Fr. Leo John Dehon was born 173 years ago today. Throughout the world March 14 is celebrated as “Founder’s Day” by the Priests of the Sacred Heart. It is a time not only to commemorate the birth of Fr. Dehon, but also to celebrate the vocations of all who feel called to the Dehonian charism, including members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart as well as lay and consecrated people who are a part of the wider “Dehonian Family.”
“There are occasions when we must give thanks in a very particular manner: the occasion of a conversion, for instance, or a special vocation to the priesthood or the religious life,” wrote Fr. Dehon in Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart. “How can we avoid expressing hymns of love and gratitude at the sight of this special love of the Sacred Heart when we feel its effects in such a striking manner?
“Yet, what ought to rouse our love and enthusiasm to the highest pitch is our vocation of devotion to the Sacred Heart. By this vocation, we become a spiritual vessel through the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus within us; a vessel of honor through the signal honor this Sacred Heart shows us by associating us with his life of reparation and stamping us with the salutary sign of the cross.”
Click here to read the full quote in the March 11 issue of Dehonian Spirituality.
Click here to download a PDF of the letter written by Fr. Heiner Wilmer, superior general, and his council, for Founder’s Day.
SCJ scholar contributes to first edition of La Bible Africaine
One of the first challenges of bringing the Word of God to others is ensuring that it is in a language –– literally and metaphorically –– that can be understood. It was with this goal in mind that the Daughters of St. Paul undertook a massive project: translating the African Bible not only into French, but French in an African context. One of the contributing scholars to the work was Fr. Joseph Mukuna, a member of Congolese Province currently doing post-graduate studies at Loyola University in Chicago. He is an alumnus of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s ESL program.
An estimated 120 million people in over 30 African nations speak French, “which means that there is no ‘single’ French-African culture or French-African race,” said Fr. Joseph. “However, as Alexis Kagame, one of the leading African philosophers suggests, it is possible to find commonalities in the diversity of Africa.
“Language, he says, is the best place to begin to identify and establish these commonalities. So, when talking to Africans one must develop, among other things, a good mastery of local languages with attention to idioms, slangs and other cultural nuances. We tried to incorporate these into the French tradition of the Bible.”
La Bible Africaine is enriched with commentaries and footnotes that reveal the wealth of African cultures.
Click here to read more about the project on the province website.
What time was that?
Last week we noted a panel discussion about migration and immigration that will take place on March 30 at the Provincial Conference Center. However, we neglected to state the time. The presentation runs from 9 am – noon.
Rachel Ida Buff, associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Louise Cainkar, associate professor of sociology at Marquette University, and Ed Fallone, associate professor at Marquette University Law School will engage in a panel discussion followed by audience questions and reactions. Their topic: the root causes of the flood of undocumented immigrants on the southern border of the United States and of refugees from the Middle East, and how people of faith can respond to fear, counter myths and be advocates of compassion in this Year of Mercy.
If you plan to attend please contact Mark Peters, province JPR director, at 414-427-4273.
On the blog
Following his “official” stops during the General Visitation with Fr. Heiner Wilmer, Fr. Stephen Huffstetter concluded his recent time in South America with a visit to Chile.
“Since I was already in South America, I extended the trip by a week to spend time getting to know our confreres in Chile, one of the provinces that I will accompany as general councilor,” wrote Fr. Steve on the province blog. “After five weeks traveling together, Fr. Heiner flew east to Africa, and I headed west. Normally I choose an aisle seat so I can stretch out and move around but since this was brand new territory for me, I booked a window seat and marveled looking out the window at the landscapes below. The flight first crossed vast Argentine farm and grasslands. The land abruptly rose as we approached the majestic rocky peaks of the Andes. Being summer, only the highest of summits remained snowcapped. Then we passed into the broad valley and sprawling Metropolis of Santiago, home to some seven million of Chile’s 17 million citizens.
“While I was waiting to go through passport control, the flight left me dry and I approached one of the pop machines. The $ symbol Chileans use for their peso is the same that you see for US dollars. When I saw the posted price of $1,000, I felt sticker shock, and decided I really was not very thirsty! With the exchange rate, it would have actually cost me a more reasonable $1.46.
