Weekly news: March 18, 2013

A photo published by the New York Daily News the night Pope Francis was introduced to the people
A photo published by the New York Daily News the night Pope Francis was introduced to the people

SCJ takes part in historic moment

“While working on my thesis, I had the Vatican site open on my computer because I wanted to be part of the conclave, part of such an important piece of history,” wrote Fr. Francis Vu Tran, a member of the U.S. Province studying in Rome.Around 7:00 p.m. I heard the screaming and yelling then saw white smoke appear on my computer screen. I left everything and ran out, “We have a pope!”

Fr. Francis Vu Tran
Fr. Francis Vu Tran

“As I shouted to my brother priests in the hallway I ran toward the Vatican. I ran as fast as I could because I wanted to witness this moment, a moment of great joy. I got to the Vatican after 15 minutes of running. When I got there, the crowd had filled St. Peter’s Square. Every direction was blocked. No one was allowed to get into the square because it had been filled with people. I had never seen so many people in my life…

“Having been in Italy for three years, I know how to get through a line even when there is no possible way to do so. I was determined to see the new Papa. I climbed through the fence and got through an ocean of people to get near the top…

“I was so moved when he asked us to be silent and pray for him because we are on a journey together. It was the beginning of the relationship between the bishop and his people. As he bowed low to receive the blessing, the noise disappeared. At that moment, I felt so in touch with the Pope. The goose bumps ran through my body as I closed my eyes to pray for Pope Francis.

“After a few seconds, the Pope gave us his first blessing. He left the stage, but the effect of his presence was still with us. We stood in awe because we just witnessed a moment of Grace, a moment of being in touch with God.”

Click here to read Fr. Francis’ full text on the province website.


Bishop Virginio said that as cardinal of Buenos Aires he never spent Holy Thursday at the cathedral; he always went to wash the feet of the poor. He is pictured here doing just that. The photo is from an online album published by CNN at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/16/world/europe/vatican-new-pope/?hpt=hp_t2
Bishop Virginio said that as cardinal of Buenos Aires Pope Francis never spent Holy Thursday at the cathedral; he always went to wash the feet of the poor. He is pictured here doing just that. The photo is from an online album published by CNN at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/16/world/europe/vatican-new-pope/?hpt=hp_t2

Bishop Bressanelli reflects on Pope Francis

When the world learned that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was now Pope Francis I, many SCJs quickly thought of Bishop Virginio Bressanelli. The former superior general is now bishop of Neuquén, Argentina and has served as vice president of the Argentine Bishops Conference. Did he know the cardinal? Did he have any thoughts on the Argentine’s election as pope?

Many people contacted Bishop Bressanelli for his comments. Click here to view his initial thoughts after Pope Francis’ election.

A few days after those first comments were posted, Bishop Bressanelli did a more extensive interview with the German Province. In it he said that Cardinal Bergoglio “was a great pastor, a great bishop, a true leader in the church in Argentina…

“I’ve known him since the 1980s. We lived in the same city [San Miguel] in Buenos Aires, 40 kilometers [about 25 miles] from the capital of Argentina. I was a formator and he was rector of the Jesuits’ seminary. Then I saw him in Rome at the 2001 Synod. He was already a cardinal in Buenos Aires and I was superior general of our congregation…

“I’ve always seen him as a teacher and as a counselor. I have often discussed pastoral problems with him. He is a man who listens with great attention. He then takes a long time of silence before speaking. He practices good Jesuit discernment.

“I am one of the seven bishops in Patagonia, a vast region that is about one third of Argentina. Patagonia has few priests. Many areas are inhospitable. We often lack human and material resources. Cardinal Bergoglio was close and always helped us. He promoted a sense of mission in his priests by sending the best. He would not send us just anyone. His policy was to send priests who were balanced, and filled with apostolic zeal and a good spiritual life. He also helped us economically. We have our seminarians in Buenos Aires, at the Theological Faculty of the Catholic University of Argentina, due to the fact that Cardinal Bergoglio loaned us a big house without cost and also paid the tuition of our seminarians at the university. We hope that his successor will continue this.”

Click here to read more from the interview on the province website.

When is that?

