Weekly news: August 3, 2020

Relationship with SCJs started at baptism

“A Priest of the Sacred Heart – Fr. Joe Ford – baptized me as an infant, and the SCJs served at my home parish for decades,” wrote Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, when asked how he first met the SCJs (Dehonians). “I was interested in them because their common life and interest in the ordinary lives of people reflected God’s own loving kindness in some way. As I got/get to know them better, I discover their concern that people and social structures reflect the Love of Christ to both smooth my rough edges and challenge me to act each day.”

The quote is from one of Br. Duane’s responses to the 20 QUESTIONS project. 20 QUESTIONS is an informal Q&A in which SCJs and those with whom they minister and collaborate share a bit about themselves through a list of 20 questions.

“Who do I most admire?” continued Br. Duane. “My Grandma Lois. She was a woman who valued people and valued treating them right. She wasn’t afraid to take personal risks to help others, and she wasn’t afraid to show affection or spend time with others. Her image is my current image of what the love of the Sacred Heart is about.

“I love the stars. My favorite color is the deep indigo blue of a star-dusted cloudless sky just before it turns black.  One of my favorite moments was sharing this to an assembly of children during Catholic Schools week and hearing them collectively inhale, ‘ooooh,’ and ‘ahhh.’  If I did nothing that day but inspire some of them to look up that night in Wonder and Awe at what God creates it was worth it.”

Click here to read the rest of Br. Duane’s responses.

Click here to access all the responses posted.

Professions past and present

First, a reminder. Due to COVID-19, the First Professions ceremony will only be open to SCJs in the Milwaukee area. However, it will be livestreamed on the US Province Facebook page beginning at 11:00 a.m. central on August 15. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to see the video, which will also be saved on the page for later viewing.

Click here or on the image above to access the US Province Facebook page. The link will be sent to SCJs via email in the days leading up to the ceremony.

If you are planning to attend and have not yet indicated that you are doing so, please contact Mary Gorski by email or phone (414-427-4266).

Also, several SCJs celebrate their anniversaries of profession this week, including Br. Clay Diaz (2007) and Br. Long Nguyen (2007) on August 5, and Fr. Greg Schill (2006) on August 6. On Saturday, August 1, three Indonesian SCJs in North America celebrated their profession anniversaries: Fr. Hendrik Ardianto (2010),
Fr. Albertus Joni (2006) and Fr. Petrus Murwanto (2004). Happy anniversary!!

A reminder, anniversaries of profession and ordination are listed on the North American Google calendar, as well as birthdays. Click here to access it. The calendar is also available by clicking on the Google icon at the bottom of any page on the province website, by clicking on the button at the bottom of the e-blast version of the Fridge Notes, or by going to the Members’ section of the US Province website where dates can be scrolled beginning midway down the page. Click on the listing for any date for more information. For example, click on “Anniversaries of 1st Profession” on August 15 and you will see a listing of each SCJ in North America who professed vows on that date, along with the year in which he did so.

If you notice an error or omission, please contact Mary Gorski

Prayer request

Fr.  Bob Bossie, SCJ, asks for prayers for his brother, Rich Bossie. “He’s been in the hospital for a week with diminished heart and kidney function,” wrote Fr. Bob. “He is now on round the clock dialysis, at least for the short term, with some cardiac procedures pending.”


Fr. Bob Tucker – Fr. Bob showed significant progress through the weekend in his recovery from lung transplant surgery. Starting on Friday, he was breathing with the tracheostomy collar for seven to eight hours a day, building his endurance for independent breathing. If he continues to have good progress he will have a device inserted into the trach that will allow Fr. Bob to begin using his vocal cords again. It is a device that can be removed when it is necessary for him to be on a ventilator.

Fr.  Bob Naglich – Since he is a transplant survivor, Fr.  Bob Naglich is required to take many medications, among those are antirejection meds.  Sometimes while on these medications, infections can develop.  In order to treat the infection, the anti-rejection medications sometimes have to be reduced.  Fr. Bob has been fighting an infection over the past month and as a result of the decrease in anti-rejection medications his liver began to show some early signs of rejection/failure. His liver enzymes were elevated to the point where he needed to be admitted to the hospital last week.  While hospitalized, he received a platelet transfusion and IV medications to help control the infection.  He has responded very well to these treatments and is now out of the hospital and back at San Camillo.