“The SCJs in Chile number only 17, but make a good impact with their schools and parishes in the Santiago area. Dutch missionaries founded the province, and the elders in the community are from Holland and Luxembourg. Some came when they were newly ordained and have worked in Chile for over 50 years. During the Pinochet military coup during the 70s many were expelled from the country for a time because their work with the poor got them in trouble with the regime. The younger members are mostly Chileans, with international help from our provinces in Brazil and Poland… While the group may be small, they are filled with great hope, and I look forward to discovering ways I can support the good work they do.”
Click here to read Fr. Steve’s full report. After six weeks of travel, he is back in Rome.
20 Questions with Donna Dean
“Twenty Questions” is a regular feature in which SCJs and those with whom they minister and collaborate share a bit about themselves in an informal Q&A, each answering 20 questions. Last week we turned the spotlight on Donna Dean, Executive Director of Corporate Services for St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota (previously she was Human Resources Director). Along with her many years at St. Joe’s, Donna has also been a member of the Province Dehonian Family Committee and has served on the organizational team of several Mission Education Conferences.
Click here to read about how Donna rode the famed mechanical bull at Gilley’s, as well as other tidbits about the long-time St. Joe’s employee.
The Province Treasurer’s Office reminds budget prepares that budgets are due to the Provincial Treasurer’s Office by March 25. And since that is Good Friday, you may want to try to have the budget done a few days earlier. Please respect the timelines. Not only do the budgets need to be reviewed by the Treasurer’s Office, but also by the Province Finance Committee before they are considered by the Provincial Council.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Joe Dean was hospitalized last week for a virulent strain of cellulitis. He is now out of the hospital but will remain in Pierre, SD, to receive a twice daily infusion of antibiotics on an out-patient basis for the next one to two weeks. A diocesan priest has welcomed Fr. Joe as his guest at his rectory in Fort Pierre while he undergoes treatment. Please keep Fr. Joe in your prayers.
+Bishop Andreas Henrisoesanto died in Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 10. He was 80 years old. Many SCJs in the United States knew the bishop as a classmate in Rome. Bishop Henrisoesanto professed first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1956, was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 and consecrated bishop in 1975. He was named bishop of the Diocese of Tanjung Karang in 1979.
+Fr. Expedito Barbos Macedo, a member of the Brazil – Recife Province, died on March 7. He was born in 1926, professed in 1943 and ordained in 1951.
+Bishop William R. Houck, bishop emeritus of Jackson, MS, died March 9. Many SCJs knew him from his involvement with Sacred Heart Southern Missions during his tenure as Jackson bishop. He had also served as president of the Catholic Extension. The bishop was 89. Click here to read his obituary on the website of the Diocese of Jackson.
+ Carlotta “Charlie” Gomez Stempien, the wife of former SCJ Peter Stempien, died March 6. Click here to read the obituary on the Houston Chronicle website.
Saying good-bye to Fr. Ray
Click here to view photos from last week’s Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Ray Vega.
Letter to the editor about a letter to the editor
Fr. Bernie Rosinski recently had a letter to the editor published in the Mitchell Daily Republic that was written in response to a letter published in the paper a week earlier. The original letter, written by Eric Nase, discredited several passages in the Bible, such as the crucifixion and the story of Mary and Joseph going the Bethlehem for the census.
Point by point Fr. Bernie responds to Mr. Nase’s statements.
Click here to read Eric Nase’s Letter to the Editor.
Click here to read Fr. Bernie Rosinski’s response to it.
The Provincialate Offices will be closed starting Thursday afternoon, March 24 (at 2 pm) through Monday, March 28 for Easter. There will be no Fridge Notes the week of March 28.
March 14-15 Fr. Ed will take part in the Local Superiors Meeting in Hales Corners, and March 16 he and the Provincial Council meet. March 22-23 he has a visitation with the communities at St. Francis Residence and Dehon House. March 30 through April 7 Fr. Ed will be in Houston.
International Dehonian Vocations Day
As noted at the beginning of this week’s Fridge Notes, today is Founder’s Day, a celebration of the birth of Fr. Leo John Dehon, as well those called to live and follow the Dehonian charism.
The following prayer is based on the formula for the profession of vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart and was published in March 11 issue of Dehonian Spirituality:
For God’s glory alone,
I wish to embody the sentiments
of the Heart of Jesus
and offer myself with him
as a living sacrifice of love.
To accomplish this most beneficially,
I unite myself to the Dehonian Family
with all my heart.
With the grace of the Holy Spirit
and the encouragement of Mary,
model of our life of oblation,
may we together
serve God by lovingly serving God’s people.