“We recall that martyrdom can be one possible outcome for each of us as we look at a life coupled with a daily reparatory oblation of Christ.”
Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, SCJ, Superior General, Priests of the Sacred Heart
Remembering our SCJ martyrs
In 2004 the General Administration established November 26 as “SCJ Memorial Day,” a time of remembrance for members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart who gave their lives as martyrs. It was on November 26, 1964, that Bishop Joseph Wittebols, along with six other SCJs, were martyred in Congo. They were among 28 members of the community who were killed during the country’s Simba Revolution. In total, there are 49 SCJ martyrs.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the SCJs in Congo. As noted previously, Frs. Stephen Huffstetter, Leonard Elder and Charles Brown from the US Province, and Fr. Claude Bédard from Canada, are in the Democratic Republic of Congo representing North America at the commemorations.
“The first event in the commemoration of our 28 SCJ martyrs from the 1964 rebellion was an evening prayer and rosary at the site of 12 of the graves,” wrote Fr. Steve in his most recent post. “Several sisters working in the area also died, and leadership from their communities honored them as well.
“Fr. Claude Bédard, a former missionary from from Montreal, also made the pilgrimage. He hasn’t been back to Congo for almost 30 years. When two of the sisters he used to work with recognized him we witnessed a joyful, tearful reunion.”
Click here to read the rest of this and previous posts.
Former missionaries share horrors of uprising
Most of the 28 SCJ missionaries killed during the Simba rebellion were Dutch or Belgian. On Saturday, Nov. 22, the Dutch-Flemish Confederation held a commemoration in Asten to remember those who had died. Among the 250 guests were families of slain missionaries, Congolese SCJs, and Frs. Frans Paepen and Renaat de Ceuleer, former missionaries who survived the uprising. They shared their stories of twice expecting to be executed and twice somehow finding themselves set free.
Lieve Moons, a niece of one of the slain SCJs, Fr. Karel Bellinckx, spoke of how her family pleaded for him not to return to the Congo in the midst of the rising tide of violence. He went back, saying that he could not stay away from “his people.” Six months later he was killed.
Click here to read a story about the commemoration on the congregation’s website in Rome.
A remembrance of all SCJ martyrs
Although we remember in a special way those who died in the Congo, there are a total of 49 SCJ martyrs. They include Blessed Juan Maria de la Cruz who was executed during the Spanish Civil War, SCJs who were killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and 11 SCJs who died in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia.
Fr. Paulo Punt is the most recent SCJ added to the list of martyrs. He was assassinated by organized crime in Brazil on Dec. 15, 1975.
Click here to view the full list of martyrs on the province website.
Click here to download an Adoration Service for SCJ Memorial Day, Wednesday, Nov. 26. It can be used as a replacement for the communal recitation of the Divine Office during Adoration.
Fr. Nardi shares the results of his research
What factors predict whether a man will stay committed to the priesthood?
This has been Fr. Yulius Sunardi’s question for the past two years as he researched the theme of his recently defended doctoral thesis: “Predictive Factors for Commitment to the Priesthood: Insights for Seminarians and Priests in their Vocation Journey.”
On November 19th he presented the results of his research to seminarians and faculty at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
The single most significant factor in a man’s commitment to the priesthood?
It isn’t the only predictive factor, but it is a critical one.
Fr. Nardi didn’t just name the issue and move on. In bringing it to the seminarians’ attention he said that “I am giving you responsibility for it. If you don’t act on this information, if you don’t give this priority, you will struggle. Loneliness is a part of the vocational journey and it is up to YOU to determine what you do with it.”
Click here to read more about Fr. Nardi’s presentation.
Fr. Jim Schroeder
After years in St Louis, Fr. Jim retired from practice as a psychologist the end of September and moved to Franklin last week to join the Sacred Heart Community at SHML. He plans to do translation work and take some sabbatical time while he discerns what further ministry he will do.
His new contact information:
7330 S. Lovers Lane Road (Highway 100)
Franklin, WI 53132-1849.
Home phone: 414-409-4841.
Cell phone: 314-504-1045.
Also, a few updates from Toronto:
Fr. Johanes Yuliwan Maslim
Sacred Heart House
58 High Park Blvd.
Toronto, ON M6R 1M8
Fr. José Benedito de Moraes Machado
St. Thomas More Parish
1 Dormington Drive
Scarborough, ON M1G 3M9
Fr. Antonius Purwono
192 Daly Ave.
Ottawa, ON K1N 5E9
Keith Burdick, a member of the Vocation Central staff, and his wife Alissa, had a baby boy this morning. The baby is 19” long and 7 lbs., 12 oz. It is the couple’s first child. The baby’s name is pending.
SHSM sponsors mobile food pantry
Sacred Heart Southern Missions recently assumed sponsorship of the DeSoto County Mobile Food Pantry in northern Mississippi. The Mobile Food Pantry provides perishable foods such as produce, meat and dairy as well as other staples once a month at a central county location. Over 30,000 pounds of food were distributed Friday to more than 1,000 families in need.
In addition to its work with the Mobile Food Pantry, SHSM also operates food pantries at its social services offices.
Updates to the JPR site
Mark Peters, US Province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, notes that the JPR website has new content on Immigration, as well as the Environment, Global-International Issues and Peacemaking. There is also a resource for National Migration Week Jan. 4-10 on the Home page. Pastors are invited to share these resources with parish social concerns committees and other groups. Questions? Need more resources? Contact Mark Peters at: email@example.com
Congratulations to the Vietnamese District and Philippine Region on the ordination of six SCJs to the priesthood on November 18. The ceremony took place at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City, Philippines.
Those ordained: Candido S. Bayron Jr., Joseph D. Muego, Christopher C. Alburo, and Jose Patro C. Gier Jr., of the Philippine Region, and Vu Van Phu and Tran Van Ngoc of the Vietnam District.
Among those in attendance were Frs. P.J. McGuire and Quang Nguyen who are in the Philippines giving presentations at the formation communities.
Familiar faces in Poland
Last week the Polish Province met in chapter. In the photos from the gathering there are many faces familiar to SCJs in the US Province; chapter delegates included several alumni of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s ESL program.
Several photo albums from the Polish chapter, as well as links to reports, are available on the general administration’s Facebook page, Dehonians Worldwide.
The Provincial Offices will be closed Thursday and Friday (Nov. 27-28) for Thanksgiving; they will reopen on Monday, Dec. 1. Have a blessed holiday!