Weekly News: August 5, 2019

Vow renewal in Houston

Henry, with friends and family

Over the weekend Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, renewed his vows at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston. He is in Texas this summer doing a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program in San Antonio. Fra. Henry writes:

“Fr. Juan Carlos [Castañeda Rojas] received my vows. In Fr. Juan Carlos’ homily, he spoke of treasuring the Word of God and I hope to continue to do that as a Dehonian. As ‘Henry of the Heart of Jesus,’ I strive to bring God’s love to those whom I encounter. This past weekend, I was blessed to be surrounded by family, friends, confreres, and representatives of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement in which I take part as their Sub-Committee Lead of Vocation for the National Executive Committee.

“I will soon be returning to Sacred Heart Monastery to begin my third year of Theology at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, but first, I will continue to see patients as part of my CPE program at CHRISTUS Health System in San Antonio, TX.”

Fra. Henry’s fellow CPE students couldn’t be with him in Houston, so they sent a photo of themselves to remind Fra. Henry that he was in their prayers.

Fr. Raúl Gomez Ruiz, newly appointed SHSST president-rector

Let us be instruments of peace and salvation

In the wake of a weekend of tragic shootings, Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, SHSST president-rector, wrote the following to the seminary’s community, including Dehonians:

“I write this note to you with a heavy heart as I ponder how it is possible that in only half a year our country has seen 22 widely reported mass shootings. The latest two taking place this past weekend within 24 hours of each other in very different sites but apparently motivated by hate. There have been too many others as well worldwide. The use of violence as a way to express fear, bias and prejudice is nothing new. However, this age of access to the rapid dissemination of images and text via mass media outlets seems to be creating a social environment that permits the unbridled expression of hate, disrespect, racism, and fear of those different from one, especially if they are racially, ethnically or religiously different. This is being fostered by language of intolerance and meanness that is allowing violence as a first response to those who are different.

“Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology is an inclusive community. We stand against all racism, ethnic bias, religious intolerance, hate, and fear that lead to disrespect of others especially through violence and murder of the innocent. Our present situation says to me that our mission and vision at Sacred Heart are needed more than ever: our world needs the life and light of Jesus Christ. We need to be conformed to the heart of Christ. That begins with each one of us, including me.

“Every one of us carries biases and prejudices that often are hidden and on which we do not reflect sufficiently. In an environment of unbridled hate we too can fall into the trap of thinking that expressing hate or fostering fear of others is normal, and perhaps should be our first response. But the values which we espouse are those of faith, hope and love and these are to be our first response instead. Therefore I ask you to join me in prayer for the victims in El Paso, one of our sponsoring dioceses, and in Dayton as well as elsewhere. Let us pray for hearts conformed to the heart of Christ. Let us pray for the conversion of terrorists and those with terroristic tendencies. Let us pray for understanding hearts that lead us to treat others as we wish to be treated. Let us pray to Mary, the Queen of Peace, the Mother of the Prince of Peace, to ask for the grace from our Lord Jesus Christ, that we will be his instruments of peace and salvation for the world around us that is in so much need.”

Ministering to the prisoner

Fra. Paul

Dismas Ministry recently profiled one of our Dehonian seminarians on its blog. The organization provides Catholic literature and spiritual resources for prisoners and chaplains.

Frater Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, a student at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, has been a Dismas Ministry volunteer for the past year. He comes in weekly to package bibles, prayer books, and other materials for chaplains and prisoners.  As part of his ministry, Fra. Paul has had the opportunity to read letters from prisoners.  In doing so, he said that he can feel the people behind the letters and hear their desperation.

Inspired by his volunteer experience, Fra. Paul chose to minister directly to the incarcerated during the second semester of the school year.  He visited the juvenile jail once a month and was able to see how prisoners used the Dismas materials.

Click here to read the full blog post on the Dismas Ministry website.


Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, has been released from the hospital to Gulf Shore Care Center, 6767 86th Ave. North, just across the canal from the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL. He continues to recover from heart surgery. Please keep him in prayer.

RSVP reminders

Entrance to Novitiate – The Entrance to Novitiate ceremony will take place on August 14 at 4:30 pm at the Sacred Heart Novitiate. All SCJs and candidates are invited to attend. HOWEVER, please let the novitiate community know if you are coming so that they can plan for food needs.

RSVP to: Bugmandau2002@yahoo.com or message Amy Hittman on Facebook by August 8 (Thursday).

