The Provincial Offices will be closed Thursday and Friday (November 24 – 25) for Thanksgiving. Offices will re-open on Monday, November 28.
Continuing a yearly tradition, the retirement community in Franklin –– now the Sacred Heart community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake –– will host the Dehon Formation Community for the holiday meal. “It’s a wonderful way for our province ‘bookends’ –– some of the oldest and youngest members of the community –– to spend time together and get to know each other better,” said Br. Duane Lemke, director of the formation community.
Fr. Guillaume (Bill) van den Berg, a former member of Canadian Region, died November 20 in the Netherlands. From 1974 to 1980 Fr. Bill served as provincial superior of what was then the French Canadian Province.
Born on July 26, 1931, in the Netherlands, Fr. Bill made his first profession on September 8, 1952, and was ordained a priest in Nijmegen on July 19, 1959. He came to Canada in 1961. Fr. Bill served as province mission secretary for a year and then was a hospital chaplain successively at Marie-Clarac Hospital (1964-1971), at a conglomeration of 11 private hospitals in north Montréal (1971-1986), at Hotel-Dieu Hospital in Montréal (1986-1993) and finally at Fleury Hospital (1993-1996).
In the French Canadian Province he also served as prefect of studies, provincial councilor, local treasurer for the Montréal community, and as noted, provincial superior.
Fr. Bill retired to the Dutch Province in 1996 and continued part time pastoral ministry in The Hague until a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer. With deteriorating health, he moved to the SCJs’ community in Asten in September.
Also, please remember Br. Alfonso Pedrini, a member of the South Brazilian Province, who died November 15. He was born in 1928 and professed in 1947.
First English, now Tagalog
“Just as Jesus sent people two by two, we are sent to share the Gospel in the Philippines,” said Frater Sergio Matumoto.
As noted in the Fridge Notes in October, Sergio, along with fellow classmate, Frater Jonathan Schneiders, have been sent together by the Central Brazilian Province to join the SCJ mission in the Philippines.
Their first stop on the way to Asia was Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., where they spent several months in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program. They are now in Davao, a city in the southern part of the Philippines, where they are studying Tagalog, one of the indigenous languages of the country. In June they will begin their theology studies.
“We are preparing to be ordained for the mission that we will serve,” said Jonathan.
English will be the primary language for study, but Tagalog will allow the seminarians to do pastoral ministry.
Jonathan recently wrote with an update on the Brazilians’ experience in the Philippines, including a few comments about their new home.
“Davao has 1 million habitants and the large majority are Christians,” he wrote. “There are many festivals here and religious traditions. People are very devoted. The malls have Sunday Masses — can you believe it? Next Sunday I’m going to Mass in the mall. I would never imagine something like that. But here they do it.
“Is Tagalog harder than learning English? Well, there is no verb that means “to be,” and there are no C, V, F or Z letters. Every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. I work intensely just to learn the structure of the non-verb sentences. Next Monday we will see verbs for the first time. Tagalog must be spoken from the end to the beginning, so, instead of “the house is yellow,” I have to say “yellow is the house” – and, without a verb.
“And then there are the sounds! Some are so foreign to me that they make me laugh.”
An article, including Jonathan’s update, has been posted on the province website. Click here to read it.
“Can’t avoid the cross”
“Anyone who follows Christ as a disciple cannot avoid the cross,” said Fr. Joe Dean to SCJs at last week’s province retreat in Pinellas Park, Fl.
“Fr. Byron Haaland reinforced this when he said that we, in our following of Christ, will encounter suffering and difficulties but that we have to let go of our pains, not focus on ourselves, and listen to the Risen Christ who shows us his wounds and open side and says to us, ‘Peace be with you, do not be afraid,’” said Br. Ben Humpfer, superior of the Sacred Heart Retirement Community in Pinellas Park. “Fr. Byron continued by saying that Jesus said this to his apostles, the early Church, and he says it to us and the Church today. This will be our freedom, not necessarily taking away the suffering or the pain we endure, but by not focusing so much on ourselves we focus on the freedom that Christ gives us. Personally, I took a lot from these comments.”
The retreat was held November 14-16. Br. Ben said that the theme “was from the format of what was called the ‘Corona’ from our earlier days, and the Heart of Christ as it is revealed to us. I think that everyone appreciated what was presented to the community. It was good to have two people doing the presentations as it gave us a different view from each.”
International celebrations and conferences
Several members of the province are spending part of Thanksgiving week outside of the country. Fr. Ed Kilianski, province director of Justice and Peace, is in Madrid, Spain, at an international SCJ Justice and Peace meeting. Fr. Tom Westhoven is in Aliwal North, South Africa, representing the province at the jubilee celebration there for Bishop Joseph Potocnak and Fr. John Strittmatter, originally of the U.S. Province, and Fr. Anthony Austin of South Africa. Fr. Anthony and Bishop Joe celebrate their 50th anniversary of profession, while Fr. John commemorates 50 years of priesthood. The celebration takes place on November 26.
Speaking of Bishop Joe, his health continues to improve after a significant bout with pneumonia in early fall. Two weeks ago he traveled to Port Elizabeth to visit with Bishop Evert Baaj.
Fr. Tom Cassidy is home this week for Thanksgiving; next week he will be with the Pinellas Park community.
Upcoming meetings and events:
NOTE: New events added
November 24-25: Provincial Offices closed for Thanksgiving
December 14-15: Provincial Council Meeting
December 23 and 26: Provincial Offices closed for Christmas
December 30 and January 2: Provincial Offices closed for New Year’s
February 7-8: Provincial Council Meeting
March 27-28: 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
May 30-31: Provincial Council Meeting (budgets)
June 15: Feast of the Sacred Heart
June 28: Provincial Council Meeting (conference call re: formation)
July 9-12: Province Assembly, Hales Corners
July 16-21: General Conference, Neustadt, Germany