Prenderville (d. March 27, 1939): Richard (Theophane) Prenderville was born in Brooklyn in 1910. He applied to Sacred Heart Monastery at 25, and was accepted in November, 1935. At the time he was considered an “older” vocation so his first year was spent catching up to those who had gone through the minor seminaries including Latin and Greek.

During the novitiate one of his fellow novices suffered a heart attack.  It was an event that some say Frater Theophane took to heart –– literally.  In his diary Frater Theophane wrote, “Take my life as a victim of love, that my fellow novices may perse­vere and become holy priests and religious.”

Frater Theophane was offering himself for his confrere.  Friends noted that the gesture was a generous one, but also suggested that perhaps Frater Theolphane was being a bit too zealous.  However, the novice who had been ill recovered and later showed no signs of illness.  Meanwhile, Frater Theophane developed heart problems that later claimed his life only four years after beginning studies with the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Fr. Edmond Gaborit (d. March 27, 1940): Although Fr. Gaborit died a member of the U.S. Province, much of his work is tied to the devel­opment of the SCJ presence in Canada.

In 1907, Bishop Emile Legal of Edmunton, Canada, traveled to France to recruit help for his young diocese. In Soissons, the bishop met with Fr. Dehon. Anxious to help the bishop, Fr. Dehon sent one of his own priests back with him — Fr. Gaborit.

Fr. Gaborit had often talked about becoming a missionary. Fr. Dehon felt that the dry weather of Canada would suit Fr. Gaborit well, since the young priest was afflicted with chronic bronchitis.

His first assignment in Canada was to care for the remote missions of Wainwright and Wetaskewin. Several months later, Fr. Gaborit was asked to develop a parish for the heavily Catholic suburbs of Calder and Elm Park, just west of Edmunton.

The French-Canadians gave Fr. Gaborit a warm reception. A store own­er donated the use of a bedroom and office adjoining his store, and on Sundays, allowed Fr. Gaborit to celebrate Mass in the store. The rest of the residents were equally generous a week later when Fr. Gaborit announced that construction of the church, rectory and parish hall should begin immedi­ately. Fr. Gaborit designed the church himself, but all labor and materials were donated by the parishioners.

In that rectory, Fr. Gaborit soon opened an SCJ novitiate that was later transferred with Fr. Gaborit to Beaumont, a small town near Edmunton. Fr. Gaborit actively worked in parish ministry and vocations until his death.