For almost two years, Fr. Dharma, an SCJ priest in India, has been raising funds and putting in “sweat equity” to build a church for the people of Nambur, a small village tucked far away from his country’s well-known cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
“Because of a shortage of religious personnel and resources, Nambur was not ministered to by the Catholic Church for almost 40 years,” said Fr. Dharma. “Many people drifted away to other faiths.”
But now that the SCJs have assumed care for the area people are returning to the Church.
“When I first came only five people were at Mass,” said Fr. Dharma. “Now we have 300.”
The U.S. Province is one of the primary contributors to the developing Sacred Heart church in Nambur. Last week, Fr. Dharma wrote with an update:
“Dear Fr. Tom Cassidy, I hope you are fine by the grace of God. Here are pictures of our church in progress; at present we are putting the marble in the church and in to the presbytery. The carpentry work is also in progress. All the grills are ready, they just need to be affixed. The marble work may take about two weeks more. When we complete the inside work, we will finish the church tower. Thank you very much for your support and give greetings to all our benefactors who have supported us.”
A successful year
For the past three years the U.S. Province has sponsored a school in Vietnam for the children of poor, immigrant workers near Ho Chi Minh City. Through the donated efforts of many, “Huong Tam” allows children who otherwise could not afford it to go to school to get an education. Without Huong Tam, many of its students would be spending their days on the streets.
Br. Nguyen Van Luong, a Vietnamese SCJ student, sent a write-up on the school’s end-of-the-year celebration, along with a few photos.
“The [May 24] celebration was organized by teachers and SCJ seminarians,” wrote Br. Nguyen. “In attendance were Fr. Dong, the parish priest, the school’s six teachers, two SCJ seminarians, local government authorities, 200 students and their parents.
“Speaking about the past year, the school’s director said that in general, the students were doing very well. There are six classes from pre-school to grade 5. Among the 200 students were 100 who got ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ marks.
“Fr. Dong encouraged the students to study even more diligently in the following year and the teachers to keep their commitment to the school. He also gave them some simple gifts. Fr. Dong also addressed remarks to the government leaders present. He requested that, if possible, a bigger piece of land be granted to relocate the school (now it operates in a rented facility), so that the students can have more space to study and for other activities.
“One of the local government officials said that he would try to provide some support to help this school. He is very happy with the school and he was proud of it.
“It was a wonderful ceremony celebrating the end of a good year. All were thankful to the teachers, the SCJ community, and especially the benefactors who make the school possible.”
Click here to see the full story on the province website.
ESL summer program
The summer ESL program got underway earlier this month. Among this year’s students is Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño Martin, the regional superior of Venezuela.
Click here to see the names and photos of the rest of this summer’s students.
• On August 14 Justin Krenke will be received into the novitiate during a 5 p.m. Adoration service at Sacred Heart School of Theology. All SCJs are welcome to attend; no formal invitations will be sent.
• James Nguyen and Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas will make their first profession of vows during a 10:30 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart School of Theology on August 15. Invitations went in the mail last week.
• The North American Conference will be September 24-27 in Hales Corners, Wis. SCJs in Canada and the United States are asked to RSVP to the conference by July 31. A response form was included with the mailed invitation. SCJs can also go to the Members section of the US Province website (www.sacredheartusa.org) to fill out an online response form in either English or French.
Joe Webb, the last class president of Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary died June 28 of cancer. Classmates share the following reflections on Joe:
“Joe and I met at Lanesboro in 1981,” writes Fr. Stephen Krugel. “We were together for the year 1981-82 and on February 22, 1982, we became postulants with the SCJs together with Father (now Msgr.) Mike as our postulant director. Joe chose not to enter novitiate; however, we did keep in touch and in 2002 he asked me to officiate at his wedding with Jane Maguire. I learned in May that Joe had cancer and at first I was going to visit him when I made my retreat in October, as each year when I made my retreat we would get together. Jane told me that he might not last that long so then I made plans to visit him for the 4th of July. Needless to say God had other plans.”
Mike Shuler remembers that “Joe was an avid Red Sox fan and lived in the Boston area until his passing. He was a really lovable guy. My first meeting with Joe was at our school’s first reunion in 2005. He would let me know when he was going to be in the Pittsburgh area and when he was, my wife Sue and I would travel into the city to meet with him. He was in the area a few months back but at the last minute was not able to get together. I wish so much now that I was able to see him just for that one time. He left behind his wife, Jane Maguire. He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends, and by the SCJ community.
Click here for Joe’s obituary.
REMINDER: books about the founder available
The Spirit and Life of Fr. Dehon, 15 Days of Prayer with the Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, as well as Leo Dehon: A Passion for Christ, A Passion for the World (English translation by Fr. P.J. McGuire of the biography by French SCJ Fr. André Perroux), are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you are interested in copies please contact Nancy Gray, province administrative assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-427-4261.