A time to remember
November begins with two special days of remembrance in the Church, the feasts of All Saints (November 1) and All Souls (November 2). The Sacred Heart Monastery community will once again host a commemoration service on All Souls to remember deceased members of the congregation. Prayer at the Sacred Heart Mausoleum (behind Sacred Heart Monastery) will begin at 1 p.m.
Since last year’s remembrance, three members of the U.S. Province and one member of the Canadian Region have died: Fr. Richard Zelonis (January 3), Fr. Michael van der Peet (April 21), Br. Larry Gauthier (May 8) and Fr. Paul Vernooy (July 30).
Originally from Niagara Falls, NY, Fr. Richard, 81, had been a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart since 1975. He was a 1978 graduate of Sacred Heart School of Theology and was ordained in 1979. He had ministered in Texas, Mississippi, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and in his home town of Niagara Falls.
Fr. Michael, a Dutch immigrant to the United States, was professed in 1946 and ordained in 1953. He taught for many years in province seminaries before devoting much of his life to retreat ministry and spiritual direction. Many remember him for his friendship with Mother Teresa. Fr. Michael not only corresponded with the founder of the Missionaries of Charity on a regular basis but also gave retreats to her religious community.
Br. Larry entered the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1952 and dedicated his life to service of the province. He first worked on the farms that supported the seminaries and later did carpentry and maintenance for SCJ communities and ministries in Wisconsin and Texas. He was originally from Montana.
Fr. Paul, a member of the Canadian Region, professed vows in 1959 and was ordained in 1966. After many years of parish ministry in Canada and the United States, including serving as associate pastor at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary parish in Franklin, Wis. (now St. Martin of Tours), he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Fr. Paul lived with the disease for 20 years before his death at an assisted care facility in Toronto.
Click here to view a necrology of the province.
Preparing for religious life and ministry
“What attracts me to the Priests of the Sacred Heart is that members of the community are loving and caring toward one another,” wrote Anthony Nguyen, a first-year candidate with the U.S. Province. “You never feel like you are alone because the community is there for you; we pray for and support one another.”
“There are two fundamental things that attracted me to the Priests of the Sacred Heart,” added Frater Fernando Orozco, SCJ, one of two newly professed members of the U.S. Province. “First, I like the way that we take care of each other. I really feel support from the community; I feel welcome and I have come to believe that God takes care of me through this community. Second, the SCJs offer so many opportunities in pastoral and educational experiences which allow me to grow in knowledge, but also, to grow in my faith and vocation.”
In the U.S. Province, men preparing for religious life and ministry with the Priests of the Sacred Heart generally live and study in Chicago. The Dehon Formation Community, located in Chicago’s Hyde Park area, includes candidates, novices and professed SCJs. Most are in formation –– undergraduate and theology students. Some are members of the formation team, including directors of the college and theology programs, as well as the novice master.
Recently, we asked the students to introduce themselves. Click here to read their stories.
We also asked members of the formation team to do the same.
“What attracts me to the SCJs is that I believe that our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, took the heart of the gospel of Jesus and said: ‘this is what our community is going to be about.'” wrote Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, novice master. “Jesus’ life was spent in loving, available obedience to His Father. Jesus came to this earth to ‘show us the face of God’ as Joseph Ratzinger said in his book about Jesus. Jesus spent his life doing the will of the Father so we could come to believe that we have a God who loves us tremendously and wants us just to love Him back and to show that love for Him by showing love for one another, especially those of us whose condition in life makes it so difficult to believe that we have a God who loves us.
“When I left home, I did so because I believed God wanted me to be a priest. I feel I grew into understanding what it meant to be an SCJ religious. Now I don’t know how else to live. This is where God wants me to be and I am truly blessed.”
To read the formation directors’ stories, click here.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Steve Wiese has returned to the Congregational Home (Room 1270) after being hospitalized for knee replacement surgery.
ESL alumnus named bishop
Fr. Blaise Nzeyimana, who was a student in the 2010 ESL (English as a Second Language) summer program, was named bishop of the Diocese of Ruyigi in Burundi. The bishop-elect is one of several Burundi priests whom the province has hosted in Sacred Heart School of Theology’s ESL program.
“I am pleased that the province has been able to help the mission church of Burundi,” said Fr. Tom Cassidy, provincial superior. “That we are able to host priests and religious from there is just one way we can carry on the mission spirit of our congregation.”
Bishop-elect Blaise Nzeyimana, 56, has held a variety of administrative posts in the Archdiocese of Gitega, including his current positions as a member of the Joint Committee of the Church of Tanzania and Burundi for Refugees, as well as secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Clergy.
November 3-4: Provincial Council Meeting
November 6: Blessing of the new rectory at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Houston
November 20: Frater Greg Schill’s diaconate ordination at Sacred Heart School of Theology
December 14-15: Provincial Council Meeting
Fr. Tom Cassidy starts the week in Chicago for a visitation with the formation community. November 3-4 he has council meetings at the Provincialate. November 10-12 he will be in Washington, D.C., for meetings with CMSM and LCWR.
During the recent Major Superiors Meeting in Rome, Fr. Tom wrote several letters “back home.” Click here to access them.
Photos and reports from the meeting are available on the congregational website. Click here. The daily reports are in Italian, but there are several supplemental documents (such as Fr. General’s opening homily) in English under the reports section. Photos from the gathering are available under the reports tab.