Tradition of dialogue continues
Continuing a tradition begun in 1996, the administrations of the U.S. Province and Canadian Region met on November 9th to discuss common concerns, update each other on the ministries and communities within the two entities, and dialogue on issues of the worldwide congregation. Alternating venues, the two groups have been meeting together approximately every six months. The November meeting was held at the newly remodeled Dehon House in Ottawa, Canada. The group last met in May at the Chicago formation community.
The November gathering began on a somber note. The meeting was adjusted to allow for SCJs to attend the funeral of Fr. Peter Botman, a member of the Canadian Region. The Canadian administration, as well as Fr. Tom Cassidy of the U.S. Province, were at the Tuesday morning funeral at St. Joan of Arc Church, the parish at which Fr. Peter served as pastor for many years.
It was Fr. Peter’s death that sparked conversations during the meeting about the changing face of the SCJs in North America. Both entities have a smaller, older population than in the past. “It can be said that we are declining,” said one SCJ, “but our attitude doesn’t need to follow suit.” Several at the meeting agreed that this might be a good opportunity to revisit the idea of a more collaborative relationship between the Canadian and U.S. SCJs.
Other issues discussed included an update on Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, the possibility of developing an international community (the Canadian Region is exploring options for such a community in Toronto), the European Conference on Secularity (Frs. Bill Marrevee and Tom Cassidy attended the October conference in Belgium), future uses for Maison Dehon (the former hospice for those living with HIV/AIDS is available), vocations (if personal invitation is the most effective means of developing vocations to the community how can SCJs become more comfortable and skilled in making such invitations?), and Fr. Cassidy’s and Mary Gorski’s recent contacts with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Also, the administrations talked about the 2013 general visitation to the United States and Canada; most likely this will take place in fall. Frs. José Ornelas Carvalho (general superior) and John van den Hengel (general councilor) hope to organize their visitation of both entities at approximately the same time. The visitations would conclude with a conference, though on a smaller scale than what has been done in Asia and Europe. Suggested as a possible focus for the gathering: a more collaborative SCJ presence in North America. A committee with members from both entities will be established to prepare the assembly.
The next meeting of the North American councils will be May 2-3, 2012, at the new Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Franklin, Wis.
Minutes from the November 9th meeting will be made available to SCJs in North America later this week.
Last week Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Virginio Bressanelli as Bishop of Neuquen, Argentina. Bishop Virginio is the fourth bishop of the diocese, which was established in 1961. He replaces Monsignor Marcelo Melani Angiolo, who retired.
Former general superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, Bishop Virginio was born in the small town of Berabevú, in southern Argentina, on May 1, 1942. Ordained a priest in 1966, he was elected as superior general in 1991. Fr. Tom Cassidy, U.S. provincial, served as a general councilor during both of Bishop Virginio’s six-year terms.
In 2005 he was named bishop of Comodoro Rivadavia, and 2010, coadjutor bishop of Neuquén.
In the Episcopal Conference of Argentina he chairs the Episcopal Commission on Consecrated Life, and last week was named the conference’s vice president.
Bishop Virginio’s motto is: “Aquí estoy, O Dios, para hacer you voluntad.” [“Here I am, O God, I do your will.”]
Fr. Edmond Ribot, a member of the Franco-European Province, died November 12. He was born in 1917, professed in 1952 and ordained in 1958.
Joe Schmalz, the father of Jo Calcagino, Fr. Jan de Jong’s administrative assistant at Sacred Heart School of Theology, died November 8.
In honor of last week’s Veterans’ Day (November 11), St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D., posted an update on three of its graduates who now serve in the armed forces. They are identified by their first name:
Lolita – After graduating eighth grade at St. Joseph’s Indian School and completing high school, Lolita enlisted in the United States Navy. She is currently stationed in Japan, where they are involved in helping clean up the country after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
“Lolita loves living in Japan!” said Dianne, who was Lolita’s mentor at St. Joseph’s. “She will be there approximately two more years. It’s so fun to see her doing well and hear all she has learned about the country, its people (her best friend is Japanese) and the food (she loves sushi!). I am very proud of Lolita and hope she continues to do well!
JT – A 2005 graduate of St. Joseph’s high school program, JT served four years in the United States Navy as an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate and is now continuing his education. He is attending WyoTech’s Fremont, California campus for Residential Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
In recent years, JT has visited St. Joseph’s while on leave, sharing his Navy experiences with junior high students and encouraging them to reach for their dreams. “Whether it’s a military career, college or other training, you can do it,” he said. “If I can, so can you.”
Leighton – After graduating eighth grade at St. Joseph’s Indian School in 1997, Leighton returned to his hometown to finish high school. He was determined to join the Army. Leighton worked hard and studied with a tutor to pass the ASVAB exam. He attributes his military success to the love, support and guidance from St. Joseph’s caring staff.
“One morning, I received a phone call from a voice I didn’t recognize,” said Maija, one of Leighton’s houseparents when he was at St. Joe’s. “It was Leighton. He called to say thanks for helping him out and teaching him so much while at St. Joe’s. He told me he was platoon leader and could clean better than anyone because of his experience in our home!”
Thanks and prayers to all who have served in the armed forces.
There are still a few “Songs of the Heart” CDs left. Filled with music written and performed by Philippine SCJ Fr. Arthur P. Guevara, it is a fund-raiser for the Kasanag Daughters Foudnation, a place of healing for sexually abused girls and young women. The songs were recorded with members of the Philippine group “Frontline Creations,” and other local artists.
The Provincialate has a limited number of the CDs; contact Mary Gorski to receive a copy. If you would like to make a donation for the Kasanag Daughters Foundation, you can do so through the Provincial Treasurer’s Office. Checks should be written to “Priests of the Sacred Heart” with a notation on the check in reference to Kasanag. The mailing address is P.O. Box 289, Hales Corners, WI 53130-0289 (attention Dn. David Nagel).
Fr. Tom Cassidy returned to the States from Canada and did a visitation with the Chicago formation community over the weekend. He will be in Mississippi this week for a visitation there. And after spending Thanksgiving week at home, will go to Pinellas Park for a visitation.
Upcoming meetings and events:
November 14-16: SCJ Retreat, Pinellas Park
December 14-15: Provincial Council Meeting
April 15: Easter Concert at Sacred Heart Monastery/School of Theology
May 15: Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, SHM/SHST
June 15: Feast of the Sacred Heart