Proclaiming the Gospel through interfaith dialogue
“As a Catholic, Dehonian priest, I live my involvement in interfaith activities as part of the proclamation of the Gospel, where the Gospel must be preached to all people regardless of their religious background,” said Fr. Stepanus Sigit Pranoto, SCJ. “For me, studying other religions and cooperating with other religious communities is part of the effort to build a peaceful society and understand each other in the midst of religious plurality.”
“This is a way for me to realize the hope of Fr. Dehon who wants the Dehonian to be a ‘Prophet of Love and Servant of Reconciliation’ in the community.”
A member of the Indonesian Province, Fr. Sigit returns to Indonesia today after five months in the ECS program (English and Cultural Studies) at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. The studies were, in part, for his doctoral work on Islamic Studies.
“Born and raised in a society that has different religious backgrounds, I am interested in interfaith activities and learning about other religions,” said Fr. Sigit.
For the past 10 years Fr. Sigit has been active in interfaith activities. “Together with other religious communities, I often join and host interfaith dialogues so participants can better understand each other.”
In 2015, he completed a master’s degree in Comparative Theology. The topic of his thesis: “Revelation from the perspective of Catholic and Islamic teachings.” Two years later he began his doctoral studies in the field of Islamic Studies at Sunan Kalijaga Islamic State University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Fr. Sigit emphasized that he is not unique as a Catholic priest studying Islam. “There are already many priests who are experts in the Islamic faith.” Several diocesan priests are in the same university program as Fr. Sigit.
Sacred Heart Center construction updates
Slowly but surely, construction continues on the new Sacred Heart Center Family Violence Women’s Safe Shelter in Eagle Butte, SD. The center is sponsored by the Priests of the Sacred Heart through St. Joseph’s Indian School. Greg Fisher, SHC executive director, said that winter conditions slowed work earlier this month. “The construction manager called off work for a while due to temperatures falling to single digits without the wind factored in, and with it, temps were falling to 30 below zero.” Above is a photo of the foundation; insulation has been added to most walls.
Mary Psaris, the sister of Fr. Mark Fortner, SCJ, died this morning, February 3. Her husband’s name is Nick Psaris, and they have five children. Funeral arrangements are pending but anticipated to be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 4967 Forest Park Ave, St. Louis, MO, on Monday, February 10. Please keep the family in your prayers. Fr. Mark is a member of the Sacred Heart community at SHML.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, had surgery last week Wednesday to remove his foot and part of his shin to treat a bone infection. Doctors report that the surgery went well. Fr. Ed will have a cast on the affected leg for approximately two weeks. He began physical therapy the day after surgery. Managing pain from the procedure is one of the more significant challenges; however, he was told that this is normal for the type of surgery that he had. Please continue to keep Fr. Ed in prayer.
On the calendar
Among the events happening this week is the Entrance to Postluancy Ceremony. It will take place during the First Friday program with the formation community at Sacred Heart Monastery. Those to be received into postulancy: Kenneth Anyanwu and Celsus Robert. This month’s First Friday will be led by members of the North American Migration Committee. The committee has meetings in Hales Corners on Thursday and Friday.
Congratulations Fr. Vien!
Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, associate professor at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (as well as a member of the Provincial Council) recently had a book review published in the Review of Biblical Literature. RBL is published by the Society of Biblical Literature, the world’s largest and most influential academic society for biblical studies. Click here to access a PDF of the review. The bibliographic information is: Review of Mark Bredin, Jesus, Revolutionary of the Poor: Matthew’s Subversive Messiah (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2017), in Review of Biblical Literature 1/2020.
Dehon Study Center offerings
Last week, SCJs in the US and Canada received by email two resources from the Dehon Study Center: 1) “A Guided Reading of the Social Works of Fr. Leo John Dehon, SCJ,” by David Schimmel, which breaks down the reading of Fr. Dehon’s Social Works into 27 units of study based on topic or focus, and 2) “Leo John Dehon, SCJ, Directives for Social Justice.” David Schimmel, director of the Dehon Study Center, writes that he recently learned that the second resource “was complied by Br. Lenny Zaworski, SCJ, in 2001, while he was ministering in India. He sent a copy to P.J. McGuire, SCJ, who at the time was the director of the Dehon Study Center. While I was organizing the materials in the Dehon Study Center I came across this document, which unfortunately lacked attribution. The 12-page document represents a significant amount of reading, selecting, and organizing. My thanks to Lenny for compiling this material and my apologies for not acknowledging his work.”
Other resources available under the Dehonian Spirituality heading include the archives of the Dehonian Spirtituality newsletter (listed by date and identified by topic), Dehonian Espirit de Coeur mailings, the Schools in Collaboration Dehon poster, and the Dehonian Associates’ Prayer Book and Rule of Life. The “Spiritual Path” study sessions for Dehonian Associates is also available from the Dehonian Spirituality drop-down menu.
Seeking justice, equality, liberty and fraternity
Students at Christu Dehon Nivas, the theology program in Eluru, India, are divided into three liturgical groups: “Vision,” “Passion” and “Compassion.” Each is responsible for developing a liturgical theme for the week, especially for evening Adoration. Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, writes in his journal that in keeping with the theme of India’s Republic Day on January 26, “Fr. Michael Augustine, SCJ, rector, asked that we follow up on the words of the preamble to India’s constitution.
“It fell to the Passion group to come up with an altar panel decoration highlighting the four foundational principles of Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. Just as in my own country, these ideals are not fully realized and probably never can be. The task here and all around the world is to continually work toward that unrealizable perfection. I like the comparison one of my former provincial superiors, Fr. Michael Burke, SCJ, used to describe the difference between an American’s perception of law to that of an Italian. For Americans, Fr. Burke said, the law is like the floor. It is the foundation of everything. For Italians the law is the ceiling, we must always aim at it, but know we can never fully reach it.
“In many ways, nations are like a pilgrim people, hopefully always getting closer to true Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.”
Celebrating Catholic Schools Week
Last week was Catholic Schools Week in the United States. Both of our Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ schools –– Holy Family in Holly Springs and Sacred Heart in Southaven –– had special activities for the week. Holy Family began with a service project. BETA Club members painted the house of an elderly member of the community; the students are pictured below in front of the house. At Sacred Heart, the theme for the week was “Celebrating Vocations.” Students heard the vocation stories of several religious brothers and sisters, as well as clergy. Church pastors and youth ministers joined the students for lunch. Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, and Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, are pictured below with students at Sacred Heart.
Students at St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota also did service projects for Catholic Schools Week. Pictured above are fourth, fifth and six-grade students bringing items to the local food pantry.