A month of remembrance
November has become a month of remembrance, beginning with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. For Dehonians, the month culminates with SCJ Memorial Day on November 26, a day to commemorate members of the community who have gone before us.
We begin this month of remembrance with a reflection on Fr. Bill DeWitte, SCJ (1914-1994), a Dutch missionary, and later, a member of the Canadian Region. It was written by Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, who was with Fr. Bill when he died. The reflection appeared in the November 3 issue of Dehonian Spirituality, the weekly e-publication of prayers and reflections based in the Dehonian charism published by the Dehonian Associates Office.
“Bill was a larger than life figure who was loved and respected by all whom he served, particularly the patients and staff of the Riverside Hospital where he was chaplain for 17 years,” wrote Fr. Peter. “It was here that he instituted the Palliative Care Unit. Working with diocesan priests, the Sunday Dehon Faith Community, the Dutch community, the elderly, religious communities of sisters, and Christian discussion groups, he attended to all pain and grief brought to him. In all these relationships, Bill was so comfortable in his own skin that people felt accepted for who they were. This was most evident in those who especially felt alienated from the Church. His wisdom, his beautiful sense of humor, and his sensitivity marked every encounter. He was eagerly and gladly part of any celebration of life, great or small. People loved Bill and Bill loved people.”
Changing systems: it’s the charitable thing to do
“Many persons rightfully argue that we should act with charity toward those who are poor because it is the Christian and human thing to do. In fact, Christians call it a corporal work of mercy (feed the hungry, house the homeless),” wrote Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, last week on the JPR blog. “It is essential if you want to be Christian, they say. But this position leaves out a very important part of charity. Charity requires of us to also work to change those systems that keep people poor. Please let me explain.
“I love my brother Paul very much. He is struggling with many health problems which require that I frequently take him to the local county hospital which, of course, is the brotherly, human or Christian thing to do. But recently, changes in social programs have resulted in cuts in hospital staff and services threatening Paul’s care and that of many others. What then does it mean to love my brother, and others, if not for me to also engage, as much as I am able, in addressing the social structures that control these funding cuts? As Cornell West said, ‘Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.’”
Please keep in prayer
Fr. Paul Kelly was taken to the hospital yesterday with pulmonary hypertension. Please keep him in prayer.
+Br. Antoine Atzenhoffern, a member of the Franco-European Province, died October 29 in Dijon, France. He was born in 1931 and professed in 1958.
Superior General takes part in commemoration of Reformation
“What matters is my bond with the Son of God,” emphasized Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, superior general of the Dehonians, in his homily during an ecumenical celebration. Fr. Heiner was invited by the evangelical community of Rome gathered in the Lutheran church (“Christuskirche”) to conclude the fifth centenary of the Reformation.
The celebration took place October 29 and brought together not only the local community under the guidance of Pastor Jens-Martin Kruse, but also Catholic guests, with the awareness that “God is not captured. No picture can depict him. He is and remains the greatest mystery of our lives,” said Fr. Heiner.
Click here to view photos from the event, and to access the text of Fr. Heiner’s homily. The text is available in English, Italian, German and French.
Published six times a year, the SCJ News features stories and photos of the people and ministries of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). It’s a great way to catch up on news that you may have missed on our website. If you’d like to subscribe (it is a free mailing), send your postal mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to access a PDF of the most recent issue; subscribers should receive the hard copy in the next few days.
Fr. Ed Kilianski returns November 6 from Mississippi where he had meetings with the SHSM board and assisted with Spanish Masses. Council meetings are Tuesday and Wednesday; much of Wednesday the council will take part in the visit of the Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, who will speak at SHSST’s Dehon Lecture. His topic will be “The Heart of a Priest.” On November 10, Fr. Ed flies to Rome for the Major Superiors Colloquium. He returns to Milwaukee on November 27.
Fr. Dominic Peluse and Pam Milczarski from the Province Development Office are traveling in India with two benefactors to introduce them to some of the many ministries which the US Province helps to support in Asia. The visitors are pictured below with several members of the district administration and students. This week they are visiting Vietnam where Fr. Francis Vu Tran is superior.