Weekly News: October 12, 2020

Unity in diversity

Dn. Wilbert Colas

Organized by the ECS Program (English and Cultural Studies) at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, the fall Multicultural Mass is a celebration of the many cultures represented not only in the ECS Program, but also in the seminary and the Dehonian community. Due to the pandemic, the number of students able to participate in ECS at this time is lower than usual, and for the safety of all, attendance at the liturgy was limited. But as in the past, the chapel was filled with a multitude of languages in prayer and song, including French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tigrinya (a language from Eritrea), Ewe (a language from Ghana and Togo), Creole, and English.

“When we pray and say, ‘Our Father’ it is because Jesus himself does not ask us to say ‘My Father’, but ‘Our Father,’” said Deacon Wilbert Colas, Diocese of El Paso, in his homily. “By saying ‘Our Father’ each time we pray, it shows and represents communion that exists between sons and daughters of the same Father… We cannot therefore pray to the one God, we cannot call God ‘Our Father’, without this having consequences in our mutual relationships. It means when I speak to you or when I see you, I want you to feel and see that we have one Father, the one who sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross in order to save humanity. Knowing how to see the image of God in the face of my neighbors, it is to see the image of God in my face as well, because all of us were created in the image of the same God. Calling God ‘Our Father’ makes us accountable to one another as God’s creation, made in God’s image. The one God calls us to unity, to justice and to peace among us…

“Celebrating a Multicultural Mass, then, is not simply sharing the liturgy in various languages ​​and cultures; it is about taking a pause, asking ourselves this question: Where are we with our unity in our relationship with one another?”

Click here to read Deacon Wilbert Colas’ full homily.

Click here to view photos of the Mass. The main celebrant, Fr. Jean-Claude Mbassi, SCJ, is pictured at the top of the page.

What does it mean to be a Dehonian?

The formation community just released another in its series of videos for our newly developing YouTube Channel, “DehoniansUSA.” This time the focus is on the novitiate team, Frs. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, and Byron Haaland, SCJ. During their “gap year” without novices, the two talk about their own vocations, what it means to be a Dehonian, the rewards of their ministry, and advice for those discerning a vocation. Click here or on the image above to view the video. One-minute segments will be shared on Facebook and Instagram in the next weeks.

Many thanks to our students who have put an incredible about of time into this project. On Friday they posed for their annual group photo. We will share that, along with their updated biographies in next week’s Fridge Notes.

Fr. Rafael and Frater Paul at a rally for George Floyd during the summer

More than a hashtag

The COVID-19 pandemic in and of itself is one of the most significant challenges that the world has faced in generations. It is in the midst of this pandemic that Black Lives Matter grew from a social media hashtag to a global movement. Several Dehonians in North America were recently asked by the general communications office to reflect on this moment in history.

“We are called to live together in accepting our diversities – which can become opportunities – rather than dwelling on what differentiates us,” wrote Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ. Now regional superior of Canada, Fr. Gustave is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Coming from a country that has experienced slavery, colonization, dictatorship and then war, it is quite natural to react to discrimination in all its forms, and to injustice, especially when it tends to be institutionalized. With the greater awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, we have seen how humanity can react and respond to those who hold ‘anti-values’. Black Lives Matter is no longer just a slogan but an action plan to denounce or even eradicate racism. Different voices have risen up, seeking to change things in the present, but above all, to create a better future for all humanity. Racism is only the tip of the iceberg which hides a great deal of discrimination. Fighting against this scourge in particular is a commitment to seeing things change.”

Click here to read the rest of Fr. Gustave’s reflection, as well as those of other Dehonians,.

“When we allow God’s voice to be heard, we will be able to hear the voices of our sisters and brothers,” wrote Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, who ministers to the deaf community in San Antonio. “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good,” added Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, former provincial superior of the US Province. Other respondents included Fr. Willyans Rapozo, SCJ (Toronto community), Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ (Houston), and Fr. Maurice Légaré, SCJ (Montréal).

Frater Henry at a weekend blood drive

The 35 Mile Challenge

Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, is in the midst of a 35-mile running challenge to support and promote Breast Cancer awareness and the American Cancer Society​. A few days into the challenge, Frater Henry was working at the Catholic Social Services office in Olive Branch, MS, where he met with several new clients, including those who sought emergency food assistance.

