Frater Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas professes final vows
On February 3, Frater Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ, made his perpetual commitment to be a Dehonian, a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
His path to final vows was a long one that began in Colombia, where he was born and raised. There, he was invited to discern his call to priesthood in the United States. Frater Juancho often jokes that “I didn’t think that my call would be such a long distance call!”
He entered the ESL program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in 2006. Seven years later, he professed his first vows as a Dehonian.
Comparing his first profession to the decision to make his perpetual vows, Frater Juancho said that he feels much more confident in taking the next step in his vocation. At a time when long-term commitments are challenging for many, we asked him to reflect on his decision.
“I think it was more difficult to make the decision to take my first vows than it is making my perpetual profession,” said Frater Juancho. “Even though I was sure that I wanted to become an SCJ, a Dehonian, by professing my first vows, I was a bit unsure about it because of the question in my mind of where God really wanted me to be. That became a bigger question after I saw some of my classmates leave the congregation for different reasons. So, I also had to ask myself if this was the place God wanted me to be.
“But today I have no doubts about taking perpetual vows. All my experiences with the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart have told my heart that this is the place that I belong; this is where God has truly led me!”
Internationality is the future of US Province
“Our Future: Together in Community and Ministry” was the theme of the 2018 US Provincial Conference held January 30 – February 1 at the Provincial Conference Center in Hales Corners, WI.
Every SCJ working in or preparing for full-time ministry in the US Province, as well as the novices, were invited. Called for only three months earlier, the conference had a 100% attendance rate. In the midst of busy ministry and school schedules, each SCJ in full-time ministry was present.
“This is a critical time for our province,” said Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, in his opening comments. During his two-plus years as provincial superior he has seen tremendous change in the US Province, and he anticipates much more.
As each man stood up and introduced himself, one of the most significant changes was quickly evident: the province’s growing internationality. Those in active ministry, especially younger SCJs, are increasingly from entities outside of the United States. Joining native-born Americans at the tables were men from Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, Cameroon, Argentina, Colombia, and Canada.
“We are heading toward the reality of becoming an international province,” added Fr. Zbigniew “Ziggy” Morawiec, SCJ. “I am one of those who came from outside. The province is based in the wisdom and experience of our American brothers; you are the engine of this province. But slowly we must incorporate the energy of new entities, new cultures. This is good. The US Province is something important to our congregation.”
During midday prayer on Wednesday of the Provincial Conference, Fraters Long Nguyen and Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas received the Ministry of Lector. They are pictured here before the ceremony making an image of the [Sacred] Heart. Click here to view a few more photos from the prayer service.
International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. She was declared a saint in 2000.
This year’s theme for the day is “Migration Without Trafficking.” Click here to go to the RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) website to learn more about the issue and what you can do to help. Click here to go to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website for further resources.
Native Hope wins award
Native Hope, an independent nonprofit organization initiated through a partnership with St. Joseph’s Indian School, recently received the South Dakota Hall of Fame Acts of Excellence Award. A celebration and recognition event was held January 18 at the South Dakota State Capitol.
Based in Chamberlain (home of St. Joseph’s Indian School), Native Hope’s mission is to “empower young Native Americans by funding programs that provide education, protect at-risk youth, and honor cultural heritage,” states its website. “A full 100% of public donations we receive goes directly to vital programs that prevent sex trafficking, support victims of abuse, and provide education, counseling, and housing for Native American youth.”
Click here to visit Native Hope’s website.
Those celebrating birthdays in February include Dn. David Nagel (67) on Feb. 6, Fr. Paul Kelly (68) on Feb. 9, Fr. Duy Nguyen (40) on Feb. 17, Fr. Quang Nguyen (53) and Novice Henry Nguyen (29) on Feb. 18, Fr. Greg Murray (61) on Feb. 19, Fr. Mark Mastin (61) on Feb. 21 and Fr. Peter Sanders (78) on Feb. 28. Happy birthday!
Fr. Kilianski begins the week with a visitation of the Sacred Heart Monastery Community; most of its members are “in exile” at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake during the renovation of SHM/SHSST. The visitation goes until February 7. February 11-17, Fr. Ed has a visitation with the Dehon Formation Community, and February 26-28 he has a visitation with the novitiate community.
Fr. Quang Nguyen, province vocation director, is pictured here with five young men who were in Hales Corners for a “Come and See” weekend beginning on Friday. During their visit they took part in the First Friday reflection at the novitiate community (Fr. Thi Pham was the presenter), attended the final vows ceremony for Frater Juancho, and spent time visiting and learning about other communities and ministries in the Milwaukee area.
Come and See is a way for young men discerning a vocation to religious life to literally “come and see” more about the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Do you know of someone who might be discerning a vocation to religious life? Invite him to “come and see.” Contact the vocation office to learn more at 800-609-5559 or firstname.lastname@example.org.