Weekly News: February 13, 2012

Fr. Ed Kilianski, pastor at OLG Houston, joined parishioners in getting their church ready for its 100th anniversary. Other SCJs who have pitched in include Frs. Ziggy Morawiec and Vien Nguyen.

Celebrating 100 years at OLG a month at a time

Fr. Ed Kilianski, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston, writes the following about OLG’s 100th anniversary year:

“A lot is happening at Our Lady of Guadalupe these days in preparation for our 100th anniversary.  Our pews were taken in January to be restored to their original beauty and so we are now painting the inside of the church.  Fr. Ziggy Morawiec, Fr. Vien Nguyen and I have been helping with the painting.

OLG's "stylin'" altar servers. Fr. Ed says that their spiked hair has brought a lot of smiles to parishioners faces.

“Our major celebration of the anniversary will be held on August 18, 100 years to the day that the first Mass was celebrated in the old church by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

“Each month this year we have a major celebration of our centennial.  This month, it will be a Mardi Gras dinner and dance on February 18.  Almost 300 tickets have already been sold.

“Also, next Saturday OLG School is participating in Steps 4 Students (a 5K run/walk) to help raise funds for our school.  Frs. Vien and Joseph Dinh will be running, and Fr. Ziggy and I will be walking in the race.  As always, donations are most welcome if any of you would like to sponsor us. [Click here if you would like to contact Fr. Ed about donating]

“Finally, though it probably wasn’t done in celebration of the anniversary, two of our newest altar servers have brought quite a few smiles to the faces of our parishioners and priests with their unique hairstyle. I’ll attach a photo.”

An update

As we’ve mentioned in recent Fridge Notes, Fr. Tom Fix, an American SCJ of the Indonesian Province, is being treated in Jakarta for cancer.

Fr. Mark Fortner, who served in Indonesia for 30 years, including 16 in Jakarta, has been in touch with Fr. Tom’s family, updating them on his treatment and health. On Saturday, Fr. Mark spoke by phone with Fr. Tom.

“He confirmed for me the diagnosis, multiple myeloma, and told me that he had completed one month of chemotherapy,” said Fr. Mark.  “He said that he has a tumor in his pelvic area which has affected the sciatic nerve, causing numbness in his right leg.  Besides chemotherapy, he is now receiving physical therapy for his right leg and overall stamina. Although acknowledging that he felt very weak, he remains hopeful. Every day, many parishioners, especially from St. Stephen’s Parish, take their turn to visit him in the hospital.”

On February 20 Fr. Mark is going to accompany one of Fr. Tom’s brothers, George Fix, to Indonesia for a visit. Last week, Fr. Wayne Jenkins, province archivist, visited with Fr. Tom for several days. Fr. Wayne, who did his theological studies in Indonesia, was in Asia for previously planned administrative work in both Indonesia and the Philippines.

SHSM offers workshops on credit and home buying

In March, Sacred Heart Southern Missions Housing Corporation will begin a series of workshops on the use of credit, especially in regards to mortgages. The series runs through August.

“The classes have become very popular in the past four to five years because the majority of the lenders have made this workshop a requirement before closing on a home loan,” said Cynthia Loyd-Johnson of SHSM-HC. Class participants are often those who are considering home ownership –– and the mortgage that goes with it –– for the first time. Many are just beginning to build their credit history; some come from families that have never had the means to take out a home loan.

“The numbers vary in attendance,” said Cynthia.  “I have conducted workshops with 40 people and I have also held the workshop for two people.”

Between 2009 and 2010 approximately 30 people took the workshop and went on to purchase their first home.

“SHSM-HC is a HUD-approved counseling agency and we are expected to offer workshops to the public,” said Cynthia.  “The need for the class is great.  People understand the process of purchasing a home a lot better once they have completed the class.

“The classes were developed by housing institutes such as NeighborWorks and HUD.  The housing staff learns the basics of conducting a workshop by attending training institutes sponsored by these organizations.  Currently, our new housing counselor, Joyce Moore, conducts the home-buyer education workshop and I conduct the ACE [Adults Continuing Education] workshops for the Dehon Village residents.  The ACE workshops are a requirement of the lease for our Dehon Village residents.  We hope that the ACE classes will assist them with their budgeting and credit needs.”

