Weekly news: August 26, 2019

Back to school!

Today, August 26, is the first day of classes for students at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. On Wednesday, Fr. Raúl Goméz-Ruiz, SDS, will be installed by Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, as the new SHSST president-rector during the Opening Eucharist at 4:30 p.m.

Click here to visit the school in cyberspace at its newly designed website (the address is the same as before – www.shsst.edu – but the “house” has been significantly remodeled).

Pictured above are faculty and staff during last week’s Rector’s Day gathering.

Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong, Celsus Robert and Steven DiNello


Last week, three new candidates for the Priests of the Sacred Heart were received into the Sacred Heart Monastery community during morning Eucharist. Before the start of the school year, the formation community spent a day together, reflecting on their vocational call, identifying the signs from God that led them to the SCJs. Please keep these new candidates, and all of our men in formation, in your prayers.

The new candidates are pictured above: Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong, Celsus Robert and Steven DiNello. Their contact information has been added to the online personnel directory in the Members’ section of the US Province website.


With the start of the new academic year, there are a few other housing changes for our students:

Thien Nguyen, Thuan Nguyen, Truc Van Tran and Hung Pham (novices):

Sacred Heart Novitiate
8409 3 Mile Rd
Franksville, WI 53126

SCJ Fraters John Huan Nguyen and Hubert Senam Kodjovi Liassidji (newly professed):

Sacred Heart Monastery
P.O. Box 566
Hales Corners, WI 53130

A home celebration!

Fr. Tom

On August 11, Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ, celebrated his 60th anniversary of religious profession with family and friends at St. Patrick – Providence parish in Grand Rapids, OH. The parish is approximately 10 miles from the farm on which he was raised in Liberty Center.

“It was a wonderful celebration,” said Fr. Tom. “The parish bell choir played for 15 minutes before the Mass.”

He added with a laugh that “most of choir members were going to be there anyway; a lot of them are my relatives!”

During the celebration, Fr. Tom baptized four grandnephews. “Two sets of twins!” he said.

Fr. Tom, now retired, is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML. Click here to read more about him in this year’s feature on our province jubilarians.

Thank you!

Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, shares the following: “Last month I had to undergo open heart surgery at Morton Plant Hospital. I’d like to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am home. Or, to be exact, I have been home since August 13 when I was discharged from Gulf Shore Care Center, Pinellas Park, FL.

“Even though I am still on the road to full recovery, I’d like to take a moment to say many thanks for your love, prayers, and support that helped me reflect more deeply on the meaning of life while I was facing a tough time in my journey. It means a lot to me that you took time from your busy lives to pray for me.

“I don’t think that I have enough words to express how much I appreciate all the time you took to pray for me, to text, to call, and to visit me.  When the roads of life get weary, we need the support of our religious brothers. We all have hurricanes or storms in life.

“Again, I appreciate all the time you took to keep me in your prayers. Thank you for being a part of my journey of life.”

Young readers look for new books

Busy bookmobile!

Each summer, St. Joseph’s Indian School sponsors a bookmobile that travels thousands of miles throughout South Dakota to distribute free reading material to children and their families. This year, the bookmobile added six stops, passing out a total of 8,835 books, which is 2,325 more than last year.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in September include: Fr. Aegidius Warsito (54) on Sept. 1, Fr. Gustave Lulendo (46) on Sept. 4, Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas (37) on Sept. 10, Fr. Johnny Klingler (84) and Fr. John Czyzynski (82) on Sept. 14, Fr. Greg Speck (72) and Fr. Andrzej Sudol (49) on Sept. 17, Br. John Monek (90) on Sept. 18, Frater Huan Paul Duy Pham (34) on Sept. 20, Candidate Jacob Smith (20) on Sept. 21, and Fr. Joseph-Thien Dinh (50) on Sept. 24. Happy birthday!

Schedule note

There will be no Fridge Notes next week, September 2. The Provincial Offices will be closed for Labor Day. Enjoy the holiday! The next Fridge Notes will be published on September 9.

Fr. Dehon reflecting on the rights of workers

The following is a reflection on the rights of workers prepared by the Dehonian Associates office in 2014 as a parish bulletin insert for Labor Day. David Schimmel is province director of Dehonian Associates.

“The most striking fact concerning the condition of the working class is that workers are, for the most part, experiencing conditions of misfortune and unearned misery.  Despite a certain amount of superficial progress, the worker is, in many places, less happy than formerly; his needs have grown more than his resources have.  At the same time, the workers see immense wealth accumulating in a small number of hands.”

This contemporary sounding assessment came from the pen of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, in 1894.  Sixty years earlier, the Industrial Revolution arrived in France and gradually began drawing people from the countryside into crowded and unhealthy slums surrounding burgeoning factories.  Fr. Dehon’s first assignment as a priest was in the city of St. Quentin, known for its vast linen weaving industry.

St. Quentin was a good example of the typical 19th century factory town whose workers endured the full force of an emerging industry without any economic gain.  Men, women, and even children worked a 12-hour day, often in dangerous working conditions and leaving little time for family life or leisure.  Sadly, Fr. Dehon admitted, the Church had little understanding of the working class and priests preferred to “stay in the sacristy.”  As his ministry developed in his parish of 30,000 people, he became fully committed to bridge the gap between the working class and the Church.

As the primary author of the Christian Social Manual, Fr. Dehon not only explored theory, but also provided practical solutions, convinced that “the free will which has established evil institutions can, through different laws, restore order, peace, and fraternal harmony to human relationships.”

Citing an example of what could be done, Fr. Dehon praised a textile factory in Val-des-Bois, France, as “That wonderful factory, where the Sacred Heart reigns,” and at which the Priests of the Sacred Heart served as chaplains for 75 years.  Because this factory provided reasonably priced housing, education for children, well-ventilated workrooms, a Mutual Aid Society, medical care, a union, and a Factory Council that attended to the issues of safety, production, wages, and complaints, Fr. Dehon promoted it as a model to emulate.

Prayer for Labor Day

Lord on this Labor Day,
we thank You for the blessing of work.
We ask for strength to complete each day.
We ask for rest when we are weary.
We ask Your guidance
for everyone seeking employment,
and we ask that
You be with those whose faces
we might never see
but who work tirelessly each day
for the good of us all.

– from Our Sunday Visitor

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