Weekly News: January 14, 2019

Going beyond the theoretical

In 2018, SCJs in active ministry came together for a Provincial Conference. The theme? How to 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. It is a province with men from Asia, Europe, Africa, South and North America.

Conference participants

Last week, from January 8-10, Dehonians in the US Province who currently serve in active ministry, came together once again to continue the work begun in 2018. They focused on themes of multiculturalism and interculturality in community life, prayer and ministry.

In his opening remarks, Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior, asked all conference participants who were NOT born in the United States to stand up. Half of the room was on its feet. Participants did not come together just to discuss how to welcome international Dehonians; they were together to discuss the reality of what it means to be an international province. What does it mean when interculturality is no longer a theoretical idea, but instead, a reality?

“What I found to be significant is that we never spoke of ‘enculturation,’” said Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec, SCJ. “Instead, we talked about how we can be Dehonian in an intercultural setting. This is very different than in the past and I am proud of it. We are speaking of coming together with our different cultural backgrounds to live and minister as Dehonians; not how we can assimilate international SCJs.” Fr. Ziggy, vice-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, is originally from Poland.

“Supporting each other with a sense of hospitality is vital to intercultural living,” said Hung Pham, a candidate of Vietnamese descent. “That means being open with one another and talking about mistakes and misunderstandings when they happen.”

It’s good advice for anyone living together –– family, roommates, religious –– but essential when the people under one roof come from a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds and languages.

“It is my hope and the hope of the Provincial Council that this 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. “As with the 2018 gathering, this conference is not an end, but a continuance, a work in progress.”

Click here to view an online photo album from the conference.

Dn. Juancho receives a blessing from conference participants

One step closer

During the closing Mass of the Provincial Conference, Dn. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ, made his promises and profession of faith in preparation for his February 16 ordination to the priesthood. Fr. Ed Kilianski, provincial superior, witnessed the promises. At the end of the Mass, Dn. Juancho received a blessing from all of the conference participants.

Dn. Juancho makes his Profession of Faith

Click here to view photos from the ceremony on the province Facebook page (the photos are also in the conference album at the link noted above).

As noted last week, Dn. Juancho will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, February 16, at the Cathedral of St. Nicolas el Magno in Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia. All SCJs in the US and Canada are invited; invitations went in the mail at the end of last week.

Due to the short timeline, there are not mail-in RVSP cards. Those who plan to attend are asked to let Dn. Juancho know via email by February 4. His email address: scjuancho10@yahoo.com. Dn. Juancho plans to soon put together an email with travel hints for those who would like to come to Colombia.


Two new students are joining the formation community at Sacred Heart Monastery for the spring semester. Michael Wodarczyk may be a familiar name, in early December he was accepted as a candidate for the US Province. Michael is from suburban Milwaukee and has a degree in accounting. He begins his studies in pre-theology at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

Also new to the community is Br. Meghanand Bandanadham, SCJ, of the Indian District. He is here to do his on-site work for the newly developed master’s program with the district. Students do part of their studies online in India and part here at SHSST.


A new administration

On Wednesday, January 16, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, will be installed as regional superior of Canada. He succeeds Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, who will continue to serve as a member of the regional council.

A generation apart, both are immigrants to Canada; both are naturalized citizens. Fr. John, 79, represents the face of immigration in the mid-20th century: his family came to Canada from the Netherlands.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fr. Gustave, 45, symbolizes today’s increasingly multicolored tapestry of immigrants. He also represents the growing impact of the southern hemisphere in not only the worldwide congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, but in the Church itself.

Recently Fr. Gustave did a Q&A in which he reflected on his vocational call, his path to studies in North America (including ESL at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology), his growing role in the Canadian Region as well as international experiences through theological conferences and commissions, and at the 2018 General Chapter. The interview will be published on the province website later this week.

Besides Fr. John, the new regional council includes Frs. Richard Woodbury and Yuliwan Maslim.


Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, is now a member of the St. Michael’s Community in Nesbit, MS. Also, please keep his mother, Martha Vergara Rizzardo, in prayer. She will soon be undergoing minor surgery.

Fr. Mark speaks at last week’s preaching conference

Former Army chaplain reflects on preaching to the military and their families

“Essentially, for those of us who have a duty to preach, we must intimately know our people,” said Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ. For many years, Fr. Mark’s “people” were members of the military and their families; he is a retired US Army chaplain. He spoke of that experience on January 8 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology‘s Second Annual Preaching Conference. The title of his presentation: “God leaves no one behind: a rescue mission of the heart.”

“To know our people, we must know their stories, their joys and sorrows,” Fr. Mark. “They sometimes come with broken hearts and need to be healed. Therefore, their voices must be part of our homilies. If we know them, and Christ, we will have a better chance to touch their hearts.”

Fr. Mark emphasized that the military is a microcosm of society. “It is culturally diverse and we as preachers need to be able to address their problems and questions. In my homily on the gospel reading of the Prodigal Son, I had a rescue mission idea in mind, noting that God leaves no one behind, especially those in despair, lost and forgotten and brokenhearted. God’s mission is ongoing.

“We all need to remember that we are in this mission together, that we are on the same aircraft carrier sailing in one direction and most of us sinners are sea sick. Only God is our Dramamine.”

Birthday calendar

A reminder: there will be no Birthday Calendar printed this year. Respondents to an informal survey in November indicated – for the most part – that the calendar was not extensively used, or that they were open to accessing the information online.

Birthdays will continue to be listed in the Fridge Notes each month. You can also access birthdays on the province Google Calendar. A link to the calendar is at the bottom of each week’s Fridge Notes and at the bottom of every page on the US Province website. Birthdays are also listed next to each name in both the printed and online North American Personnel Directory.

The North American Necrology is in the Members’ section of the website (the link can be found under the banner image). No password is needed.

To those who regularly used the printed Birthday Calendar, our thanks for your understanding of the decision not to publish a 2019 edition. If you miss the calendar, make your voice heard and we can bring it back in 2020.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Next Monday the Provincial Offices will be closed for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

SUBSCRIBE to our weekly electronic newsletter