Weekly News: January 8, 2018

Happy New Year!

The new year begins with several events of which to take note:

Dn. Steve Kramer, one of the organizers of the SHSST Preaching Conference. A permanent deacon ordained for the Diocese of Rockville Center, NY, he is SHSST director of homiletics.

SHSST PREACHING CONFERENCE – Tonight, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology hosts the opening to its Preaching Conference. The keynote is tomorrow, January 9, at the Provincial Conference Center. Dn. Greg Kandra, the multimedia editor for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), will speak on “Preaching the Good News in Times of Bad News and Fake News.” Before joining CNEWA, Dn. Greg spent three decades in broadcast journalism, working on programs such as “48 Hours,” “60 Minutes II” and “Sunday Morning.”

Breakout session topics will include “Preaching in a Mixed Anglo/Hispanic Parish,” “Avoiding Accidental Racism/Anti-Semitism from the Pulpit,” “Preaching Hope Through Funeral Rites,” “Preaching Amid Controversy,” and “Preaching and Technology.” The registrant list includes participants from around the country. Check the province Facebook page for news from the conference later this week.

PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE – “Our Future: Together in Community and Ministry” is the theme of the extraordinary Provincial Conference scheduled for January 30 – February 1. The conference is specifically for SCJs serving in active ministry in the US Province. Fr. Ed Kilianski sent personalized invitations last week via email. SCJs are asked to confirm their attendance by contacting Br. Frank Presto at provsec@usprovince.org by January 10.

Frater Juancho learns about celebrating the Mass from Fr. Bob.

FINAL VOWS, FRATER JUAN CARLOS CASTAÑEDA ROJAS – Fr. Juancho will profess his final vows at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology on Saturday, February 3, at 10:30 a.m. Invitations are going in the mail to SCJs in North America this week. SCJs can also click here to RSVP.

MEETING OF NORTH AMERICAN ADMINISTRATIONS – The spring meeting of the administrations of the US Province and Canadian Region will take place at the Provincial Conference Center on April 9. The US Provincial Council will hold meetings April 10-11. Have a topic that you think the two administrations should address? Click here to contact Fr. Ed Kilianski.

NORTH AMERICAN DEHONIAN RETREAT – The next Dehonian Retreat –– “Open Hearts” –– will be May 6-12 in Racine, WI (about 30 minutes south of Sacred Heart Monastery). This is the second of the two retreat options; the first was in suburban Toronto (Mississauga) last August. SCJs who did not take part in the retreat in Canada are encouraged to register for the May retreat. There are still a few openings. Click here to view the current registration list. If you would like to add yourself to the list, click here. Space at the retreat center is limited, so please register as soon as possible. Note that there will also be a retreat August 5-12 for those in formation.

Always willing to serve

Br. Ben Humpfer

Br. Ben Humpfer, died Sunday, December 31, of brain cancer. He was 73 and had been a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) for 51 years.

Born in Hammond, IN, Br. Ben initially pursued a vocation to the priesthood but left the seminary after what he said was “a miserable performance in Latin.” Soon after, he landed a good job in a department store “but I still thought of the priesthood; I wanted to serve,” he said.

He was put in contact with an SCJ vocation director who talked to him about being a brother. “I saw the material about the brother’s vocation,” he said. “It seemed so interesting; brothers could do so many things. I wasn’t sure why, but I felt that it was where God was calling me.”

“Many things” well describes Br. Ben’s half century of religious life. He was a tailor, a cook, a teacher, a parish director of religious education, a vocation director and a local superior. He served in Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Florida and in Wisconsin.

Click here to read more about Br. Ben on the province website.

Click here to see photos from the Mass of Christian Burial held at SHML January 5, and click here to read Fr. Ed Kilianski’s homily.


“Many Journeys, One Family”

This week, January 7-14, is National Migration Week, concluding with Pope Francis’ recognition of January 14 as World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “The theme of the week, ‘Many Journeys, One Family,’ encourages us to revisit the story of our own families, each one being a migration story, some recent and others in the distant past,” wrote members of the North American Migration Committee in their letter to SCJs last week. “During this week may we educate ourselves not only about the circumstances confronting migrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking, but also highlight their courage, perseverance and resilience in overcoming enormous odds to rebuild their lives.”

Click here to access a prayer service for the week which was prepared by the committee.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops notes that the Church in the US has celebrated National Migration Week for nearly 50 years. Click here to access materials prepared by the USCCB to commemorate the week.

Fr. Dehon’s words on migration

Fr. Leo John Dehon

In recognition of National Migration Week, the North American Dehon Study Center is making available a recently translated article, “Immigration in the Writings of Fr. Dehon,” by Fr. Juan José Arnaiz Ecker, SCJ.