As Cynthia noted, the workshops are for the general public. Last year, that general public included fellow employees at SHSM. With the challenging economy “I had employees inquiring about housing, foreclosure prevention and credit,” she said.

Employees, just as SHSM clients, face a variety of challenges in today’s economy. “We are in the business of serving,” said Cynthia. “Including our employees.”

Sacred Heart Southern Missions, based in northern Mississippi, is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Fr. Jack Kurps is the executive director.

Bishop Evert Baaij's funeral and burial were February 9 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The bishop lived in South Africa for the past 55 years but remained a member of the US Province.

Over 400 attend funeral

Bishop Joseph Potocnak was the main celebrant and homilist at the Funeral Mass for Bishop Evert Baaij. The liturgy was held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, February 9. Bishop Evert, a member of the U.S. Province, lived and ministered in South Africa for 55 years, the last 25 in Port Elizabeth.

Several people from South Africa collaborated on a write-up of the Funeral Mass. Click here to read it. Bishop Joe, still a strong supporter of “snail mail,” called to say that his homily is on its way to us via Air Mail. We will post a link to it as soon as it is available.

Immigration focus of latest CMSM J/P Alert

Each month the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM; the organizational body of the leadership of men’s religious communities in the United States) publishes its J/P Alert. This month’s begins with an address by Bishop John C Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City and chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration and Refugee Services. He spoke at the January 11 Salt Lake City Immigration Conference.

“It seems as if time is up as well in terms of waiting for comprehensive immigration reform, at least if you believe some people in Washington,” said Bishop Wester. “But it is the American public, including the Catholics, who will decide the final outcome. So many people—so many of you—have worked so hard these past years to achieve what seems like an elusive goal. Yet, we must never give up hope, and I fully believe that one day we will be successful. In the meantime, we must always keep focused as we advocate for immigration reform in this complex and constantly changing landscape in our country today.

“This is an important time in the immigration debate in this nation. While Congress has failed to address this issue, our state legislatures and local governments are not hesitating to attempt to fill the vacuum.  Instead of one consistent national policy, we are now confronted with hundreds of State and local immigration policies, the majority of which are harmful to immigrant families and communities.”

The complete address can be found on the Justice for Immigrants web site.

Click here to read the February CMSM J/P Alert.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Depending on whom your talk to, Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a celebration of love, a time of flowers and chocolate, an excuse to wear red, or simply a way for the greeting card industry to bump up sales.

Although there are many stories regarding the day’s namesake, there are actually several “St. Valentines.” There was a “Valentine of Rome” who lived around 260 a.d.  “Valentine of Terni” was named a bishop in 197 a.d.  And another St. Valentine was martyred in Africa.

With a bit of ambiguity about the saint, the saint’s day was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969.

Chaucer is said to have assigned the first association of romance to Valentine’s Day. In his poem “Parlement of Foules” he wrote: “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”  The poem was written to honor the engagement of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia.

So happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow, regardless if you are celebrating love, or simply looking for an excuse to enjoy a chocolate.

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Tom Cassidy starts the week with the formation community in Chicago. After that, much of his time is in the Milwaukee area until he goes to the Philippines March 8. He is going there to take part in celebrations tied to the district becoming a region.

Upcoming meetings and events:

March 5-6: Local Coordinators/Superiors Meeting (Hales Corners)
March 27-28: Provincial Council Meeting
April 15: Easter Concert at Sacred Heart Monastery/School of Theology
May 15: Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, SHM/SHST
May 30-31: Provincial Council Meeting (budgets)
June 15: Feast of the Sacred Heart
June 28: Provincial Council Meeting (conference call re: formation)
July 9-12: Province Assembly, Hales Corners
July 16-21: General Conference, Neustadt, Germany
July 23-25: SCJ Major Superiors Meeting, Neustadt, Germany

Looking ahead to 2013, the next Mission Education Conference will be held at St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota April 8-9, 2013, and the province election assembly will be the week of June 3, 2013.