“One client stood out in particular; she was an older lady filled with energy,” wrote Frater Henry. “As I was finishing my time with her, she shared that she is a cancer survivor. I knew that October was Breast Cancer Awareness month as I was participating in this 35 Mile Challenge. She mentioned that she was wearing her ribbon and I thanked her for sharing that personal detail with me. I told her that I was running 35 miles this month for survivors like her and others who are fighting against breast cancer. She answered saying that there was no way for her to do that much. I replied, ‘Little by little.’ She smiled. I don’t think it was by accident that I met her and for her to share her story with me. I think it was by fate that we connected for those few minutes. I look forward to my next visit with her, to share with her my progress.

“I planned to do a run on October 10; little did I know that we would be getting rain all day in northern Mississippi. But I had to get it done, for her at least. I did my 5K, and later that day I gave blood at a local blood drive because, who knows, it might save a life.

“During this time, especially with the ongoing pandemic, I know that there is only so much that each of us can do, and I must do all that I can. My goal is to raise at least $350, at $10/miles.

“I am completing this challenge for those who can’t, for my family, friends, and people like the woman I met at our office.”

Click here to view Frater Henry’s 35 Mile Challenge Facebook page.


Fr. Ziggy Morawiec, SCJ, has a new email address:

Fr. Bob Tucker, SCJ, continues his rehabilitation from a lung transplant earlier this summer.  Mary Balistreri, province director of healthcare, shares the following update: “I was finally able to make the trip to RML to visit in person with Fr. Bob.  He was in good spirits throughout our visit.  I brought his mail from SHML and we read several cards of encouragement and celebration. Thank you to everyone for the cards and notes.  He really appreciates getting them.  We communicated using a voice amplifier/headphone set and writing.  He even mouthed several words. He had been pretty stable over the past few days continuing his efforts to increase his duration of pressure support breathing (very low settings on the ventilator) and sitting up at the bedside.  Yesterday, his breathing patterns unfortunately changed and became very labored.  A decision was made in collaboration with the Transplant Team from Loyola to move him to the higher acuity area at RML.  It is not quite an ICU setting like one would see in a traditional hospital, but it is an area at RML where the staffing ratios are very small and patients are monitored much more closely.

“Today [October 8], the team was happy to report that his breathing has improved and the ventilator oxygen support has been decreased. The team is looking for a possible infection in his donor/transplanted lung, again.  IV antibiotics are being given to treat this possible infection.”


Last week we misidentified the dog who was being blessed by Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ, in Mississippi as “Diesel,” the new puppy of Holy Family principal Tunia Sangster. Diesel and Principal Sangster are pictured above.

Good luck and prayers!

Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, writes that “Fr. Joseph Mukuna, SCJ, will take his comprehensive and oral exams in Scripture, beginning October 26. Prayers are requested to assist him in his journey to ‘worthily proclaim God’s holy Gospel.’”

An invitation

Last week we shared the link to a video by Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, in which he introduced Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti encyclical (On Fraternity and Social Friendship).

The North American Migration Committee writes that this third encyclical by Pope Francis, “is a synthesis of the Pope’s actions, speeches, and writings till today. Highlighted by an inspiring reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Pope Francis covers a wide variety of topics and concerns: world peace, migration, the epidemic virus, world climate, building walls, social justice, etc.  These are issues which concern us all as Dehonians. Therefore, we encourage you, following the invitation of Fr. Carlos Luis, our superior general, to study and reflect on the message presented in this encyclical.”

To assist readers in their reflection, the committee shares the outline of the document:

Introduction (paragraphs 1-8)
Chapter 1: Dark Clouds over a Closed World (paragraphs 9-55)
Chapter 2: A Stranger on the Road (paragraphs 56-86)
Chapter 3: Envisaging and Engendering an Open World (paragraphs 87-127)
Chapter 4: A Heart Open to the World (paragraphs 128-153)
Chapter 5: A Better Kind of Politics (paragraphs 154-197)
Chapter 6: Dialogue and Friendship in Society (paragraphs 198-224)
Chapter 7: Paths of Renewed Encounter (paragraphs 215-270)
Chapter 8: Religions at the Service off Fraternity in Our World (paragraphs 271-287)

Click here to open the document on the Vatican website

The link will also be posted under the “Migration” section of the US Province website this week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Besides being Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day, today is also Canadian Thanksgiving. So, happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors to the north, ehh?

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