January 28 through February 3 is Catholic Schools Week. “This very important week gives us the opportunity to remind our students, parents, school staff, and the community just how blessed we are to have Catholic education with its emphasis on academic excellence, formation of the whole person, Catholic leadership, and evangelization,” writes Irazema S. Ortiz, principal of Our Lady of Guadalupe School (Houston) in the January 26 issue of Dehonian Spirituality.
“Catholic Schools Week is an annual national celebration of the important role that Catholic schools across the country play in providing a value-added education for students. This week celebrates education that goes beyond preparation for a secular life; it is an education that prepares students for a Christian life.”
Click here to read the rest of Ms. Ortiz’ text, as well as reflections and prayers about Catholic Schools Week based in Dehonian spirituality in the latest issue of Dehonian Spirituality.
Holy Family students and teachers take part in School Choice Rally
Fifth through eighth grade students, along with educators from Holy Family School in Holly Springs, Miss., traveled to the State Capitol in Jackson, Miss., on January 23 to take part in the 2018 Mississippi School Choice Rally.
Gov. Phil Bryant officially proclaimed January 21-27, 2018, as “School Choice Week” in the state of Mississippi. He joins 20 other governors and more than 300 mayors and county leaders nationwide in issuing proclamations.
National School Choice Week is a precursor of sorts to Catholic Schools Week. This week, both Sacred Heart (Southaven, Miss.) and Holy Family Schools will observe Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses and a variety of other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. This year’s CSW theme is “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”
Sacred Heart students learn about migration concerns
At last year’s Mission Education Conference, Allison Baskin, a religion and Spanish teacher at Sacred Heart School in Southaven, Miss., heard Mark Peters, US Province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, speak about a postcard campaign to get Kohl’s and Macy’s to carry fair trade clothing. She took some of the postcards to use with her 8th grade religion class to help them see the connection between what they wear and social justice for Third World garment workers.
“This year, she asked for more postcards, but I had to tell her that there was no similar campaign planned,” wrote Mark on the JPR blog. “I mentioned, though, that the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the U.S. and Canada were involved in related justice issues like immigration and climate change, and offered my assistance if she wanted to work up a lesson plan on one of those issues.”
She developed a lesson plan about immigration that incorporated Catholic social teaching on the subject, a review of current U.S. policy, and interactive exercises and reflection questions designed to get students to think seriously about an issue that so many adults struggle to understand.
Ms. Baskin has since utilized the lesson plan with her students.
“I started by asking students what they knew about immigration, and as you would imagine, their answers were pretty much what you hear in the media and from various people when the subject comes up in conversation,” wrote Ms. Baskin. Her reflection is on the JPR blog. “Their usual responses ranged from, ‘immigrants come illegally here and bring drugs’ to ‘they take Americans’ jobs’ and even ‘that’s how terrorists come into our county.’ I asked what they wanted to know about immigration and tried to answer their many questions while teaching them about Catholic Social Teaching and US policies on immigration.
“The students really had empathy when looking at various pictures of immigrants in tough situations. They showed compassion after listening to stories of families torn apart by deportation. They offered ways they could help immigrants today, including those they may never face. We discussed various reasons people immigrate and how Jesus, Mary and Joseph themselves were immigrants when they had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod. A guest speaker discussed the struggles she faced when she first emigrated here from El Salvador.”
Bishops issue concluding statement
As we noted last week, Dehonian bishops from around the world met January 18-23 at the SCJs’ Generalate in Rome. Topics of the meeting included youth ministry, interreligious dialogue, and migration. The theme of the meeting was “The challenges of evangelization from Vatican II to Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato si.”
“It was a lovely experience to stay in our generalate in the company of the General Administration and of the confreres who live in this house of the Congregation, either responsible for a certain service to the Institute or as student,” wrote the bishops in their final message to the congregation. “We can, with simplicity and frankness, affirm that with them we felt at home. Most importantly, we give thanks to God for the gift of the Congregation, which His Spirit gave birth to, through the charism and work of Fr. Leon Dehon…
“As Bishops, we are aware that the journey taken by the Congregation has helped us to avail ourselves to serve the Church and the world in the mystery that has been given to us, with special attention to the poor and the excluded, as the expression of the Heart of Jesus, wounded by love for the weakest of humanity, wounded and sinful, where the plan of God grows and develops.”
Members of the US Province in active ministry will gather with the Provincial Council January 30 – February 1 for a provincial conference. The theme: “Our Future Together in Community and Ministry. The first session begins at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the Provincial Conference Center. Sr. Cathy Bertrand, SSND, who has been with the province for previous gatherings, will be the facilitator.
Check the province Facebook page for photos and updates from the conference. A reminder: you do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the province FB page.
Fr. Johannes van Meer, a member of the Dutch-Flemish Confederation, died on January 23. He was born in 1937, professed in 1956 and ordained in 1961.
CONGRATULATIONS to Fr. Ed Kilianski who celebrates his 35th anniversary of priesthood ordination today!
Tuesday through Thursday, Fr. Ed will take part in the Provincial Conference, “Our Future: Together in Community and Ministry.” On Saturday, February 3, he will receive Frater Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas’ final vows in a ceremony at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. February 5-7, he has a visitation with the Sacred Heart Monastery Community. February 11-17 he will be with the Dehon Formation Community for a visitation. The novitiate visitation is February 26-28.