Fr. Frank Wittouck

“When I was in prison, you visited me”

Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ, spent 13 years serving in prison ministry in Texas. Earlier this summer, Fr. Frank moved to Wisconsin and joined the community at Sacred Heart Monastery. As he was preparing for the move, he was interviewed by Joshua Stancil of Dismas Ministry. The mission of Dismis is to serve prisoners in all 50 states with free Catholic scripture, faith and prayer resources. The interview appeared on the organization’s blog.

“For a time I was stationed in Raymondville, Texas, near the border,” said Fr. Frank when asked how he became involved in prison ministry. “There were four prisons in the town. One of the priests working in the parish was dying of cancer but was still active in prison ministry. The diocese had hired someone to be a chaplain to the inmates, but for some reason no one ever really saw the guy. I told the priest struggling with cancer – Fr. Chuck [Kelly]  – ‘You shouldn’t be doing this, you’re sick!’ Then he did something that totally surprised me – he quoted Matthew’s Gospel: ‘When I was in prison, you visited me.’

“This went through me like a thunderbolt… I eventually went to the prison myself and it really moved me…  Respect for the men [Fr. Frank served at facilities for men] is what’s most important. And a sense of humor most definitely helps. I would also stress the word presence. Be a presence to those behind bars. I went consistently, and they knew I’d be there once a month. A volunteer can be a true point of reference for an inmate, a presence they can rely on in an environment where so much is uncertain.”

Click here to read the full interview on the Dismis blog site.

Interested in further reading regarding the Church’s views on criminal justice? Click here to read the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement “Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: a Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.

Progress continues on Women’s Center

After several delays due to weather issues and then COVID-19, construction of the Family Violence Women’s Safe Shelter in Eagle Butte, SD, is back on track. “Great news!” writes Greg Fisher, executive director of the Sacred Heart Center. “The concrete has been poured for our floor and we now can start the above surface building.”

A crew of 20 workers arrived in Eagle Butte last Thursday and started pouring concrete at 6:30 a.m. “By 10:00 a.m. the floor was completely poured!”

“The new facility will have enough space for victims to have their own rooms, including a private bath,” said Greg in an interview about the new facility shortly before ground was broken at the end of last year. “The common areas will be significantly larger. There will be an indoor play area for the children of victims. In addition, all staff will have private offices. Plus, there will be a conference room as well as a small meeting room which can be used for meetings with victims, such as when a victim needs to meet privately with the police department.”

Traditionally, most emergency shelters across the country are not able to house male victims, or a woman who has a teenage son. The new building will have rooms located separate from the main shelter which will allow the center to house these victims.

“Unfortunately, the number of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is not declining in our service area,” said Greg. “A new building is critical as a part of the process to assist victims.”

Click here to read more about the center in an article published in 2019.

Fr. Vien

Recently published

Congratulations to Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, vice rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, who recently had an article and two book reviews published. The article is titled “Matthew and the Torah: An Analysis of Matthew 5:17-20” and was published in the Journal of Biblical Theology 3.3 (July – September 2020).

“Following the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, different religious groups within Judaism, called formative Judaisms, strived to be the legitimate, official group to lead the people of Israel,” writes Fr. Vien in the abstract for the article. “The Matthean community was one of these formative Judaism groups. The one tool different groups used to legitimize and differentiate themselves was the orthodox interpretation and observance of the Torah. Matthew, too, uses the Torah to present his community as an authentic, law-abiding group and to direct attention to the dominant group’s deficiency in their interpretation and observance of the law. Matthew then offers a new hermeneutical principle of interpreting the Torah that is based on love, mercy, and justice, as taught by Jesus.”

The book reviews were of  Being Subordinate Men: Paul’s Rhetoric of Gender and Power in 1 Corinthians, by Brian J. Robinson (the review was published in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 82.3, July, 2020, and Jesus the Samaritan: Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John, by Stewart Penwell (published in  the Review of Biblical Literature 06/2020).

Hello from Colombia!

Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, shares the following from Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ. Fr. Juancho has been in his native Colombia since the end of last year when he ran into immigration challenges. He is scheduled to begin ministry in Ecuador, but as with many, the pandemic has delayed travels. Fr. Juancho writes:

“Here things are going OK, though we are increasing in COVID cases so still lot of places are closed. My mom had to be at the hospital for five days due to a fever; she is fine now and we all continue to be careful.

“I keep praying the rosary every night and sharing that on Facebook with many people from the parish and others. This helps me to continue doing some ministry, and helps me spiritually and mentally.

“The borders remain closed, and airports are closed. The hope is that they can open in September but due to the increase of cases we are not really sure about it. If the airports open there is a possibility that I might be able to go to Ecuador then.”