We are the Priests of the Sacred Heart – Dehonians!
We live in community, are inspired by daily Eucharistic Adoration, and in a fragmented world we believe unity to be possible.
Our ministries are diverse, as are our members. Yet our goal is the same: to work with a common heart in service to God’s people, reflecting the love of Christ as experienced by our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon.
Are you called to a life of prayer and service based in the love of the Sacred Heart? Are you called to religious life as a priest or brother?
Have a question, ready to learn more? Click here to email our vocation director, or call us at 800-609-5559.
Intercultural communication is more than words
Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, shares a photo of himself (glasses, 4th from left) with fellow CPE students who took part in a July 9-10 workshop titled “Intercultural Competencies – Challenges and Implications for Leadership and Ministry” at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio. Designed for clergy, those preparing for ministry, social workers and other professional caregivers, the workshop helped participants become more aware of communication in an increasingly intercultural environment. It is a communication that goes beyond words that requires an appreciation and awareness of a variety of cultural traditions. Fra. Henry, a seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, is doing CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) this summer through Christus Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio in preparation for future ministry as a Dehonian priest. He returns to Sacred Heart for the fall semester.
During the summer break, students in formation generally spend a few weeks in a province ministry or doing specialized studies. Today, Postulant Hung Pham and Frater Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, head to South Dakota where they will work with the summer camp program at St. Joseph’s Indian School while also learning about SCJ ministries on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations. Except for a break to take part in the Province Assembly, they will be there until July 14.
First-year candidates Kenneth Anyanwu and Michael Wodarczyk will be among those helping with ministries in northern Mississippi this summer, and Jacob Smith, another first-year candidate, will stay at Sacred Heart Monastery to assist with the ECS program (formerly, English as a Second Language). Over 50 students are expected to take part in this year’s summer sessions at SHSST. “This ministry opportunity excites me because I love learning about and working with other cultures,” said Jacob. “It’s really awesome to get to share stories about out different backgrounds and eat different foods and learn bits and pieces of new languages.”
Frater Huan Duy Pham, SCJ, a seminarian from the Vietnam District, will also remain at SHM for the summer. He will do his CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at Saint Camillus, a Milwaukee area health care and senior living facility. His program runs from May 28 to August 9. “Through CPE, I hope that in encountering the suffering I will be more sensitive to the needs of those around me and that my heart will grow as compassionate as the Heart of Jesus,” said Frater Huan. Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, will also do CPE this summer through Christus Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, Texas.
Three new candidates!
Over Memorial Day Weekend, three men were accepted as candidates for the province formation program: Steven DiNello, Francis Joanness and Jonathan Nguyen Vuong. All will enter the program at Sacred Heart Monastery in the fall semester. Steve will study at Cardinal Stritch and Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Francis will begin with ECS (formerly ESL) and transition to SHSST, and Jonathan will study at Marquette University. We will post photos of the candidates later this summer when they settle in at the monastery. Welcome!
Three receive Ministry of Lector from Fr. General
Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, spent much of last week in the US Province, primarily for meetings in the Milwaukee (Hales Corners) area. During his visit, he joined the Novitiate Community for prayer and dinner on Tuesday, and on Thursday, May 2, he conferred the Ministry of Lector on three of our Dehonian seminarians: Fraters Henry Nguyen, Phong Paul Hoang and Huan Duy Pham.
“Enjoy the Word and share the Word,” said Fr. Carlos Luis to the three seminarians, who are students at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Fraters Henry and Paul are members of the US Province and Frater Huan is from the Vietnamese District. St. Joseph’s Chapel was filled with members of the Sacred Heart Monastery community and several guests from SHSST.
“I give thanks to God for my vocation with the SCJs. I am grateful to the community for giving me an education, the gift of community, valuable ministry experiences, personal growth, and most importantly, a love for the Heart of Jesus,” said Frater Paul, 26, when professing his vows last year.
Frater Henry, 30, was Frater Paul’s novitiate classmate. About his own vocation, he said that it “calls me to do love in all things. By being ‘Henry of the Heart of Jesus,’ I feel that it is my duty to respond to the lack of God’s love in the world, by spreading God’s love to where people need it most. By becoming an SCJ, I take on a social responsibility, a tug to be present with others.”
Frater Huan, 33, did his initial formation in the Philippines and professed his first vows in 2017. “What was significant in helping me to make my decision to join the Priests of the Sacred Heart was the pierced Heart of Jesus from which I saw a true source of love, hope, and fulfillment of my life,” he said. “Dehonians, in their own charismatic way, essentially attracted and impacted me with their motto of being ‘Prophets of Love and Servants of Reconciliation.’”
Meet our students!
Each year we ask our students in formation to introduce themselves. This year’s group includes four candidates, four professed seminarians, and three novices. They are men from a wide variety of cultural, educational and work backgrounds. Yet they all speak of their shared call to the spirituality found in the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) and a desire to serve others.
“The fact that the SCJs are committed to continuing Christ’s work of rebuilding our world into God’s kingdom of justice and love is a strong connection for me,” wrote Kenneth Anyanwu, a first-year candidate.
Frater Huan Pham, SCJ, from Vietnam, said that “Dehonians, in their own charismatic way, essentially attracted and impacted me with their motto of being ‘Prophets of Love and Servants of Reconciliation.’” Frater Huan came to the US Province after seven years of formation and studies in the Philippines and a pastoral year in Vietnam.
“I am touched by the SCJs’ desire to help those whom society rejects the most, and how that charism plays such an important role in the life of a missionary,” wrote Jacob Smith, who at 19 is the youngest member of the formation community. A convert to Catholicism, this is Jacob’s first year in formation.
About formation itself, Novice John Huan Nguyen said that he is “very happy to be a part of the community because we bring out the best in each other, but also sometimes the worst. Yet, I would not trade it for anything else. Now, I reflect on my vocational journey with the Priests of the Sacred Heart, learning to be intimately united with Christ in the ‘Ecce Venio’ and ‘Ecce Ancilla.’ This year is intense, but I am willing to be part of this fraternal living. Most of all, I am happy to be part of the community. The novitiate can be difficult, but it is also a sweet stage of my life.”
Click here to read the rest of the student introductions.