Happy New Year!
Today, February 8, is Lunar New Year, or in the Vietnamese culture “Tet Nguyen Dan,” or “Tet.” It is one of the most significant cultural celebrations in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese community at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, WI, celebrated Lunar New Year during yesterday’s liturgy (February 7). Fr. Joseph-Thien Dinh is associcate pastor of St. Martin of Tours (and pastor of the Vietnamese community); Fr. Yvon Sheehy is pastor. Fr. Yvon is pictured below receiving a New Year’s gift from the Vietnamese community.
Fr. Richard Johnston
27003 Rustic Star
San Antonio TX 78260-2523
Keep in prayer
Fr. Ray Vega is entering hospice care, which will be done at the Sacred Heart Community house in Pinellas Park, FL. He has congestive heart failure. Fr. Ray’s lungs are clear, his blood pressure is good; however, he is becoming increasingly weak and there is fluid build-up. Fr. Ray is able to eat, but only in small quantities, so has been losing weight. Family has come to be with him.
+Br. André Mollet, a member of the Franco-European Province, died February 2. He was born in 1927 and professed in 1951.
+Joan Yost, the wife of former province accountant Roger Yost, died January 28. She was 81.
+Jack Vincent, a friend of many SCJs who worked with the Christian Family Movement, died in Pittsfield, PA, on February 3. He was 80. Fr. Richard MacDonald will be the celebrant at Mr. Vincent’s Funeral Mass this week.
Former general councilor reflects on vocation, the congregation
Fr. Albert Lingwengwe (pictured above during the 2015 General Chapter) was novice master for the Congolese Province when he learned that he was being considered for general administration in Rome. “Never for a moment did I think that I would work in Rome, moreover, as a member of the General Council,” Much to his surprise, he was elected to the council in 2009; he completed his term last summer.
Now on a study sabbatical in the ESL program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Fr. Albert sat down to reflect on his vocation, service in administration, and the SCJs’ impact on Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I knew the history of the congregation [before being elected to the General Council], but not really the life of the congregation,” said Fr. Albert. “I didn’t know the experience of our confreres in different areas of the world until I was with them in person and got to know their situations. Eventually, I came to realize that the whole congregation experiences nearly the same challenges. It is only the emphasis and cultural accent that differs in each entity. All face the same concerns of religious life, SCJ identity, formation, finances and pastoral activities.”
Fr. Albert said that in Congo, Dehonian spirituality has been lived deeply by example, especially by SCJs who have remained with the people of Congo through many years of conflict, some even losing their lives as martyrs during the 1964 Simba Revolution.
“We SCJs have always offered our faith, our spirituality and our works to the many people living on the periphery,” said Fr. Albert. “And now, it is up to us who have been handed a spiritual inheritance from those who came before us to take responsibility for our future as a congregation in Congo, and in Africa as a whole.”
Click here to read the full story on the province website.
Canadian communities respond to refugees’ needs
Fr. Peter McKenna shares the following from the Canadian Region: “Four weeks ago, Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Ottawa, with pastor Fr. Greg Murray, welcomed the Al Fazaa family from Syria. The family consists of the parents and three children, two of whom are high school students. Now that they are finally here in Canada, the greatest challenge for all of them will be to learn English.
“Our Montréal community is working together with the parish unit of Visitation, Antoine Marie Claret and Martyrs Canadiens, staffed with Fr. Engelbert Fotsing as the associate pastor, to welcome a Syrian refugee family. No word has been received whether or not the family has passed all the required immigration documentation. It is a waiting game for everyone involved at this time, both the refugees and the sponsors. The community has received financial assistance from the Region of Canada to make it possible.
“To celebrate the March 14 birthday of Fr. Dehon, the Toronto local community, in conjunction with St. Thomas More Church, staffed by Fr. Will Rapozo and Fr. Aegi Warsito, will sponsor a workshop on welcoming and accompanying Syrian refugees within the context of the Islam and Christian faiths.
“Each of the local communities in Canada will continue to have further community meetings to explore how each confrere can concretely be part of these parish responses.”
Now available online
The latest edition of the Centro Studi Dehoniani (Dehon Study Center) newsletter is now available. Features this month include a compilation of Fr. Dehon’s correspondence (the photo at the top of the publication is of Dr. Ilaria Macconi Heckner, the church historian undertaking the project), CSD-sponsored workshops on hermeneutics, documents from the Holy Office’s archives that may shed light on conflicts between the founder and the Office; work of the Latin American Theological Commission; the availability of Fr. Dehon’s “Notes sur l’Histoire de ma Vie” in Portuguese; and the impact of WWI on the congregation.
Click here to read the newsletter (in English and Italian). A subscription option is available at the link.
New local leadership
At its meeting last week the Provincial Council approved new leadership in two communities.
In Houston, Fr. Duy Nguyen was named local superior and Br. Andy Gancarczyk as local treasurer. In Pinellas Park, Fr. Greg Speck (pictured at right) was named local superior, Fr. Frank Burshnick as 1st councilor, Fr. Pat Lloyd as 2nd councilor, and Fr. Steve Pujdak as treasurer. Fr. Ed Kilianski extends his thanks to these SCJs for their willingness to to take on leadership.
Retreat in Florida
Fr. Ed Kilianski will be giving a retreat at the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, March 8-10. Any SCJ is welcome to attend. Contract Fr. Greg Speck for more information at 727-252-3855 or email email@example.com.
Frs. Heiner and Steve cap visit to India with ordinations
Today Fr. Heiner Wilmer and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter conclude their visitation of the Indian District and head to South America. One of the last activities they took part in was the ordination of four SCJs to the priesthood and two to the diaconate. Fr. Tom Cassidy wrote about the celebrations for the province blog:
“Yesterday was the ordination; Bishop Gali Bali of Guntur said this was the first time that he has ordained both orders together…
“I noticed several things that we would not see in an ordination done in the United States. First, the procession in was led by a drum group from the village of Fr. Dumala Raju and it was loud and large! Second, the offertory procession included not only the bread and wine and cup to be used at the Mass but many people brought fruits, rice, vegetables, communion wafers, etc., as offertory gifts. Third a small group of sisters did a dance offering, light (a candle), incense and flowers at the end of the Eucharistic prayer and before the Our Father. Fourth, before the Mass ended there were many thanks to be given out and guests honored with flowers and a shawl. Finally another dance, this one coming out of the Hindu tradition was performed in front of the honored guests.”
Click here to read the full blog post.
Fr. Ed Kilianski will do a visitation and consultation for leadership at Sacred Heart at SHML (floors 1-3) February 14-20. The week of February 29 he will be with the Dehon Formation Community for a visitation.
“I found an old card that I think belongs to you, do you want it?” The question came from a caller to the Provincalate Offices last week. He was sorting through a box and came upon a card from the “Sacred Heart Mission House” in Ste. Marie, IL. Years ago the Mission House raised money to support SCJ missions. The back of the card reads:
“Most of the churches and chapels in our missions are very poor and resemble stables. It is a pity to have such poor places where Holy Mass is to be offered. Help us to build better and more comfortable houses wherein to shelter our Blessed Lord. We must give Him a decent home where no one is afraid to worship and honor the Eucharistic Christ. Come to the aid of our poor missionaries who sacrifice their lives for the propagation of the faith. Send your donation to the Sacred Heart Mission House, Ste. Marie, Illinois.” [Note: no address or P.O. Box was needed; Ste. Marie was so small that everyone knew where the Mission House was.]
Pictured below is the front of the card with the caption: “Church and school in our Sumatra mission.”