Before Lent begins…
“Traditionally, in the Congregation of the Priests of the Heart of Jesus, the day before Ash Wednesday held a particular spiritual significance,” writes David Schimmel, province director of Dehonian Associates, in last week’s Dehonian Spirituality. “Most people identify this day as Mardi Gras, but in the liturgical calendar proper to the Congregation, this is the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ Praying in the Garden.
“Its most characteristic feature is a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, which ordinarily happened only on Thursdays. Gradually, this practice fell out of use because the Holy Hour was seen primarily as an antidote to the lack of moral restraint, actual and presumed, of Mardi Gras revelers. Specifically, on this day, the religious community was to make reparation for ‘immodesty and shameful excesses in life and dress; the many snares of corruption laid for the souls of the innocent; and the neglect of the very Sacrament of God’s love, as well as its profanation by horrifying sacrilege.’ Somehow, the language and judgment seemed overwrought, and too easily slipped into a sense of superiority.
“All of this, however, missed the point of the feast day. For Fr. Dehon, the mysteries of Jesus’ agony, particularly in the garden of Gethsemane, are ‘the inheritance of the friends of the Sacred Heart’ and Jesus’ ‘interior passion is most certainly dear’ to them. Friends cannot undo his passion, neither then nor now. But they can do what the apostles failed to do: ‘stay awake with me one hour’ [Matthew 26:40]. Being present to another’s agony is one of the most exhausting things that someone can do for friend, and possibly why the apostles fell asleep.”
Click here to read the rest of the text, along with an excerpt from Fr. Dehon’s own writings, in the February 9 issue of Dehonian Spirituality.
And, of course, have a blessed Lent.
“We believe unity to be possible”
In his latest post on the province blog, Fr. Tom Cassidy reflected on the challenge of welcoming India’s vast diversity of language and culture into a common Dehonian community.
“With the different languages, cultures and castes of each state you have a true melting pot in our Dehonian Indian District,” he wrote, “but one that needs constant tending so as to build a sense of common identity.
“This is well stated in our new congregational Mission Statement, which concludes with the line: ‘We live in a community, are inspired by daily Eucharistic adoration and in a fragmented world we believe unity to be possible.’
“Under any circumstances that is not an easy task given the diversity and character of human nature, but it is possible if attention, nurturing and care is given to create a common vision. If Indian SCJs (Dehonians) are able to do that then we’ll be living our motto, ‘Sint Unum’ (That they may be one), instead of just saying the words.
“Are we there yet? Not by a long shot. But we’ve only been traveling the road for a few short years. So long as the goal remains clear in our hearts and minds, the ‘we believe unity to be possible’ has a real chance to become our reality.”
Click here to read the full post on the province blog
Since most of the local superiors were recently together with the council at the 2018 Provincial Conference, the council has cancelled their March 5-6 meeting with the them.
There will still be a Provincial Council meeting March 6-7 as previously scheduled.
Registration deadline approaching
The deadline to register for the next North American Dehonian Retreat, “Open Hearts,” is this Thursday, February 15.
The retreat will take place May 6-12 at the Siena Center in Racine. All SCJs who did not participate in the August, 2017, retreat in Mississauga, are encouraged to be a part of the May retreat.
Please note that a special retreat, just for those in formation AND their directors, will take place August 5-12 at the Siena Center.
Empty bowls, full hearts
Art students from St. Joseph’s Indian School recently partnered with religious education students from Chamberlain’s St. James parish in a service project. The Empty Bowls fundraiser, held at St. James Catholic Church, benefitted the local food pantry and raised over $1,500 to fight hunger in the community.
Clare Willrodt, Director of Mission Integration at St. Joseph’s Indian School, helped organize the event with other St. Joseph’s staffers as part of Catholic Schools Week activities.
“Food insecurity is an issue in South Dakota and in our immediate area, this seemed like a great way to raise awareness and help a worthy cause,” she said.
South Dakota is ranked 13th in the nation for hunger and food insecurity. Studies show that 11.5% of the state’s population experiences difficulty providing enough food at some point during the year. In Lyman County, the rate is 14.2%; Brule, 11.8%; and Buffalo, 22%.
Students and local artists began creating bowls for the fundraiser back in fall.
“The kids did an excellent job serving and helping out,” said Julie Soulek, a religious education teacher at St. Joseph’s, as well as a Residential Director for grades 1-6. “It was an especially great opportunity for St. Joseph’s students and Chamberlain students to get to know one another and join in this act of service for their communities.”
Empty Bowls began as a grassroots movement that has now grown to international proportions. Communities put Empty Bowls events together according to their unique needs and resources. Some are very simple, while others are black-tie events.
+Fr. Augusto João, a member of the Mozambique Province, died on February 12. He was born in 1964, professed in 1994 and ordained in 2002.
Fr. Ed Kilianski is with the Dehon Formation Community in Chicago this week, doing a visitation. He is in the office next week, and then has the Novitiate visitation February 26 – March 1. As noted earlier, the next council meeting is March 6-7.
Recently students of Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Houston held a “living rosary” on parish grounds. Each balloon in the rosary included a prayer intention from a student.