Weekly News: September 3, 2013

Fr. Ornelas (back left) and Fr. John (back right) with the Montréal community on the first stop of the North American visitation.
Fr. Ornelas (back left) and Fr. John (back right) with the Montréal community on the first stop of the North American visitation.

Visitation begins

Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, superior general, and Fr. John van den Hengel, vicar, started their visitation of North America yesterday (September 2), in Montréal. The two will make their way west through the week, ending up in Chamberlain, S.D., for the start of the U.S. portion of the visitation on September 8.

Br. Luc Coursol talks during the community meeting with Fr. General.
Br. Luc Coursol talks during the community meeting with Fr. General.

Frs. Ornelas and John will be in South Dakota until September 11, when they head to Florida to visit retired SCJs in Pinellas Park. September 13-16 they will be in Houston, both visiting the community and taking a rest day, and September 16-18 they will be in Mississippi.

From there, the two fly to Chicago to visit with the formation community. September 20 they are in the Milwaukee area for the last part of the visitation.

September 24-27 is the North American Continental Conference, the concluding moment of the visitation. SCJs from throughout North America will come together, splitting their time between the Provincial Conference Center and Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.

Photos from the visitation will be posted on the province Facebook page. If you would like to share a picture on the site, click here to send it.

What is it?

While the term “visitation” is a familiar one to SCJs, it’s not a part of the common vocabulary for many lay employees and friends of the community.

At least once during the six-year term of a general superior he is expected to visit all of the locations of the congregation. With SCJs in over 40 countries around the world, it is no easy task.

The reason for the visitation is to allow the superior general the opportunity to visit with members of the community throughout the world; it is a time for sharing information and preparing for the future needs of the congregation. It is also a way for the general administration to learn more about the many ministries of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Thank you

Fr. Tom Westhoven expresses his and his sister’s thanks for prayers and concern regarding Antoinette’s hospitalization. She has been home since August 22 and doing much better.


Fr. Leo Heck, the new superior of the International College Community in Rome
Fr. Leo Heck, the new superior of the International College Community in Rome

A change in administration at the International College

Before he left for North America Fr. Ornelas installed Fr. Leo Heck as the new superior of the SCJs’ International College in Rome. He succeeds Fr. Luigi Mostarda, who directed the community for almost ten years. During the installation Mass Fr. Ornelas expressed his personal gratitude, as well as that of the congregation, for Fr. Luigi’s work.

Fr. Leo comes from the South Brazilian Province, where he was the provincial superior from 2006 until last year.

Housed in the same building as the SCJs’ general curia (central government), the International College includes SCJ students from around the world, generally those who have already completed initial theology and seminary education.  Most, but not all, are ordained.  These are SCJs who are often preparing for teaching, formation or administrative assignments in their home countries.  They include SCJs from Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Europe.

Fr. Francis Vu Tran, a member of the U.S. Province, is currently a student in the International College, studying toward a doctorate in Biblical Theology at the Gregorian University.

Click here to view photos from the installation and celebration.

Please remember

Dn. José
Dn. José

+Dn. José Henrique Lima Borges, a member of the South Brazilian Province, died yesterday (September 2) following injuries sustained in a car accident. He was born in 1973, professed in 2008 and ordained to the diaconate just a few months ago. Dn. José was preparing for priesthood ordination in Maranhão, his homeland. More about him will be posted on the Brazilian SCJ website (in Portuguese) at  www.dehonianos.org.br

+ On August 26, Javier Ibarra Hernandez, a seminarian for the Diocese of Salina and a student at Sacred Heart School of Theology, died in Wichita.

Ibarra, 35, had been hospitalized several weeks and was being treated for an unusual strain of pneumonia. He continued to deteriorate throughout the summer.

Fr. Bernie Rosinski, also a student at SHST this year, reflected on the death on the province blog:

“Yesterday at Sacred Heart School of Theology, the first day of the fall semester, I witnessed something that is hard to describe. It was like a ‘sobriety dance.’ A sensible pall seemed to fall over everyone, staff, faculty, student alike. I knew it. I recognized it. I did not know what was causing it. Everyone walked as they usually walked, moved between room and class, office and conference room, in and out of the dining room. The usual bubbliness and hubbub were gone and a sensible reduction in sound and noise was evident. I noticed, too, that the usual laughter and loud bursts of conversation were lacking. Why the pall? Why the shroud over normal conduct? It was like some invisible weight was pressing down on flesh, causing it to flex and depress.

“Then, at the lunch table, as I was seated with some Vietnamese nationals attending the ESL [English as a Second Language] program here – actually, two priests, a brother, and a religious sister – I was asked: ‘Why does God take some people when they are young?’ I found the question strangely timed but valiantly tried to give the stock answer in an acceptable way. My hearers did not seem to buy it and the problem was not due to language. Shortly thereafter, Msgr. Ross Shecterle, the president-rector of the Sacred Heart School of Theology, came over our table to announce the death of one of the seminarians in case we hadn’t heard the news yet. He choked up a little as he spoke. I hadn’t known, but others at our table were aware of the death.  Now I knew the cause of the pall I had witnessed. I finally learned the answer to my wonderment.”

Click here to read the rest of Fr. Bernie’s reflection on the province blog. At the end of the post is text about Javier which is taken from the website of the Salina Diocese.

Keep in prayer

Gloria Pocius, the sister of Fr. Bob Tucker, is moving to hospice care after battling ovarian cancer for some time. Fr. Bob will be going to Detroit this week to spend time with her.


The new South African administration:  Fr. John Strittmatter, Fr. Adam Maslowski, Fr. Chris Grzelak (V-Prov.), Fr. Mark Przybys (Provincial), and Fr. Joshua Moorosi Mpiti
The new South African administration: Fr. John Strittmatter, Fr. Adam Maslowski, Fr. Chris Grzelak (V-Prov.), Fr. Mark Przybys (Provincial), and Fr. Joshua Moorosi Mpiti

New administration in place

Following the appointment of its newly elected provincial superior, Zolile Petros Mpambani, as bishop of Kokstad, the South African Province gathered again in August to select a new administration. Fr. Mark Przyby was elected provincial superior and the council includes Fr. John Strittmatter (former member of the U.S. Province), Fr. Adam Maslowski, Fr. Chris Grzelak (V-Prov.) and Fr. Joshua Moorosi Mpiti.

The administration was installed on August 30 during a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Wüstenberg of Aliwal. Several of its members are alumni of SHST’s ESL program.

SHST award-winning prof

Fr. Toan Do, assistant professor of Scripture Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology, is a national winner of the Society of Biblical Literature Regional Scholar award. The Society of Biblical Literature is the largest and most prestigious academic association of biblical scholars in the world. Every year, the national organization invites the eleven regions (including the international region) to name a regional scholar based upon the quality of the paper and the scholar’s oral presentation at the regional meeting.  Fr. Do was awarded this regional honor last spring at the Midwest Regional meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.  The national regional scholar committee then selects, from among the nominated regional scholars, the best to receive this national recognition.

Fr. Do will present the award-winning paper at the 2014 National Society of Biblical Literature meeting.

Provincial’s time

Last week Fr. Stephen Huffstetter was the main celebrant at the opening Mass of the new school year at SHST. As provincial superior he is the “ordinary” of the seminary. This week he has his first full meeting with the new Provincial Council on Wednesday and Thursday (September 4-5).