A reminder to SCJs in the U.S. Province: the Province Election Assembly will begin at noon (not 4:30) on Monday, June 3. Feast of the Sacred Heart is on Friday, June 7. SCJs are always welcome to be a part of the annual feast-day celebration at Sacred Heart Monastery.

The North American Conference, which concludes Fr. General’s visitation of Canada and the United States, will begin with prayer on Tuesday, September 24 at 4:30 p.m., and conclude with lunch on Friday, September 27.

The jubilee celebrations for the U.S. Province will Monday, September 23


Br. Lenny Zaworski
Br. Lenny Zaworski

Br. Leonard Zaworski recently received word from the National Federation of the Blind that his transcription submission was accepted. This means that he will receive a Library of Congress certificate next month.

Last June, Br. Lenny began taking Braille lessons. Certification, which involved submitting a 35-page Braille translation to the NFB, allows him to now serve as a transcriber volunteer with ABLE (Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement).

“Now I am part of ABLE’s small group of volunteers that transcribes textbooks, novels, recipes, menus and many other items,” said Br. Lenny. “I visited ABLE yesterday (at the Milwaukee Public Library) and received my first project to work on, a 368 page book.”

Like us!

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 11.12.17 AMOverheard at last week’s Local Superiors Meeting:

“I didn’t know that we had a Facebook page.”

Yes, the U.S. Province does have a Facebook page and you do not need to be a member of Facebook to view it (though you do have to be a member to make comments on the page)

News items and photos are often posted on the Facebook page in-between issues of the Fridge Notes. It’s also where many people from outside of the congregation learn about the Priests of the Sacred Heart. For instance, the formation community biographies posted last fall received almost 55,000 views through Facebook.

Click here to visit the province Facebook page. If you are a Facebook member, please “like us” and share the page with friends. Spread news of the community with others.

Reconciliation a theme for SCJ founder, and for new pope

The Founder's Day display in the chapel at the Generalate in Rome. Fr. Łukasz Ogórek shared the photo.
The Founder’s Day display in the chapel at the Generalate in Rome. Fr. Łukasz Ogórek shared the photo.

As we noted last week, March 14, the birth date of Fr. Leo John Dehon, is celebrated as Founder’s Day in the congregation. In his homily during a special Mass at Sacred Heart School of Theology commemorating the day, Fr. Jim Walters reflected both on the founder and on the previous day’s announcement of a new pope.

“Yesterday we witnessed a historic moment as Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina became our new holy father, Pope Francis, the first pope from Latin America,” said Fr. Jim. “What struck me, and I’m sure touched many, was his first act as pope: to humbly bow his head and ask for the prayers of the throngs of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“It was an act of a selfless servant, aware of his own weaknesses and in need of the prayers of the Church to strengthen and guide him in his ministry.

“The title given a pope is ‘pontifex maximus,’ which literally translates as ‘the greatest builder of bridges.’ It was clear that his fellow cardinals saw in him a man who could build bridges by reconciling divergent views and divisive factions within the Church…

“Today we remember the birthday of the founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Leo John Dehon. As SCJs we are called to be ‘prophets of love and servants of reconciliation.’ Fr. Dehon believed that reconciliation was more than forgiveness of another person since it involved two parties which must be equally willing to offer as well as accept forgiveness…

“And so we find ourselves, like Moses, like Pope Francis, before God, pleading for forgiveness both for ourselves and for one another. For each of us, whether pope, priest, religious, seminarian or lay person, we are called to both offer and receive forgiveness in the midst of a world diverse in ethnic groups, religious traditions, and social classes, divided by factions, envy, ignorance and intolerance. The journey of this Lenten season calls us to be reconcilers even as we are reconciled.”

Provincial’s time

Fr. Tom Cassidy is in Phoenix this week, visiting family (and catching a few spring training games). He’ll be there until March 21.

Thinking of the many SCJs who have served the Franklin Fire Department (including Fr. Charlie Bisgrove, who was the department chaplain for many years), Fr. Tom invites Fridge Notes readers to help the Franklin Fire Department win the IKEA and Family Handyman Magazine’s “Fire Station Makeover” context.

If Franklin wins, it will allow the department to have a $25,000 kitchen repair and makeover at no expense to tax payers. Vote by March 30 at www.rescueremodel.com.