First Professions – Hubert Kodjovi Liassidji and John Huan Nguyen will make their First Profession of Vows on Thursday, August 15, at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology / Sacred Heart Monastery. Mass is at 4:30 p.m. and a reception and dinner will follow. Again, all SCJs and students are welcome.

TODAY is the deadline to RSVP to provadm@usprovince.org or 414-425-6910.

The rubble of what was once Divine Heart Seminary

Whatever happened to…

For many SCJs, Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, IN, was their first introduction to the Priests of the Sacred Heart and Dehonian spirituality. It was a minor seminary for the province from 1935 – 1979.

“So much good and so many good people came out of Divine Heart,” said John Chandler, the current owner of the property. His great grandmother gave the province the 334-acre property in exchange for a $25,000 annuity, which returned to the congregation upon her death and provided funds for the seminary. She was a convert to Catholicism, having received her First Communion in the farm house near Donaldson (the family’s summer home) and came to know the SCJs through a German chaplain at the nearby Ancilla Domini convent.

As did most minor seminaries in the United States, DHS saw its enrollment drop in the 1970s. Many boarding schools closed their doors, including Divine Heart. The last class graduated in 1979. In the years since, the former seminary has seen a variety of owners. Maintenance of the property deteriorated; criminal activity found its way behind locked doors and boarded windows. For over 10 years the property was in foreclosure with a bank in Maryland. Without regular on-site monitoring, scrappers illegally removed pipes, doors, windows and other useable items.

Two years ago, John Chandler negotiated the purchase of the site. By then, all that was left was the original building in disrepair, “a huge scrap heap of what was Emont Hall, the dining wing and the old gym,” he said. Nothing was salvageable. “It was a painful decision, but I decided to raze all of the buildings.”

The Stations of the Cross from the Chapel were salvaged, restored and installed in the St. Ignatius College Prep chapel in Chicago. John is vice president of the school. John also notes that he salvaged the pieces of the original cornerstone, which had been found broken open, and the stone inscription that says “Cor Divinum” from the original entry.

John is now remediating the land and hopes to create a memorial on the property.

Fr. Tony Russo and Fr. Jack Kurps were among those who took part in the “Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees” gathering on July 11.

More volunteers needed

On July 11, the Priests of the Sacred Heart hosted a gathering of over 75 people to discuss immigration. In particular, how they could help to create a response to immigration issues in light of Catholic social teaching. The working name for the group is the “Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees.”

One of the projects developed at the meeting was a “Rapid Response Network.” This is a group of volunteers who would be available to send an email to legislators to lobby in regards to an issue identified by the coalition. It is hoped that the coalition can create a network of volunteers representing a wide-ranging list of districts.

Mark Peters, US Province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, says that more volunteers are needed. “It only requires sending a couple emails a month to your federal legislators,” he said.  “We provide the links you need and the script – it couldn’t be easier!  If you are in another state, you can still get the email alerts and simply send them to your own U.S. Senators and Representatives.”

Anyone – including Dehonians, staff and volunteers – are welcome to join the Rapid Response Team. To do so, click here to email Mark.

Il Nostro Frutto available

The annual magazine of the SCJs’ International College in Rome, Il Nostro Frutto, is available for download. In it are highlights from the past academic year in Rome, including features by students and curia staff. Among them is an article by Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general, on the Educare Committee. It begins on page 14.

“Our work as an international committee of Dehonian educators serves to strengthen our dedication not only toward quality education, but also to transmit to students our sense of being united in service to the others,” wrote Fr. Steve.

The publication is in Italian, including Fr. Steve’s text. Click here or on the image above to access it.


In the birthday listings last week we noted that August 12 is the anniversary of Fr. Leo John Dehon’s birth. March 14, 1843, was the day upon which the founder was born. On August 12, 1925, Fr. Dehon was born to eternal life. Our apologies for the error!

Fr. Johnny Klingler (center)

Here’s Johnny!

On Friday afternoon, the Sacred Heart Monastery community held an open house for SCJs and students in the Milwaukee area. Among the guests: Fr. Johnny Klingler, SCJ. Fr. Johnny had an endless supply of stories to share from his wide-ranging years of ministries. He served two terms as provincial superior of the US Province, was a member of the General Council in Rome, ministered on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota and in inner-city parishes, has tutored adult students to help them get their GEDs, and throughout his 55 years of religious life has been a tireless advocate for social justice issues. Last year, the province named an annual social justice award after him.

Fr. Johnny is 83, and is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.

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