Weekly News: January 22, 2018

Preparing for confirmation

On January 20, Frater Juancho Castañeda Rojas and Br. Duane Lemke led a day of retreat for confirmation students from St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin. Click here to view a few photos from the opening session. The retreat day took place at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

Frater Juancho spent the previous academic year in Brazil, where he learned about the Dehonian approach to youth ministry in South America. On February 3 he is scheduled to profess his final vows. He expects to complete his theology studies at Catholic Theological Union this semester and “God willing, be ordained to the diaconate soon after,” he said. “I look forward to putting to work the skills that I learned in Brazil. It was an incredible experience.”


The sale of the Chicago building that houses the Dehon Formation Community was completed on January 19. The buyer is Pioneer Acquisitions, which is located in Chicago. Pioneer has been investing in residential properties in the Hyde Park area, including the purchase of several buildings from the University of Chicago. The province will rent part of the building from Pioneer until the end of June, when remodeling of Sacred Heart Monastery is expected to be complete. As noted previously, the formation community will join the monastery community this summer. Theology students will attend SHSST and undergraduates will study at a Milwaukee-area university.

“The sale of the property will help cover the cost of the remodeling of Sacred Heart,” said Dn. David Nagel. “Property values in the Hyde Park have been going up since President Obama decided to build his Presidential Library; this is a good time to sell. The building sold for $5.7 million.

Province elections

Br. Frank Presto reminds members of the US Province that their discernment ballots are due by 4:00 p.m. on January 26. The ballot needs to be signed and returned by conventional mail (USPS) or fax to Br. Frank at the Provincialate Offices. Questions? Click here to contact Br. Frank.

What is prayer?

Fr. Vincent

As SCJs in active ministry prepare for next week’s Provincial Conference, Fr. Vincent Suparman, a member of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team, shares a reflection on what prayer means to him and how it is vital in maintaining ministry and community life:

“Prayer is central to Christian life and to the Dehonian experience as well. A Dehonian ministry is not sustainable without it, because growth in the SCJ communal life is simply not possible without prayer. Growing in ministry, especially here in South Dakota, is more than just presiding at weekday or Sunday Masses. It is about learning to hear the voice of God in our lives and walking where he calls us to serve his people. It is not enough simply to pray when we feel like it. Prayer requires time, space, and commitment.

“I like what Fr. Mark Mastin said just a few days before Christmas, ‘When you pray, present your entire life before God.’ We need courage in order to do so. Courage is essential to the human experience. It brings us to life and makes us able to accomplish our ministry. Yet, we have to remember that courage is the rarest quality in a human person. Meanwhile, fear can prevent us from doing incredible things.”

Next week

January 30 – February 1, members of the US Province in active ministry will gather for an extraordinary Provincial Conference “to create a vision for how we can best live and serve together in a way that is healthy and life-giving,” wrote Fr. Ed Kilianski. “It may include new ways of doing ministry to guard against burn-out, including greater use of lay staff. It may also mean looking at ways in which local communities, and the province, can be more supportive to those in ministry.

“This is a time and an opportunity to look at what is sustainable and how members of the province can sustain each other as fellow religious.

“Our local communities and ministries are becoming more multicultural; this will increase in the future as more SCJs from other entities come to the US Province. What can the province do to better facilitate this? How can SCJs from other cultures be better prepared for community life and ministry in this Province and how can current members better welcome our international confreres?”

Photos and updates from the conference will be posted on the US Province Facebook page.

Please remember

Barbara Peters, the mother of Mark Peters (US Province Director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation) died January 21 of complications from the flu. Arrangements are pending.

Fr. José Calixto Ferreira de Araújo, a member of the Brazil – Recife Province, also died on January 21. He was born in 1930, professed in 1950 and ordained in 1956.


Fr. Tom gave the homily at Fr. Steve’s funeral Mass.

Funeral for Fr. Steve Wiese

Fr. Tom Westhoven was the homilist at the Mass of Christian for Fr. Steve Wiese on January 20 at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.

