Weekly News: January 11, 2021

Reflecting on the attack of the US Capitol

Fr. Ed

Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, writes the following in response to last week’s incidents in Washington, DC:

Horror, disbelief and sadness. These are the emotions that continue to run through me as I reflect on the uprising that took place on the US Capitol on January 6.

Of course, like so many, I was horrified to see the brazen desecration of one of the most significant symbols of our democracy. It was hard to believe that this was happening in the United States of America.

But most of all I was and continue to be sad.

I strongly condemn every word and action that knowingly inspired people to breach our Capitol, that welcomed violence and blatant disregard of law.

However, as horrific as the events of the day were, equally horrific is how our country, and perhaps our world, has become so polarized that we can no longer hear each other, that we live in a society where it is even possible for such an event to take place.

I recently received a message from Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Cordorniú, SCJ, our superior general. He expressed his own pain in seeing the images of the “democratic life of the United States attacked,” and urged SCJs “to continue working for a society that lives its values of coexistence, tolerance and genuine freedom.”

Our Rule of Life calls us as Dehonians – as Priests of the Sacred Heart – to be “Prophets of love and servants of reconciliation of people and the world.”

This is an urgent call for our time.

I condemn the violence that has been expressed against our democracy. I encourage you to not only pray for, but to work for peace in our country, peace in our world.

Newly released videos

Students are back at Sacred Heart Monastery completing their quarantine before the start of the new semester. Using footage shot prior to the holidays, they put together two new videos for the province YouTube channel. The first is about Fr. Gene’s Help Center, a Milwaukee charity where Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ, volunteers. Fr. Frank introduced seminarians to the ministry, not because it is operated by the Priests of the Sacred Heart, but because it is an example of Dehonian values in action.

“Christ does not give the poor charity alone, but also justice, esteem, and respect,” wrote Fr. Leo John Dehon. Click here or on the image above to view the video.

The second video features third-year candidate Jacob Smith sharing the stories behind several of his favorite Rosaries. Just as each church can ignite particular feelings and memories, so too can a Rosary, bringing us on a unique path to our goal of welcoming Christ in our hearts.

He includes his first Rosary, one that he received in Rome shortly before his conversion to Catholicism. “It was the first Rosary that I prayed the Rosary with,” he said.

Click here or on the image above to view the video.

 Getting by, getting frustrated and getting motivated

“Getting by, getting frustrated and getting motivated have been the different emotions that I have been feeling since I have gotten to Ecuador,” writes Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, after his first week in the country. “I had been able to get by with the Spanish that I knew during my chaplain internship as well as my work in social services with Sacred Heart Southern Missions. I was getting by here too at first, but then got frustrated when I wasn’t able to fully communicate with my confreres, the people around me. However, they have generously helped me here and there, correcting my pronunciation and phrasing.

“I have been watching a lot of TV with the community as another way to better my Spanish. I am motivated to learn the language to truly be present with the people…

“I want to express my thanks to the many SCJs who have contacted me with their warm wishes and support. It means a lot to me as I settle in on the other side of the equator. This is truly a moment for me to say Ecce Venio.”

Click here to read Frater Henry’s full text.

The Jewish People and the Church

On January 27, the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology kicks off its three-part Winter Jewish Studies Seminar for Christians with “What Do Jews Believe About God?” Rabbi Scott Shafrin, the Associate Rabbi and Religious School Director at Congregation Kol Rinah, a synagogue in St. Louis, MO, is the presenter.

On February 3, the topic is “How Should We Approach Jerusalem? A Jewish-Christian Dialogue.” Dr. Philip A. Cunningham, Professor of Theology (specializing in Christian-Jewish Relations) and director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA and the past president of the International Council of Christians and Jews, will present, along with Dr. Ruth Langer, Professor of Jewish Studies in the Theology Department at Boston College in Boston, MA, interim director of its Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, and past chair of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations.

The last webinar is titled “Christianity and the Holocaust: Action and Reaction in Challenging Times.” Held on February 10, it will be led by Dr. Rebecca Carter-Chand, the Acting Director of Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The sessions are held from 7:00 – 8:15 pm (CST); there is no fee but preregistration is required. Click here for more information.


Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, recently joined St. Joseph’s Community at SHML. He is currently in quarantine following his move from South Dakota.

Please remember

+ Fr. Aloísio Back, a member of the Brazil – Sao Paulo Province, died January 6. He was born in 1952, professed in 1973 and ordained in 1982.

+ Fr. Steve Malkiewicz OFM,  former SHSST faculty member, died on January 7. The funeral will be Thursday, January 14. Visitation will be from 10-11:00 followed by the Funeral Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Waterford, WI

+ Fr. Messias Alberto Lopes, a member of the Mozambique Province, died January 9. He was born in 1970, professed in 1998 and ordained in 2005.

+ Peter Paul DiCresce, a former SCJ, died January 10 in home hospice. As a religious he was known as Br. Bonaventure and was responsible for much of the artwork in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel at St. Joseph’s Indian School. He was 93. He is survived by his wife Jacinta, and their two daughters, Joy Christie and Jaunita. Condolences can be sent to: Jacinta DiCrease, 111 Powhatan Dr., Cherokee Village, AK. 72529-2137.

Congregational Necrology

The Canadian Region updated the Congregational Necrology as of December 31, 2020. Click here to access a PDF of it. Note that the second page (inside of front cover) is blank, allowing the Necrology to be printed in booklet form. The PDF is also available at the top of the North American Necrology page on the US Province website, and at the top of the Members’ section.

Provincial visitation

In the listing of the visitation schedule last week, we missed the next one on the list: Sacred Heart Monastery from January 18-22. Our apologies for the omission!

Following SHM, the schedule is: St. Michael Community in Mississippi from February 2-4; South Dakota from February 8-10; Sacred Heart Community, Pinellas Park, from February 22-25; Texas from March 1-4; and from March 15-17 Fr. Ed will meet with individuals who were not covered in the community visitations. The visitation is being done by a mix of in-person meetings and Zoom calls.

Baptism of the Lord

Yesterday, January 10, was the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The general communications team invited Bishop André Vital Félix da Silva, SCJ, bishop of the diocese of Limoeiro do Norte (Brazil), to share his reflection on the feast.

“Celebrating the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is more than remembering an important event in the life of Jesus as a watershed for his mission,” wrote the bishop. “This feast helps us become aware that the baptism must experience its quality of discontinuity. It is a break with chaos (sin) and commitment to the new life that makes us participants in the new creation, started with the Father’s beloved Son’s baptism, in whom we are also his children.”

Click here to read the full text.

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