Weekly News: March 9, 2020

Commemorating the birth of the founder

“In the legacy left to us by Fr. Dehon, with the limits of each person and culture, we can recognize a genuine ‘school of perspective,’” wrote Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, in his letter for March 14, the anniversary of the birth (1843) of Fr. Leo John Dehon.  “He found the best patrimony: the Heart of Christ! With Him he learned to love the Father’s plan and to go out of himself to observe the Church and the society of his time with authentic passion. This was how Fr. Dehon, rooted in the most cordial of possible perspectives, discovered a horizon of faces to love and repair. However, the interior and apostolic dynamics that characterized him was not improvised. It was the result of intense research and continuous discernment that characterized his life: ‘It is a state of mind that must form in us, a disposition to go to the men, to the people, with all the means available’.

“The memory of our Founder pushes us to deal with this ‘state of mind that must form in us’ (DRD 16/7)Throughout his life we learn that, from beginning to the end, it is a question of disposing ourselves to the reception of divine action in a permanent way: ‘Cor Iesu, quid me vis facere? Heart of Jesus, what do you want me to do?’ (NHV 5/2). Only with questions like this does personal and community existence manage to maintain itself in the fruitful dynamic of the Spirit, who continues to present in our different ‘here and now’ so many realities to love and so many situations where we can share our reparative vocation: ‘Have we loved contemporary society enough not to maintain an attitude of discontentment?’”

Click here to access the full letter in a variety of languages. At the same link you can also download a prayer service and a poster for the day, each with a focus on vocations.

“March has always been a special month for members of the Dehonian Family: we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, the feast of the ‘Ecce Venio’ and the ‘Ecce Ancilla’, and joyfully remember the birth of our Founder and his baptism,” write members of the general administration on the congregation’s website. “It is precisely in this month that we celebrate a day for Dehonian vocations, an occasion ‘to remember a man who, through his approach to God and his understanding of the Kingdom of God, generated a movement that continues today” (Bishop José Ornelas Carvalho, 2015).


Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ, has been in Colombia with family since October, 2019, when he went to his home country to update immigration documents. He has been unable to return to the United States. The province has worked with legal experts and government officials but is currently at an impasse. Fr. Juancho has been assigned to parish ministry in Bahia, Ecuador, at Fr. General’s suggestion. This does not close the door on Fr. Juancho’s return to the United States; it is an assignment will allow him to return to community. Please continue to keep him in prayer during this time of transition.

Budget reminder

Budget preparers are reminded that budgets are due to the Provincial Treasurer’s Office by April 3. Questions regarding budget preparation can be directed to anyone in the Treasurer’s Office: Kevin Stanke, John Kuxhause or Dn. David Nagel. Preparers are asked to be mindful of the deadline so that the Finance Commission has adequate time to review the budgets prior to distribution to the Provincial Council.

Province events

Invitations to the US Province Assembly will be sent by email later today. Local superiors are asked to ensure that all members of their community receive the invitation, including those without email addresses. The assembly is scheduled for June 9-12, with the Province Jubilee Celebration on Monday, June 8.  The planning committee includes: Fr. Quang Nguyen (chairperson), Fr. Andrzej Sudol, Fr. Ziggy Morawiec and Frater Paul Hoang.

The next Province Election Assembly has been scheduled for July 26-30, 2021. These and other dates can be found in the online North American Google Calendar.

Have something to submit for the calendar. Click here.

Fr. Ron Cloutier ministering to inmates [photo credit: Texas Catholic Herald]

Correctional Ministries director has roots with the SCJs

At the end of 2019, Fr. Ron Cloutier, a priest with the Archdiocese of Galveston – Houston, retired from his position as director of Correctional Ministries for the archdiocese. Before pursuing his call to diocesan ministry, Fr. Ron was a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart from 1963 – 1983; he was ordained in 1972.

“It’s time for me to be paroled,” said Fr. Ron in an article in the Texas Catholic Herald (February 11, 2020; Jo Ann Zuñiga, reporter).

“At 76 years old, with 47 of those years as a priest, Fr. Cloutier said he will remain active both in celebrating Masses and traveling across the country to consult with other dioceses setting up their own prison ministries,” continued the article. “’Texas is such a role model for ministering to those in prison. We are far ahead of the rest of the nation,’ So after I rest up a bit, I’m going to Maine and also Charleston, South Carolina, to consult with those dioceses about prototypes.

“Under his chaplaincy, there were 10 county jails, 23 state jails and prisons, one federal prison and an immigration detention center. ‘In one year, we celebrated 700 Masses with volunteer priests and 900 Communion services at the units,’ he said.”

Click here to read the full article on the Texas Catholic Herald website.

A photo taken during the previous phase of SHSST / SHM remodeling

Sacred Heart remodeling project update

Invitations for bids on the remodeling of Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology have been sent; a general contractor is to be selected on March 31. Move-out is to take place May 4-9 and demolition is to begin on May 11. It is hoped that most of the significant (loud) work can be done in-between school sessions so that it is less disruptive.

Classroom work is to be completed by mid-August. Work on the third and fourth floors is to be done in October with the final date to be determined by the general contractor. Several options are being reviewed for student housing. There will be no May session at SHSST; housing needs will begin with the first summer session of ECS.

Among the tasks to be accomplished during this phase of the renovation are new student rooms with private baths, a new rector’s suite, updated classrooms and offices, and extended fire abatement systems.


Mary Balistreri, Province Director of Healthcare Services, prepared an information sheet last week regarding the Coronavirus; it includes guidelines about safe hygiene practices. Click here to access the PDF. Questions? Contact Mary at: mbalistreri@usprovince.org

Hometown paper honors Fr. Frank

Fr. Frank Burshnick, SCJ, who died on February 21, was remembered with a front-page article in his hometown paper, the Forest City News. The March 4 feature noted that in 2009, Fr. Frank was honored with the “Forest City Area Distinguished Citizen Award.” Receiving it, he was quoted as saying:

“I’ve enjoyed my life, even though it has been with some struggles and I am grateful for having been born in Forest City and raised with my siblings with deep values.”

Click here to access a PDF of the front page.

Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, superior of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, noted that a Memorial Mass for Fr. Frank was held at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Clearwater, FL, on March 4. Seven diocesan priests and three SCJs concelebrated. Approximately 150 people from parishes where Fr. Frank assisted, were present. “His heart was a heart of love after the charism of his religious order, the Priests of the Sacred Heart,” said Fr. Mike Muhr, parochial administrator. “Ever since I arrived at St. Brendan’s I’ve heard stories of his generosity, his personal care and pastoral presence with so many.”

Fr. Charles with sabbatical students in South Africa

Postcards from South Africa and South Dakota

Fr. Charles Brown, SCJ, assistant professor of Scripture Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, was in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, last week giving presentations that are a part of the sabbatical program sponsored by the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The focus of his talks: pastoral spirituality and theology based on scriptural texts. “This has been a marvelous group to work with!” wrote Fr. Charles. He is pictured third from the right in the back row (top photo).

Fr. Praveen Kumar Richard, SCJ, shared the lower photo of himself with his first baptism in South Dakota. Fr. Praveen has been assisting with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team.

Fr. Praveen after his first baptism in South Dakota

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