“When we were moving out of our former retirement home, Villa Maria. Fr. Steve was asked to be the principal celebrant of the Farewell Mass in what used to be the convent chapel,” said Fr. Tom during his homily. “He told us that he was asked because 40 some years previously he offered his very first Mass in this chapel after his ordination in 1963. Fr. Steve blessed all of us present with a powerful image of what that day meant to him, and how the years of Masses in this chapel, blessed our Province. He reminded us that as that chapel and house closes, these same blessings would continue in our new place: Sacred Heart Monastery Lake.”

Click here to download a PDF of the homily.

Click here to view photos from the Mass and interment.

Evening Prayer for Christian Unity

This Wednesday, January 24 at 5:00 p.m., Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology will host its annual Evening Prayer for Christian Unity.  The guest speaker will be the Rev. Paul D. Erickson, Bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).   This year is the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and the first time that the Catholic and Lutheran communities have officially engaged in a “joint commemoration” of the Reformation. Appropriately, the theme selected by the PCPCU (Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity) and the WCC’s (World Council of Churches) Faith and Order Commission for this year is “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power” (Exodus 15:6).  Anyone is welcome to join the SHSST community, with Bishop Paul Erickson, in prayer.

Catholic-Jewish Studies Film Series

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology will host a viewing of the “Zookeeper’s Wife” at 3:00 p.m on Sunday, January 28. It will be at the Polish Center of Wisconsin (6941 S. 68th St, Franklin, WI). The film is the true story of how stewards of the Warsaw Zoo in 1939 rescued hundreds of Jews, putting themselves at great risk. Dr. Neal Pease, a UW-Milwaukee professor of history and an author who has dedicated much of his career to research on the role of the Catholic Church in Polish history, will present an introduction to the film and conduct a talk-back after.

Admission is free, but if you are interested you are asked to RSVP by January 24 to Bonnie Shafrin at bshafrin@shsst.edu.


Fr. Paul and Fr. Ziggy

Recently named

Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec has been named interim Vice President for Spiritual Formation for the 2018 spring semester at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. This is in addition to his regular duties as Vice Rector. Fr. Paul Kelly stepped down from the position due to illness. The two are pictured together (above) during the past weekend.


Fr. Joe Dean has a new email address:

Fr. Vien Nguyen is now living with the St. Joseph’s Community at SHML:
7330 S. Lovers Lane Road, Apt. 410
Franklin, WI 53132-1849
His email and mobile phone remain the same (both are in the directory)


Last week we stated that Fr. Greg Murray is now a member of the Montréal community. Please note that the correct postal code for the community is H2B 1Y7, not H28 1Y7


Participants at the recent “Open Heart” retreat in Macau

“Open Heart” on the road

Fr. John van den Hengel was in Macau during the past week giving an adapted version of the “Open Heart” retreat that was developed for SCJs in North America. Ten Dehonians from the Asian mission took part in the January 15-22 retreat.

Using a style similar to the North American model, the retreat was a mix of conferences, small group dialogue, individual reflection and community prayer. Topics included Faith, the Sacred Heart, Union with Christ, Oblation, Reparation, Mercy, Social Spirituality and Eucharist.

Several of the faces in the photo above are familiar to SCJs in North America, many are alumni of the ESL (English as a Second Language) program at SHSST.

Reminder: the next North American Dehonian Retreat will take place May 6-12, 2018, at the Siena Center in Racine, WI. If you have not registered and plan to attend please contact Mary Gorski as soon as possible. Click here to view a current list of registrants.

Closing shot

Twenty-one Dehonian bishops from around the world are meeting January 18-23 at the SCJs’ Generalate in Rome. Topics of the meeting include youth ministry, interreligious dialogue, and migration. However, equally important to the discussions of current events is having time and space for the bishops of the congregation to come together in fraternity. For many, it is a rare moment to spend an extended period of time in an SCJ community.

On Sunday, the bishops, along with a few members of the General Curia, gathered for worship at a local parish in Rome. Afterward, they posed for a photo with children from the parish. Look closely to see where a few of the bishops’ zucchettos ended up!