Weekly News, January 13, 2020

New ministry options discussed at conference

Fr. Ed

“Our Future: Together in Community and Ministry, Part III” was held at the Provincial Conference Center last week, January 7-9. This was the third in a series of yearly conferences for SCJs in the US Province who are in active ministry. “It has been my hope and the hope of the Provincial Council that each conference can be another step on the path to learning, as a community, how to intentionally live, pray and work together better, recognizing each other’s diversity but also our shared Dehonian values,” said Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, in his opening remarks.

Click here to read his full text.

In 2018, SCJs under 70 in active ministry came together for the first time to reflect on how they can better live and minister together in a US Province that looks much different than even just a few years ago. It is a province that is filled with diversity: Dehonians from all over the world bringing the flavors of their own cultures but united in one Dehonian charism.

Sr. Cathy Bertrand, SSND, has facilitated all three gatherings.

The conference included two panel discussions. The first featured three veteran SCJs – Dn. David Nagel, Fr. Christianus Hendrik and Fr. Jim Walters – first talking about the ministries in which they have served and then offering advice to the next generation who will carry on the Dehonian charism in the United States.

“Be open to new possibilities,” was their common message. “Always be open, always be willing to give things a try,” said Fr. Jim. “No matter how unfit or ill-prepared you may feel, you are following in the footsteps of others who felt just as unsure and eventually found their way, found a way to continue the work of our founder.”

“As you grow as a minister, you will discover new ways of doing things, you will bring new ideas to ministry,” added Dn. David.

Br. Duane

The next day, a panel of four younger members of the community – Frater Henry Nguyen, Frater Paul Hoang, Br. Diego Diaz and Br. Duane Lemke –  spoke about their hopes and vision for the province.

“I have a great deal of hope for the future,” said Br. Duane. “This province started with only five SCJs. They did fantastic things, and we can do fantastic things. We are smaller in number than what we have been at other times, but this is what God is calling us to be at this moment. In our conversations among each other I hear a passion to move toward the future.”

Several panelists spoke of hospitality, hospitality that they have felt from their brother SCJs but also the hospitality experienced by those impacted by SCJ ministry. “We must offer our hospitality in all that we do, especially to youth,” said Br. Diego. Hospitality is a way of helping young adults feel at home in the Church, he added.

When asked about an experience that gave each panelist a clear sense of “being Dehonian,” most spoke of a time when they realized that their concept of home was no longer just with their family of origin, but with their SCJ family.

“It was when I looked forward to ‘going home’ after a visit with my family,” said one of the panelists. “I enjoyed being with my family, but I looked forward to going back to my ‘home,’ my home with my SCJ brothers. That’s when I realized that I was a Dehonian.”

A new ministry

Students and novices lead music during prayer

For several years the province has been talking about developing a specific ministry to young adults. Although that could take several forms, a significant number of SCJs endorsed the idea of a campus ministry team. It would require no less than three SCJs in community.

Before the end of the conference, SCJs were asked to indicate whether they were open to serving in such ministry; nearly 20 people literally stood up and put their names on the list. In February, the youth / young adult ministry group will meet to discuss how they can move forward. It is hoped that a new ministry can be in place within the next one to two years.

Conference participants also reflected on current ministries, and in particular, internal ministries. Each SCJ, novice and candidate was asked to indicate, in writing, which ministries he could see himself doing in the future. The responses are non-binding, but they did show a wide variety of interests and openness.

Click here to read more on the province website.

Click here to view an online photo album.


Fr. Ed and Frater Henry during the Rite of the Institution of Acolyte

Institution of Acolyte

Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, received the Institution of Acolyte during the opening Eucharist of the 2020 Provincial Conference. A student at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Frater Henry is 30 and professed his first vows in 2018.

Originally from Orange County, California, Frater Henry is in his fifth year of formation. Before entering candidacy, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Monterey Bay.

In his third year of theology, Frater Henry did an intensive CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program in San Antonio with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System last summer. “With this experience, my understanding of the theology of pain and suffering grew more and more as I made myself available in order to be present with the sick and dying and their families,” said Frater Henry. He is scheduled to do his cross-cultural year in Chile, starting midsummer.

