European Conference on Secularity
“Secularity” was the stated topic of the October 18-20 European Conference in Clairefontaine, Belgium, but the focus of the gathering was much more than secularity itself. Instead, it was a starting point for the congregation to answer the question: How does the love of Christ impel us –– the Priests of the Sacred Heart –– to be present in Europe in its current reality?
“We, the European Dehonians, have come to Clairefontaine to reflect on Christ in Europe and on our mission in Europe,” said Fr. John van den Hengel in his homily at the opening Mass.
The theme of secularity took root at the 2009 General Chapter where members of the European entities noted the effect of secularity on the church and expressed a desire to better understand its impact, especially as it affects vocations, ministry, and the members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart themselves.
The conference brought together representatives from each of the European entities. Also in attendance were Fr. Tom Cassidy of the U.S. Province and Fr. Bill Marrevee of the Canadian Region.
SCJs heard presentations from professors and social analysts on the changing culture of Europe, and how church, faith and spirituality fit into this new reality.
Secularity isn’t a concept that is antagonistic toward religion, said Dr. Matthias Sellmann of Ruhr University in Germany, one of the conference presenters. While secularity can allow for a freedom FROM religion, it also allows a freedom FOR religion, for a multitude of religious expression. Secularity is not the death of religion but a new opportunity. People continue to search for truth.
The face of the congregation, as with the rest of the church, is radically changing. Numbers will continue to diminish in Europe, while the population of the congregation grows in the southern hemisphere and in Asia. The congregation is challenged to become less Euro-centric
Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, general superior, asked SCJs at the conference if “we have the prophetic courage to respond to change? Does the weight of commitments and structures hinder the congregation from being open to creative solutions?”
Fr. Leo John Dehon, SCJ founder, was a man who insisted that the church listen to the modern world and the new realities that it presents. The conference called SCJs to continue to do this, not only in Europe but throughout the world.
Click on the following links to read reports from each of the three days of the conference.
Click here to read Fr. John van den Hengel’s homily at the opening Mass.
Click here to view photos from the days.
World Mission Day
The Generalate and international college community in Rome had a multicultural liturgy to commemorate World Mission Sunday on October 23. Much of the music was Indonesian and Fr. Sugino of the General Council gave the homily. SCJs from Africa and Asia joined him at the altar as deacons and concelebrants.
Click here to read the pope’s message for World Mission Day.
In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Vocation Central represented the SCJs at Asian Community Day at the Cousins Center. Asian Community Day, held on the same day as World Mission Day, is a multicultural festival that includes not only performances and liturgy, but also a vocation component.
Fr. Zbigniew (Ziggy) Morawiec’s R1 visa application was approved by Homeland Security last week. As soon as the Provincialate receives the paperwork, Fr. Ziggy, originally of the Polish Province, will be able to join the community at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston.
Also, Fr. Placido Rebelo’s student visa was recently approved. The Indian SCJ will be coming to the United States for post-graduate studies.
This week is Sacred Heart School of Theology’s annual alumni gathering. Archbishop Emeritus Alexander J. Brunett of the Archdiocese of Seattle will be awarded the Archbishop Cousins Vocation Award and Fr. Albert Schifano from the Diocese of Tucson and a member of the class of 2001 will receive the Dehon Distinguished Ministry Award at the Awards Celebration Wednesday, October 26.
Also, information has now been sent to all bishops, religious superiors, SCJs and alumni regarding the search for a new SHST rector. The position will be available after July 1, 2012, when Fr. Jan de Jong retires.
Click here to view details about the rector’s search. Anyone is welcome to nominate a potential candidate.
Br. Henry Norbert Bouhailier of the Franco-European Province, died on October 17. He was born in 1923 and professed in 1956.
Fr. José Diomário Gonçalves of the Mozambique Province died October 23. He was born in 1932, professed in 1952 and ordained in 1985.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Richard MacDonald’s sister-in-law, Pat (his brother Jim’s wife) has been diagnosed with aggressive ovarian cancer. She begins chemotherapy treatments today. Jim and Pat live in Iron Bridge, Ontario; Pat is 61.
Fr. Paul Grizzelle Reid has a new address:
St. Luke’s Parish
1606 Blanding Blvd
Middleburg FL 32068
Those celebrating birthdays in November include: Fr. David Szatkowski (38) and Fr. Ed Kilianski (57) on Nov. 2, Br. Brian Tompkins (55), Br. Luc Coursol (61) and Fr. Bill More (85) on Nov. 3, Fr. Greg Schill (36) on Nov. 14, Fr. Jan de Jong (74) and Fr. Joe Doscher (78) on Nov. 17, Fr. Tim Gray (63) on Nov. 18, and Fr. Larry Rucker (78) on Nov. 30.
Fr. Tom Cassidy is visiting the Polish Province before returning from Europe on October 27.
Upcoming meetings and events:
November 2: Candlelight Mass and Dinner at Sacred Heart Monastery/School of Theology (contact the Province Development Office for details.
November 8-9: Combined Councils Meeting of the U.S. and Canada (Ottawa)
November 14-16: SCJ Retreat, Pinellas Park
December 14-15: 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
June 15: Feast of the Sacred Heart