Weekly News: January 18, 2021

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “I Have a Dream” speech, 1963 March on Washington

The Provincial Offices are closed today, January 18, for the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. They will reopen tomorrow, January 19.

Back to school

The spring semester gets underway this week at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology but due to continued concerns about COVID-19, especially in light of the new, more infectious variant of the virus, courses will be online for the first two weeks.

“This approach will allow us to begin the semester in a safe manner, evaluate Covid-19 rates and variants, and then reassess course delivery before February 1,” said Fr. Raúl Gomez-Ruiz, SDS, president-rector.  “I intend to let everyone know no later than Friday morning, January 29, how we will go forward.”

Plumbing fixtures line student hall

Renovation is underway!

Phase III of the renovation of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology got underway during the holiday break. Asbestos abatement on the second floor is near completion, demolition work on the third floor is halfway done, and demolition work on the fourth floor has begun. “We are about a week ahead of schedule,” said Mark Wenzel, facilities director for the province, adding a note of caution that in the construction business many factors can affect the schedule and it can easily slow down or speed up. Demolition and abatement will continue for the next several weeks. Rebuilding (remodeling) is expected to begin in late February.

This phase of the renovation focuses on the wing of the building that houses student rooms and classrooms. The project was originally to have taken place last year but was delayed due to the pandemic. It involves updating classrooms (including infrastructure for new technology), renovation of several offices, and remodeling rooms on the third and fourth floors to allow for three faculty suites and 34 student rooms with private baths. The projected completion date is early to mid-August.

Entrance to Postulancy

During Adoration with the community at Sacred Heart Monastery on January 21, Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong, Jacob Smith and Michael Wodarczyk will enter postulancy. They will join Celsus Robert, who became a postulant in 2020, in preparation for the novitiate.

Jonathan is a second-year candidate from Louisiana, though originally from California.  He is an undergraduate student at Cardinal Stritch University, studying a mix of philosophy, history and religious studies. Jacob is a third-year candidate from Houston in his junior year at Marquette University. Michael is from suburban Milwaukee, has a degree in accounting, and is currently doing his theology studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Celsus is also a student at SHSST. He is originally from St. Lucia and has undergraduate degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice and an MBA in Healthcare Administration.

A livestream of the postulancy ceremony will be available for view on the province YouTube channel starting at 5:00 pm on Thursday. Click here or on the image above to access it.

Who was Fr. Fohrman?

Fr. Matthias Fohrman, SCJ, is often credited with being the founder of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). Originally from Luxembourg, he was sent to the United States on a fundraising mission… and stayed. Done in a lighthearted cartoon style, this video gives a short overview of Fr. Fohrman’s life. It is especially suited for use with young students. The video was produced by our formation community at Sacred Heart Monastery; the narrator is Fr. Ed Zemlik, SCJ.

Click here or on the image above to view it.

Please remember

+ Fr. Johannes van Berkel, a member of the NLV Province, died on January 10. He was born in 1929, professed in 1950 and ordained in 1955.

+ Fr. Alphonsus Maria Dingelstad, also a member of the NLV Province, died on January 11. He was born in 1922, professed in 1944, and ordained in 1949.

+ Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, retired and living as a member of the Brazil-Sao Paulo Province, died on January 13. He was born in 1932, professed in 1954, ordained to the priesthood in 1960 and ordained a bishop in 1981. He was named a cardinal in 2003. Click here to read more about him on the congregational website.

+ Frater Rakotoniaina Christian Barthélemy, a member of the Region of Madagascar, died on January 15. He was born in 1997 and professed his first vows in 2019.

+ Msgr. Michaael Yarbrough, died on January 13 of complications from COVID-19.  Most of his years of ministry were in San Antonio, where he also held several leadership positions in the archdiocese. Click here to read his obituary.

Also, our apologies for incorrectly spelling Peter DiCresce’s name in last week’s death notices. As noted, the former SCJ, known as Br. Bonaventure, died January 10 in home hospice.

Fr. Steve with children during a mission visit

Fr. Steve reflects on Dehonians’ missionary projects

“The big question we have to ask is what can our charism contribute to the people of God in that land? What is a viable apostolic project that reflects Dehonian values and purpose?” The quote is from Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general, reflecting on the missionary projects of the congregation.

“The previous council had a bold plan that included many new possibilities,” said Fr. Steve. “After discussing the plan we inherited, this council asked each geographical region to focus on one new mission. In the case of Asia, the selection has been to reinforce the International Community in Asia (ICA), which is still in its initial stages. Africa identified Kenya, which is probably a few years away from being realized. Colombia received its first Dehonians in the fall, and the Netherlands is preparing for three members to begin studying Dutch language and culture in the coming months.”

When asked “In what spirit should we embark on a new mission?” Fr. Steve said that “I find inspiration from the final chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. After commissioning the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, Jesus also promises to be with them, to the end of the ages. I believe when we trust and courageously take up His mission, we will be blessed in countless, unexpected ways.”

Click here to read the full text.

Entry into Force Day

“In what many are calling a new chapter for nuclear disarmament, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will enter into force on Friday, January 22, 2021,” writes Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, for the province Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission. “This landmark treaty prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

“Our US Province contributed to this effort in several ways. In 1982, a large contingent of SCJs took part in the one-million-person peace march at the United Nations during its second session on nuclear disarmament. In 1983, during the height of the Cold War, the US Province divested from all major nuclear weapons contractors and, to this day, will not invest in such entities. The US Province was a major actor in promoting and distributing the USCCB’s pastoral letter on disarmament. All of these efforts and many more led to this historic treaty banning nuclear weapons.”

The treaty has been ratified by 50 countries, the number required for its entry into force. The treaty is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination.

The JPR Commission invites you to take part in “Entry into Force Day,” a 90-minute live streamed event on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm (PST). Click here to learn more.

Prayer for the Inauguration

Almighty and Sovereign God:

As our nation undergoes this presidential transition, we pray: “Thy Kingdom Come.”

May your Holy Spirit instill our president of righteousness and the values and principles of your kingdom to exercise the sacred trust of administering the nation.

Give our new president, his administration, and Congress the ability to honor you by doing what is right, fair, and just for all citizens, especially the poor, hungry, and marginalized.

We ask that all the people in our nation, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, or religious faith be treated with dignity.

We pray for the wholeness, health, integrity, soundness, welfare, security, prosperity, harmony, and justice of all the citizens of our nation.

Help our nation develop a foreign policy that fosters peace, justice, equality, and freedoms that can advance the development, rights, and privileges of our global neighbors.

Move our nation to provide international leadership in the good stewardship of all the natural resources that you have entrusted to humankind.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Prayer from Bread for the World

The inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris will take place on Wednesday, January 20, at noon (EST). Click here for one of the livestream options.

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