Weekly News: January 15, 2018

Reflections on love from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fr. Leo John Dehon


“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“In the end there are no big crosses or little crosses, there is only little love and great love… for me, love comprises everything. It dominates and contains all other devotions; it does not exclude other forms of devotion, but it transforms them into devotions of love.”

-Fr. Leo John Dehon

Please note that the Provincial Offices are closed today, January 15, in commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Today would have been the civil rights leader’s 89th birthday. 


News of the week

Novitiate chapel

Building project updates

The province has undertaken several building and renovation projects during the past year; the first was at the novitiate. When a home near Sacred Heart Monastery was purchased last spring for use as the new novitiate it was lacking one thing vital to a formation house: a chapel. Where to put it?

Instead of thinking “outside the box” SCJs decided to build a box. Walls were erected to enclose a former carport to create space for a chapel. Fr. Byron Haaland, novice master, calls it a “railroad chapel” since the long, narrow length is much like a “railroad apartment.” In the front is a sitting area before a lectern, in the middle is the altar and at the far end is an area for prayer and reflection before the tabernacle.

Recently we posted photos on Facebook of the completed chapel. Click here to view the album.

A new elevator is a part of the SHM renovation

In Hales Corners, work is well underway for the renovation of Sacred Heart Monastery; SHM shares a building with Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology so the renovations affect the seminary as well. The work is being done to make space for the province formation program, which will join the monastery community in time for the next academic year. Province theology students will study at SHSST, and undergraduates will go to Milwaukee area universities.

The move to the monastery will allow students to be more fully integrated into the SCJ community, and the larger monastery community will allow for Dehonians to have a more significant presence at the seminary. Although there are always a few unanticipated set-backs along the way, the project is expected to be completed by mid-summer.

Click here to view a few photos taken last week of the work at SHM/SHSST.

In Mississippi, the Fr. Gregory Bezy Volunteer House in Holly Springs is closer to completion. Interior rooms are taking shape, kitchen venting has been installed, recessed lighting is in place, and the rear deck and front porch are just about complete. The house will have space for 32 volunteers. It is pictured below.

Fr. Steve Wiese dies

Fr. Steve Wiese died on January 13. He was 83, professed first vows in 1955 and was ordained in 1963.

Fr. Steve

Originally from New Brunswick, NJ, Fr. Steve learned about the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) through his parish pastor. In the 1950s at the age of 19, he was considered a “delayed” vocation. The SCJs had a program for candidates who needed to catch up to their counterparts who had been in the minor seminary. In one year he said that he “crammed in four years’ worth of Latin, Greek and theology.”

His first assignments were in education and vocations. He later did parish ministry in Mississippi, South Dakota, California, Texas and Wisconsin. In 1976 he followed a call to the missions, serving in Lesotho (Africa) for two years.

A member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML, he had been in assisted living and nursing care for the past several years.

All services will be at Good Shepherd Chapel at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Franklin, WI, on Saturday, January 20. Reception of the body and wake service will start at 9:30 am. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10:30 am. Interment in Sacred Heart Mausoleum will follow (weather permitting).

Preaching with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other

There is a frequently cited image of Fr. Leo John Dehon holding a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.

The founder’s call to make the Gospel relevant to the events of the day was echoed by Dn. Greg Kandra in his keynote address at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s Preaching Conference on January 9.

Dn. Greg Kandra

“Take the news of the week and make it real,” said Dn. Kandra. “Connect it to the Gospel. Every story is a Catholic story. Everything has a relationship to the Gospel, to our faith. Look for connections whenever you can. Make preaching real.”

Dn. Kandra is the multimedia editor for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a pontifical society founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926. Before joining CNEWA, Dn. Kandra spent nearly three decades in broadcast journalism working at programs such as 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, Sunday Morning and The CBS Evening News.

“Preaching the Good News in Times of Bad News and Fake News,” was the title of Dn. Kandra’s presentation. He began by reflecting on something that Don Hewitt, creator of 60 Minutes, said when asked about the success of the television show:

“Tell me a story.”

Storytelling, said Dn. Kandra, was the key to 60 Minutes’ success. It is also the key to giving a good homily.

“We are a storytelling people,” he said. “It is in our DNA. It started in a cave and continues today on laptops at Starbucks. We want to pass on what we believe, what we have heard.

“And for over 2,000 years we have been telling the greatest story ever told. The question is, how can we do that more effectively in the 21st century?”

Click here to read more on the province website.


Fra. Huan

Frater Huan “Paul” Pham Duy of the Vietnamese District arrived last week to begin studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Fr. Ed Kilianski picked him up from O’Hare Airport on Tuesday. The first order of business after the lengthy flight? A stop at the outlet mall to get Fra. Huan a “real” winter coat. This will be his first experience of a Midwestern winter.

Fra. Huan will live with the St. Joseph’s Community (4th floor) at SHML while renovations are underway at Sacred Heart Monastery. Fr. Quang Tran will serve as his vocation director during his first semester at SHSST. When the SHM community moves into its new space, Fra. Huan will be a part of the formation community there.

Founder’s circular letters online

The circular letters of Fr. Leo John Dehon are available on the DehonDocsOriginals website. Thirty-four documents are posted, which span the years 1881 – 1925. Click here to access the documents in English.


Fr. Greg Murray is now a member of the Montréal community. His contact information:

2830 Boul. Gouin est
Montréal, QC H28 1Y7 Canada
514-388-5759, X119

Please remember

Thérèse Forget Légaré, the aunt of Fr. Maurice Légaré, died of pneumonia on January 10 at the age of 93. “She was the last sister-in-law of my father,” wrote Fr. Maurice. “She is survived by her two daughters and their families.”

Fr. Stefan Kajta of the Polish Province died December 21. He was born in 1934, professed in 1957 and ordained in 1964.

Fr. Franciszek Sleczka, also a member of the Polish Province, died December 20. He was born in 1939, professed in 1958 and ordained in 1965.

Memorial cards

Click here if you would like to receive a memorial card for Br. Ben Humpfer.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Ed Kilianski is close to home much of the next few weeks. January 21-26 he will have a visitation with the Sacred Heart Community at SHML (including Dehon House). The Provincial Conference is January 30 through February 1, and the visitation of Sacred Heart Monastery is February 5-7. Fr. Ed will receive Frater Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas’ final vows during a ceremony at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart School of Theology on February 3.

Closing shot

The formation community in Chicago celebrated the birthdays of Hung Pham and Angel Romero with a Pho dinner over the weekend. Happy birthday!!