Weekly News: November 5, 2018

“What unites us is much greater than what divides us”

– Pope John XXIII

We pray that the words of Pope John XXIII remain in our hearts and minds as Americans enter into the election process tomorrow, November 6.  May these words continue to guide leaders throughout the world. 

Special election issue

The US Province Office of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation published a special election issue of its monthly e-newsletter. Click here to access it.

Those who went before us

Fr. Michael at the beatification ceremony for Mother Teresa; the two often corresponded.

Throughout the month of November, Dehonian Spirituality, the e-publication produced by the Dehonian Associates Office of the US Province, is featuring reflections on North American SCJs who are now deceased. The November 2 issue has a piece on Fr. Michael van der Peet, SCJ, written by Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ.

“Fr. Michael was a man of deep feelings who gave himself to each person he ministered with,” wrote Fr. Tom. “With deep faith, he followed the directions of his superiors and strove to live a life of love and reparation in the spirit of Fr. Dehon.  His faith, together with his love of music, carried him through each of the dark and confusing times in his life.  He was a man who lived a life of oblation, always making a return of love to the Sacred Heart for all the graces and blessings Jesus gave him.  Nor did he forget the intercession of the Blessed Mother, keeping the Rosary in his daily prayers.  I thank the Sacred Heart for his lived example of being a Dehonian and a powerful example of prayer and self-sacrifice.”

Click here to access the full issue. This Friday’s edition includes a reflection on Fr. Joseph “George” Coppens, SCJ, written by Br. Brian Tompkins, SCJ. Not a subscriber? Click here to add your name to the mailing list.

SHSST Open House

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology invites people to learn about the seminary’s “Cor Unum” program, its Master of Arts in Systematic Theology for adults who, in the spirit of the Dehonian charism, “wish to evangelize and heal a fractured world.”

An Open House takes place at SHSST on Monday, November 19. Evening prayer is at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner. A presentation on the program begins at 6:10 p.m.

If interested, email Dr. Michael Brummond at mbrummond@shsst.edu.

The chapel was filled

The main chapel at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology was filled to capacity with SCJs, friends, family, SHSST students, alumni and staff (current and retired) for the funeral of Fr. Paul Kelly, SCJ. He died October 26. Before the Mass of Christian Burial people shared their stories of Fr. Paul. A seminarian credited him with his decision to persevere through a difficult patch in his studies and remain at SHSST though his bags were already packed. An employee spoke of how Fr. Paul was not only a joy with whom to work, but a person who gave her a spiritual base. An SCJ talked about the immense impact Fr. Paul had on a small parish community in South Dakota though he was there just a year. “People still ask about him; they have prayed for him,” he said.

Fr. Bill Pitcavage, SCJ, was the main celebrant and homilist of the Funeral Mass. Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior, led the wake service and final prayers.

Click here to view photos from the funeral. Pictures are also posted on the US Province Facebook page.

A lifer

“I am a lifer,” says Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, in a video in which he reflects on his call to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. “I feel convinced that Fr. Dehon took the core of the gospel and made it the focus of the spirituality of the community he founded. For me to be an SCJ is to unite myself with Jesus in his offering to God, to be at God’s disposition, ready to do or accept what God asks of me so that people may know the tremendous love God has for us. And as SCJs we are asked, called to be present especially to those who have the hardest time believing in the love God has for them because of the circumstances of their lives – as Fr. Dehon put it: ‘ministry to the lowly and the humble, the workers and the poor.’”

Click here or on the image above to hear Fr. John tell his story.

Bishop Joe writes…

Bishop Joseph Potocnak, SCJ, recently wrote with a prayer request for his brother, Jim, who is being treated for cancer. “He feels the prayers he has received.”

The bishop also shared a few updates about himself and the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park. “Fr. Vincent Suparman just arrived,” wrote Bishop Joe. “We all welcome him as our new superior.

“As for myself, my health is good and I like our lifestyle, community living and regular prayer schedule. I still visit the VA Center two days a week. Once again I received a certificate of appreciation. I really find it rewarding; I meet so many good guys and that’s good for me.

“Of course, I was very sorry to hear about Fr. Paul Kelly passing away. I met him at Great Barrington in 1968. He was a gentle and good priest.”

Fr. Vincent with parishioners during one of his farewell gatherings

Farewell and good luck!

As Bishop Joe notes in his letter, Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, is now superior of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL. Before leaving South Dakota, Fr. Vincent was treated to several farewell gatherings, “one by every parish that we serve here in South Dakota,” said Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ. “With all of the potluck and picnic foods and deserts, we are surprised that Fr. Vincent did not gain an extra 100 pounds before leaving!”

Fr. Mark continued, noting that what Fr. Vincent did gain “was love and affection from so many people who will deeply miss him. People of all ages were grateful for what he did for them and the parishes. The children in particular were thankful for how he taught our faith and prepared them for the sacraments. Parents and staff were appreciative of his jovial presence and caring attitude toward them. At the farewell picnic at Big Bend Dam near Fort Thompson, Fr. Vincent heard two Dakota songs sung in his honor whose words spoke of thankfulness and a blessing for his travels and future ministry.”

Please remember

+Br. Eulogio Martínez Corral of the Spanish Province died November 3. He was born in 1928 and professed in 1954.

+Fr. Cornelius Jacobus van Beek of the Dutch-Flemish Confederation died October 25. He was born in 1929, professed in 1952 and ordained in 1957.

Keep in prayer

The father of Novice Kodjovi Hubert Liassidji had a significant heart attack on Saturday, November 3. Mr. Liassidji is now conscious and can recognize people but has difficulty speaking. Hubert expresses his thanks for “your prayers, support, and words of comfort.”

Fr. Mark with students in Indonesia

On the road in Indonesia

Fr. Mark Fortner, SCJ, who is currently on a jubilee trip to Indonesia (a country in which he ministered for many years) shares the photo above. He said that it was taken following a 5:45 a.m. Mass at a boarding school next to an SCJ community house. The school serves approximately 200 children from surrounding villages.

News from the border

Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, forwards a statement recently released from Bishop Daniel E. Flores’ office. The bishop met with federal officials about their request “for right of entry and site assessment to two properties in Hidalgo County owned by the diocese. The entry rights requested are for the purpose of making survey preparations for the eventual construction of a wall on these properties. While the bishop has the greatest respect for the responsibilities of the men and women involved in border security, in his judgment Church property should not be used for the purposes of building a border wall. Such a structure would limit the freedom of the Church to exercise her mission in the Rio Grande Valley, and would in fact be a sign contrary to the Church’s mission. Thus, in principle, the bishop does not consent to use Church property to construct a border wall.”

“I am proud that this is happening and am in solidarity with the bishop in trying to stop having the wall built on Church property,” wrote Fr. Mac.

Click here to read more about the issue in the Valley Morning Star.

Come and See!

Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ (province vocation director) is pictured below with three visitors taking part in last weekend’s “Come and See” at Sacred Heart Monastery. Come and See is an opportunity for men discerning a vocation to religious life to learn more about the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians); it is held approximately four times a year. Do you know someone who is discerning a vocation? Click here to contact our vocation office for more information.

SUBSCRIBE to our weekly electronic newsletter