Third Annual SHSST Preaching Conference

“Hearing the Hebrew Scriptures with a Heart for Homiletics” was the theme of last week’s Preaching Conference (January 6-7,) at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. The event had seven presenters: Cantor David Barash, Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun (Milwaukee), Dr. Benjamin Stone, Director of Music and Organist at Sacred Heart, Dr. Sherry H. Blumberg, Adjunct Professor at Sacred Heart, Rabbi Steven H. Adams, Director of Pastoral Care for Ovation Communities in Milwaukee and President of the Wisconsin Council of Rabbis, Dn. Steve Kramer, Director of Homiletics and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Studies at Sacred Heart, Dr. Richard C. Lux, Professor Emeritus of Scripture Studies at Sacred Heart, and Rabbi David Cohen, Congregation Sinai, Milwaukee, WI

Speaking of SHSST, welcome back! Today is the first day of classes for the new semester.

New administrations

In last week’s Fridge Notes we shared an excerpt from Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ’s write-up about his December visit to South Africa. As he noted, one of the primary reasons that he was there was for the province’s election assembly. The General Council recently affirmed the new administration:

Provincial Superior: Fr. Krzysztof Grzelak, SCJ (1st term)
1st Provincial Councilor: Fr. Piotr Surdel, SCJ
2nd Provincial Councilor: Fr. Ntsikelelo Bambatha, SCJ
3rd Provincial Councilor: Fr. Zdzisław Kościelny, SCJ
4th Provincial Councilor: Fr. Innocent Mabheka, SCJ

They will begin their three-year term on February 2, 2020.

The General Council also affirmed the appointment of the new administration for the Argentine Province:

Provincial Superior: Fr. Juan Domingo Griffone, SCJ (1st term)
1st Provincial Councilor: Fr. Héctor Ramón González, SCJ
2nd Provincial Councilor: Fr. Marcelo Andrés Reynoso, SCJ
3rd Provincial Councilor: Fr. Manoel Lorenzo da Oliveira, SCJ

Their three-year term begins on February 1, 2020.

Please remember

Fr. Tarcísio Pereira de Paiva, a member of the Brazil – Recife Province, died on January 11. He was born in 1953, professed in 1984, and ordained in 1988.

Updating the files

The Provincialate is in the process of updating the personnel files, this includes emergency contact information and a copy of each SCJ’s driver’s license. Our thanks to the many SCJs who took care of their updates while here for the Provincial Conference. Nancy Grzesiak is in the process of contacting those for whom we will need updates. Your cooperation is appreciated!

Back to India

Just before the winter storms hit Milwaukee, Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, got on a plane last Friday and returned to India, where he assists with the formation program. He will be there for most of spring.

Keep in prayer

Please keep the father of Frater Hubert Liassidji, SCJ, in your prayers. Frater Hubert received word that his father was found unresponsive and taken to the hospital for urgent care.

Also, Fr. Joe Dean, SCJ, and Fr. Bob Naglich, SCJ, had brief hospitalizations last week. Both have since been released.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The Provincial Offices will be closed next Monday, January 20, in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. There will be no Fridge Notes. The next issue will be January 27.

The following is a prayer of Dr. King’s that seeks a “kingdom of understanding.” It is from Thou, Dear God: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits, a collection of 68 thematically-arranged prayers by Dr. King.

“O God, we thank you for the fact that you have inspired men and women in all nations and in all cultures. We call you different names: some call you Allah; some call you Elohim; some call you Jehovah; some call you Brahma; some call you the Unmoved Mover. But we know that these are all names for one and the same God. Grant that we will follow you and become so committed to your way and your kingdom that we will be able to establish in our lives and in this world a brother and sisterhood, that we will be able to establish here a kingdom of understanding, where men and women will live together as brothers and sisters and respect the dignity and worth of every human being. In the name and spirit of Jesus. Amen.”


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

It seems fitting that the commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., falls within the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” January 18-25. The Church Unity Octave was first observed in January, 1908. “Celebrated in the chapel of a small Atonement Franciscan Convent of the Protestant Episcopal Church, on a remote hillside 50 miles from New York City, this new prayer movement caught the imagination of others beyond the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement to become an energetic movement that gradually blossomed into a worldwide observance involving many nations and millions of people,” states the website of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has several links with materials for observation of the week. Click here to access it.

The USCCB states that “By annually observing the WPCU, Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper ‘that they all may be one.’”  (cf. John 17:21)

Looking ahead

The Provincial Council will meet next week, January 21-22. Other dates to note:

March 3-4, 2020: Provincial Council meeting
May 5-6, 2020: Provincial Council meeting (budgets)
June 8, 2020: Province Jubilee Celebration
June 9-12, 2020: Province Assembly
June 11, 2020, 7:00 pm: Provincial Council meeting (advancements in formation)

These and other dates, as well as the birthdays of SCJs in North America are included in the online North American calendar. Click on the “Google Calendar” link at the bottom of any page within the US Province website. Have a date to submit for the calendar, or a correction? Click here.

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