Weekly News: September 9, 2019

Come and See

Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, province vocation director, poses above with participants in last weekend’s “Come and See.” The weekend is an opportunity for young men discerning a vocation to religious life to literally “come and see” the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). The visitors joined the formation community and novices for First Friday (prayer, a shared meal and an evening of reflection led by Br. Ray Kozuch, SCJ), and visited various SCJ communities and ministries in the Milwaukee area, including the novitiate.

Do you know of someone who is discerning a call to religious life, to the priesthood, someone who might like to learn more about the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians)? Contact our vocation director at vocationcentral@wi.twcbc.com or call 800-609-5559 for information about future Come and See weekends.

Leaving our comfort zones to serve God

As a child, Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, often heard the song “’Pescador de Hombres.”

“At the time I had no idea that the song – which tells us that Jesus only asks us to follow, ‘to find other seas’ – would become the motivation for my life,” he wrote in a recent reflection published on the US Province website.“Today at 42, I am still looking for another sea,” he continued. “The Sacred Heart brought me to the United States; I am now a member of the US Province, serving in Mississippi…

Br. Diego

“I left everything – my projects, my friends, a career, my comfort zone – when I followed the call of Jesus here, to the United States. For over a year I studied English in the ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. I developed new friends, new projects, a new comfort zone. And then I left them all to once again follow God’s call, to find another sea.

“Mississippi is a new adventure for me. I had to learn a new culture and a new language (not just English, but the English of the American South!). Everything seemed to be in place for me when God looked at me and smiled again. He called me to see him in the faces of those who suffer in detention, separated from family. Jesus called me by name and sent me to announce the love of God to those who are suffering, to let people know that they are not alone.

“In Mississippi, I have met my brothers and sisters who are suffering; those who are literally held in shackles. [The photo above is of several women wearing ankle monitors] Through a coalition of people from Sacred Heart parish in Canton and Santa Ana parish in Carthage, along with a group of lay people led by Catholic Charities of Jackson, MS, we try to give spiritual and psychological support to the communities who have been directly affected by the recent ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arrests.”

Click here to read the rest of Br. Diego’s reflection on the province website.

Lux Center lecture

On Friday, September 27, SCJs are invited to attend a lecture at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University School of Divinity. Her topic: “Understanding Jesus Means Understanding Judaism.” The lecture is from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. at SHSST.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by September 19 to: bshafrin@shsst.edu. The lecture is sponsored by the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at SHSST.

Last call for Mission Ed!

This year’s Mission Education will take place October 13-14 at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD. Earlier this summer SCJs in the US and Canada received an invitation to the gathering via email.

The 2016 Mission Education gathering was in Mississippi, with the theme “Mercy in Mission”

Mission Education is an opportunity for those who work with the Priests of the Sacred Heart to learn more about the congregation, its ministries, and its founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon. It is also a time for those in diverse ministries around the country to meet and learn about each other.

The invitation to Mission Education is for both for SCJs and those with whom they minister. Previous participants have included teachers, administrators, lay ministers, parish volunteers and various support staff.

This year’s theme is “Sacred Bridges.” These are the bridges that we build between cultures, peoples, religions and other communities. The two days will be filled with a mix of presentations and hands-on activities. Dinner will be provided on Sunday evening.

Mission Education will end at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon (October 14). On Tuesday, October 15, there will be an optional tour of nearby reservations from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Organizers at St. Joseph’s ask that you register for Mission Education by September 15. Click here to access the registration form.

Questions about Mission Education? Contact Donna Dean at donna.dean@stjo.org or 605.999.9132.


Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ, has a new email address: tomwscj@gmail.com. Note that this and other updates are in the online personnel directory in the Members’ section of the US Province website. A new print edition is scheduled to be done later this month.

Please remember

+ Mary Jean Maclon, the sister of Fr. Richard Johnston, SCJ, died on September 5 in Minneapolis. The Funeral Mass will be on September 14 at 11:00 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Columbia Heights, MN.

+ Fr. Antonio Bozza, SCJ, a member of the South Italian Province, died September 8. He was born in 1945, professed in 1962 and ordained in 1972.

+ Fr. Léon Hilger, SCJ, a member of the Franco-European Province, died August 31. He was born in 1927, professed in 1953 and ordained in 1958.

Also, the province recently learned that Fr. James W. Bukofsky, a former SCJ (1964-1982), died August 1, 2014. He was a priest with the diocese of Brooklyn at the time of his death. Click here to view his obituary.


Last week, members of the US Province who have not yet filed Healthcare Power of Attorney documents with the Provincial Offices, received an email from Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ.

If you haven’t sent a copy of your Healthcare POA to the Provincial Offices, please do so soon. If you have questions about POAs, contact Br. Frank Presto, SCJ, provincial secretary, at provsec@usprovince.org or call 414-427-4263.

SHSST instructor receives grant

Congratulations to Dr. Paul Monson, Asst. Professor of Church History at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, who has been awarded a $5,000 Wabash Center Fellowship to apply insights from the Wabash 2018-19 Early Career Teaching and Learning Workshop to his teaching and learning during the 2019-20 academic year. The title of his project was, “Church History as Vocational Discernment: In Search of a Human, Spiritual, and Pastoral Framework.”

Using Lakota culture to teach risk-behavior prevention

Lakota Circles of Hope (LCH) is a culturally specific prevention curriculum that teaches students how to use Lakota culture to deal more effectively with risky behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco usage and bullying, as well as suicide prevention.

St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD, uses the curriculum to foster a positive Lakota identity and enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of Lakota culture.  Traditional Lakota values are at the core of the curriculum:

Respect – Waohola
Generosity – Wacantognaka
Bravery – Woohitika
Fortitude – Wowacintanka
Wisdom – Woksape

The curriculum is taught in 2nd through 8th grades. All grades learn about the importance of the Medicine Wheel, smudging and the talking circle. Often in the younger grades, traditional Lakota stories are read during the lessons.

Click here to view sample lesson plans from the program. St. Joseph’s Indian School is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians).

Vatican undersecretary for migrants and refugees named as cardinal

The cardinal-elect

Members of the North American Migration Committee applaud the appointment of Michael Czerny, SJ, as one of 13 new cardinals named by Pope Francis on September 1. Undersecretary for migrants and refugees at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Canadian Jesuit co-founded the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto 40 years ago. He has devoted much of his life to promoting social justice in the Americas, Africa and Rome, and has a passionate commitment to engaging the Church in global dialogue on the issues of migrants and refuges. Click here to read more about the cardinal-designates in an article in America magazine.

Closing shot

The SCJ community in Eluru, India, celebrated Fr. Tom Cassidy’s 57th anniversary of vows on Sunday. Fr. Tom is pictured here cutting the cake. Next to him are Fr. Michael Augustine, SCJ, rector of Christu Dehon Nivas, and Sr. Bincy Joseph, who was commemorating her 15th anniversary of vows. On September 4, the community celebrated Fr. Tom’s 48th anniversary of ordination.

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