Four enter novitiate
On August 14, Thien Nguyen, Thuan Nguyen, Truc Van Tran and Hung Pham entered the novitiate during a ceremony at the Sacred Heart Novitiate chapel. Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior, received the new novices. Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ, is novice master, and Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, is associate novice master.
“In 2011 I came in contact with the SCJs,” wrote Thien Nguyen, a novice from the Vietnamese District. “I was still at the university and the community life I found with the SCJs brought me a lot of fun and happiness. When I graduated, I was discerning a vocation to religious life, but decided to experience life, my degree and a new job. I earned good money and had a full life in the material sense but deep in my soul, I felt empty and unhappy. I struggled, but through prayer, I heard the call of God. I returned to the SCJs in 2015 to pursue my vocation.
“I now realize that God always accompanies me in my life, and I have received a lot of blessings. I am very happy with my decision to follow Jesus in my life. I always believe in God’s will and try to imitate the life example of Jesus and do the best that I can.”
Hung wrote that he is excited “to discover more about the SCJ Rule of Life. I would like to learn to be a prophet of love, a servant of reconciliation, and be attentive to humankind’s appeals through Dehonian spirituality.”
Click here to read more about our new novices.
Click here to view photos from the Entrance to Novitiate ceremony
Two profess first vows
After a year of novitiate, John Huan Nguyen and Hubert Senam Kodjovi Liassidji professed their first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The profession ceremony took place on August 15, in the main chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
It was a multicultural gathering featuring a combined Togolese choir from the parishes of Christ the King in Moline, IL and St. Ambrose in Chicago. Readings and prayers were done in Vietnamese, French, Ewe (national language of Togo) and English. Dehonians from around the world, many at SHSST for the summer ECS (formerly ESL) program, were among the concelebrants, as was Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general.
Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ received the vows; Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ, district superior of Vietnam, was at his side. John Huan Nguyen is a member of the district.
“Religious life is a call but also a choice,” said Frater Hubert, reflecting on his profession of vows. “It is one thing to have a call but another to choose to respond to it. I chose to answer God’s call and through formation with the SCJs, I discovered and continue to discover my true identity. I recognize Christ by serving and giving myself to the poor and the most needy, and further, I become a disciple of Jesus Christ through the teachings of Fr. Dehon.”
Talking about his own vocational journey, Frater Huan said that “The Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart has helped me to become more intimate with the Lord through Eucharistic Adoration, community prayer and my personal prayer. For me, whatever happens is good because it is of God. I will always try to live well. I hope my life is a beautiful reflection of God. I believe that through difficulties and trials life becomes meaningful.”
Click here to read more about Fraters Hubert and Huan.
Click here to view photos from the First Profession ceremony.
Thank you and farewell
“The words ‘thank you’ will never lose value,” said Fr. Grzegorz Slodkowski during Friday’s closing liturgy for the first summer session of the ECS program (English and Cultural Studies, formerly ESL) at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “It is not subject to fashions or time trends. It shows that we are not lonely islands, that our lives – whether we like it or not – are connected with God and other people, that we are needed. Gratitude restores faith in humanity, becomes an expression of the sensitivity of the heart. A sincere ‘thank you’ works both for the donor and for the recipient. This word sows joy, restores sympathy. Gratitude opens our hearts more broadly and more strongly to the needs of others…
“Therefore, on behalf of myself and all ECS participants, I thank the entire SCJ community for the benefits we have received during these few weeks. May the expression of our gratitude be above all our prayer, but also a good word and a simple smile.”
This year’s initial summer session included 40 students from 15 countries: Angola (1), Brazil (9), Cameroon (1), Colombia (2), Croatia (1), Gabon (1), Haiti (2), Indonesia (1), Madagascar (4), Mexico (4), Nicaragua (1), Poland (2), Portugal (1), and Vietnam (10). Twenty-three of the students were Dehonians or SCJ candidates.
Click here to view photos from the Mass.
Click here to read Fr. Grzegorz’ full homily.
Canadian Assembly focuses on the environment
August 12-15, the Canadian Region held its annual assembly at the Sisters of Providence Spirituality Centre in Kingston, ON. Approximately 20 SCJs took part.
The two main topics of the gathering were the 1) programmatic letter of the general administration and 2) a reflection on Laudato si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and the environment.
Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general, spoke about the general administration’s letter. He outlined the origin of the document and gave insight into the direction of the new administration. Prior to the assembly, Fr. Steve visited the three Canadian communities.
André Beauchamp, a theologian and environmental specialist (he is a former Secretary General of the Quebec Ministry of the Environment), reflected on Laudato si, noting that it is unique in that it was addressed not just to bishops but to all of humanity.
On Wednesday, the region celebrated several jubilees, including Fr. Herman Falke, SCJ, with 70 years of vows and 65 years of ordained ministry, Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, with 35 years of priesthood, Fr. Greg Murray, SCJ, with 15 years and Fr. Willyans Prado Raposo, SCJ with 10.
Local superiors were installed by Fr. Yuliwan Maslim, SCJ, during the final Eucharist. The superiors: Fr. Aegidius Warsito, SCJ (Toronto), Fr. Paul Tennyson, SCJ (Ottawa) and Fr. Gustave Lulendo N’dotony, SCJ (Montréal).
Click here to read more on the Canadian blog.
“’What representations of disability do we find in early Christian literature?’ ‘What are the meanings ascribed to nonnormative bodies?’ ‘Can we hear subversive voices?’ ‘Is disability used for a particular literary purpose?’ ‘Which medical or etiological frameworks does the text rely on in its presentation of disability?’ These are the questions that Anna Rebecca Solevåg, professor of New Testament Studies at VID Specialized University in Stavanger, Norway, attempts to answer in this study.”
The above paragraph is from the opening of SCJ Fr. Vien Nguyen’s review of Anna Rebecca Solevag’s book, Negotiating the Disabled Body: Representations of Disability in Early Christian Texts. The review was published by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL); SBL is the largest and most prestigious professional association for biblical scholarship.
Fr. Vien added that “as the title suggests, the book examines the meanings ascribed to disabled or nonnormative bodies and the ways in which early Christian writers incorporate them into their writings for a particular literary purpose: to defend and empower those with disabilities.”
Click here to access a PDF of the review.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, is now home with the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, continuing his recovery from heart surgery. He has daily home nursing care.
As noted last week, David Schimmel, province director of Dehonian Associates, was hospitalized with multiple blood clots in his lungs. He returned home from the hospital last week Tuesday. David said that he is deeply moved by the many expressions of care and concern.
Also, we just learned that Fr. Joe Dean, SCJ, is being treated for a few days as an outpatient at St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre, SD, for an outbreak of cellulitis.
Frater Paul renews vows
Congratulations to Frater Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, who renewed his vows on August 12 during Adoration with the Sacred Heart Monastery Community. Paul is 27 and made his first profession last year. He is a seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Fr. Ed Kilianski received the vows.