Embodying the educational spirit of Fr. Dehon
In honor of Catholic Schools Week (January 27-February 2), the focus of the January 25th issue Dehonian Spirituality is education. Talisha Jones of Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS, reflected on continuing the spirit of Fr. Leo John Dehon in her work as a school counselor.
“Fr. Leo John Dehon, in very difficult circumstances, provided a Catholic education at a time and in a country that was becoming more secular,” began Talisha. “He persevered and was loved by his students. Being an educator in a Catholic school for me is a great joy. Each morning as we prepare for our day, we take time to pray and reflect on God’s will for us for that day. Fr. Dehon provided an excellent example of what a Christian educator should work to be.
“In my role as school counselor, I work each day to embody the spirit of Fr. Dehon in the ways I work with students… My goal is always to approach each situation with understanding and patience. Approaching each child with the love of Christ and following Fr. Dehon’s example, I am able to assist those in need in a loving and Christian way.
“As I reflect on Fr. Dehon’s writings, I’m reminded of how important it is to pray and offer the works of each day to Christ. Fr. Dehon was a fantastic example of how to be a Christian educator and how to be devoted to the Heart of Jesus. Like Fr. Dehon, I have a passion for education and a desire to teach children to follow Christ by attempting to be an example to them. For me, Dehonian spirituality means approaching each day with prayer, helping others, teaching, and showing students the love of Christ through my actions and words each day.”
Click here to read Talisha’s full reflection and view the rest of Dehonian Spirituality.
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Sr. Norma to speak at SHSST
Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, is the featured speaker at the Dehon Lecture on April 10 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. All SCJs are welcome to attend.
Executive director of Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley, Sr. Norma has first-hand experience with migrants at the southern border. In 2017, she spoke to SCJs about her initial encounters with refugees; she said that she immediately felt compelled to do something to help.
“I called Fr. Tom [the pastor at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas) and told him that I needed to borrow his parish hall for a few days,” she said.
That was almost five years ago. In that parish hall she created the Humanitarian Respite Center, a place for migrants to get food, a shower and other basic necessities before they are linked with family or sponsors in the United States.
Sr. Norma said that she had no plan when she asked to borrow the hall but knew that she had to do something. That day Sr. Norma and her volunteers assisted 200 migrants. Three years later, that number grew to 73,000, all with donations. The Priests of the Sacred Heart are among those who continue to financially assist Sr. Norma with her efforts.
Sr. Norma talked about how the whole community – people of other faiths, civic leaders – have come together to help. “Sometimes we have had more volunteers than immigrants,” she said. “It can be chaos, but it is HOLY chaos.”
Officers at a border detention facility were brought to tears seeing her go in and pray with cells filled with terrified migrant children. “They thanked me for helping us to realize that they [the migrants] are human beings,” she said.
“We are the most powerful nation in the world,” said Sr. Norma. “We must do better.”
Click here to view a video of Sr. Norma’s 2017 presentation.
2020 Provincial Conference scheduled
The third edition of the Provincial Conference, “Our Future: Together in Community and Ministry,” has been scheduled for January 7-9, 2020.
A significant focus of this year’s conference (January 8-10, 2019) was interculturality. It was a continuation of the work begun at the 2018 conference and many of its themes will be further developed at the June 10-14 US Province Assembly. The 2020 conference will continue to address community life and interculturality with a focus on future ministry in the province, especially, possibilities for new ministries.
The provincial conferences are for those 70 and under who minister in the US Province, as well as those in formation.
Click here to view photos from this year’s conference.
US treasurer appointed to General Finance Commission
Dn. David Nagel, SCJ, US provincial treasurer, was recently re-appointed to the General Finance Commission. Other commission members include: Fr. Carlos Fred Ferreira, SCJ, of the Brazil-Recife Province, Fr. Gerhard Henken, SCJ, of the German Province, SCJ, Fr. Tadeu Ernesto Loba, SCJ, of the Mozambique Province, and Fr. Vincent Nguyen Van Dinh, SCJ, of the Vietnam District.
Fr. Luca Zottoli, SCJ, general treasurer, is chairperson of the commission. Dn. David is pictured above, speaking during a prior commission meeting.
Those celebrating birthdays in February include Br. Vincent Thoan Do (32) on Feb. 2, Dn. David Nagel (68) on Feb. 6, Br. Diego Diaz (42) on Feb. 10, Fr. Duy Nguyen (41) on Feb. 17, Fr. Quang Nguyen (54) and Frater Henry Nguyen (30) on Feb. 18, Fr. Greg Murray (62) on Feb. 19, Fr. Mark Mastin (62) on Feb. 21 and Fr. Peter Sanders (79) on Feb. 28. Happy birthday!!
Contact information for Michael Wodarczyk (candidate for the US Province) and Br. Meghanand Chakravarthy Bandanadham (MA student for the Indian District) is now in the online directory available in the Members’ section of the US Province website.
Also, Fr. Duy Nguyen will soon be completing his sabbatical and returning to Our Lady of Guadalupe in early February. Fr. Francois Tsanga, who served as administrator of OLG during Fr. Duy’s absence, is concluding his ministry with the US Province. Fr. Francois is a member of the Cameroon Province.
ESL becomes ECS
Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s ESL Program (English as a Second Language) recently underwent a name change to more accurately reflect its wider mission. It is now the “ECS Program,” which stands for “English and Cultural Studies.” Students don’t just learn English, they learn about North American culture and the Church in the United States in the context of a seminary setting. It also expresses the fact that many students are learning English not as just a second language, but perhaps as a third, fourth or fifth language (or more!).