This nine-page essay [with an additional four pages of charts and footnotes] cites and contextualizes Fr. Dehon’s own words.  “Migration for Fr. Dehon is fundamentally negative and painful,” wrote Fr. Juan José.  “His analysis of the causes, consequences, and solutions has as its framework his own analysis of society, which he considers to be in crisis.  This crisis appears in these four, specific areas: economics, labor, agriculture, and the middle class.”

“Although the contemporary situation of world migration differs from that of Fr. Dehon’s time, it is interesting to note the unchanging reality of the human condition,” writes David Schimmel of the NORAM Dehon Study Center.  Click here to access a PDF of the essay.

Buon viaggio!

Fr. Joseph

Fr. Joseph Dinh leaves for Italy on Wednesday. He will study Italian in Naples for six months, living with the Dehonian community based there, in preparation for the international formators program in Rome, held October 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

“I’m looking forward to new experiences and seeing more of the congregation,” he said last week. Fr. Joseph’s email and mobile phone number will remain the same (both can be found in the online or printed province directory).

Back to India

Tomorrow, Fr. Tom Cassidy returns to India, where he will be based at the Christu Dehon Nivas community in Eluru, assisting with formation. Before returning to the United States in time for the Province Election Assembly in June, Fr. Tom will spend two weeks in the Philippines teaching English and another two weeks in Vietnam doing the same. As in the past, Fr. Tom plans to maintain a daily journal. Excerpts from it will periodically be posted on the province blog.

Mustard Seed

Click here to access a PDF of the most recent issue of the Mustard Seed, a publication of the District of India.


St. Joseph’s students

Students at St. Joseph’s earn language study awards

For the second year in a row, St. Joseph’s Indian School students earned awards from the Lakota Language Consortium. At the elementary level, test scores earned the “Most Improved” distinction. At the middle school level, St. Joseph’s students earned the highest achieving spot. In addition to ranking overall scores, the “highest achieving” recognition takes into account the number of students participating and especially focuses on the number of students in higher level classes.

“It’s a wonderful honor,” said LaRayne Woster, St. Joseph’s Native American Studies teacher.  “This is our third year using the curriculum, and it’s so exciting to see it working and hear students speaking Lakota!”

St. Joseph’s students receive language instruction during their Native American Studies classes twice weekly. In addition to this class, morning announcements at school include Lakota language elements like the Our Father in Lakota, the Lakota Flag Song, a Lakota phrase of the week and Lakota weather words. All St. Joseph’s teachers encourage students to use Lakota phrases, and efforts are rewarded with a ticket, which is entered in a drawing for a prize. Posters with common phrases in Lakota can be found throughout the campus, helping students use Lakota beyond the classroom.

Lakota Language Assessment Testing occurs in approximately 50 schools across South Dakota that use language curriculum from the Lakota Language Consortium. Awards are given in elementary, middle school and high school categories. The awards were presented during the Annual Lakota Dakota Nakota Language Summit at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

Novice reflects on how religion and culture come together in Vietnam

Henry Nguyen

For two weeks in December Novices Henry Nguyen and Paul (Phong) Hoang traveled to the District of Vietnam with Fr. Ed Kilianski. Fr. Ed went to Vietnam to give a retreat and to meet with Fr. Francis Vu Tran (district superior) about collaborative projects for the future. Fr. Ed invited the novices to join him so that they could learn more about the SCJ congregation (Dehonians) outside of the United States.

For Henry, it was the first time that he visited the country of his parents’ birth. While there, he met relatives, including his grandmother, for the first time.  During his first week in Vietnam he wrote a reflection that was published on the province website. Click here to read it.

Back home, Henry reflected more fully on his time in Vietnam:

“During our trip to Vietnam I often allowed myself to be ‘moved by the Spirit’ (Constitution #23). Not only was this trip an intercultural experience for me but also an interreligious one as it reminded me of my time in my ‘Religious Experience in Context’ class at Catholic Theological Union.

“As we traveled around Vietnam, I saw how religion and culture intertwined. An experience that I had while at my Bác Yến’s house was praying for our ancestors by lighting incense and praying for them at the family’s altar in the living room. This is where I connected religion and culture as I was a Vietnamese Catholic and this was more Vietnamese with perhaps a Buddhist influence.”

Click here to read his full post: “American, Vietnamese and Catholic.”

Provincial’s time

Fr. Ed Kilianski began the 2018 provincial visitations last week, starting with the St. Joseph’s Community (4th Floor at SHML, plus the St. Francis Community on Woods Road). After some busy weeks of travel at the end of 2017, Fr. Ed is staying close to home for the start of the new year. 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.