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.
During its weekend meeting the Province Admissions Board approved Michael Wodarczyk as a candidate for the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Michael, 30, is from suburban Milwaukee (Brookfield), and has a degree in accounting from St. Norbert’s College. He will join the formation community (pre-theology) at Sacred Heart Monastery in January.
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.
Two new Dehonians!
With the profession of their first vows on August 15, Phong “Paul” Hoang and Henry Nguyen became Dehonians, members of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The vows were received by Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, US provincial superior, during a liturgy in the main chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
“Today, I feel loved,” said Frater Paul right after his profession. “I heard it at Adoration, I heard it all day. 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.”
Originally from Vietnam, Frater Paul, 26, is now a US citizen. Before entering candidacy, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Houston. As a candidate, Frater Paul was a member of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (TNTT) and also helped with the Vietnamese language program for children at Queenship of Mary parish in Joliet, IL. He did summer ministry with Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Mississippi.
“The experience in Mississippi strengthened my vocation with the SCJs,” he said.
Frater Henry, 29, was born and raised in Orange County, CA. “Five years in the making, three years in formation, has led me to profess vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart,” he said the week before his first profession.
“My vocation calls me to do love in all things,” he continued. “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.
“During this past year in the novitiate, I became certain that I must ‘love with an open heart and mind,’ and be available. Being ‘Dehonian’ has become my identity. Ecce Venio has become embedded in me.”
Frater Henry has been involved in a variety of ministries, including the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (VEYM) at St. Henry’s Parish and Queenship of Mary in the Chicago area and as a Youth Leader and Youth Leader Trainer, “assisting youth and young adults with their journey of faith, helping them to grow closer to God,” he said. Last summer, he was a part of ESL residential staff at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “We had over 40 students from all over the world; I learned what an impact the SCJ presence has on other communities outside of the United States.”
Fraters Paul and Henry are now members of the Sacred Heart Monastery community and will do their seminary studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
Three new novices!
Three men were received into the novitiate August 14: Hubert Senam Kodjovi Liassidji, John Huan Nguyen and Angel Romero.
Originally from Togo, but now a US citizen, Hubert entered the formation program in Chicago in January, 2017, and was a student at St. Xavier University. He is 37.
Reflecting on his vocation, Hubert said that “During my teenage years, I thought a lot about how I wanted to change the world. Growing up, I finally discovered that I could not change the world, but that I can BE the change in the world by the way I live my life. I have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and so I am attracted to the fact that to be a Priest of the Sacred Heart is to be a ‘Prophet of love and servant of reconciliation.’ This really fits my call, and I think it can help me to BE the change in the world.
“If become SCJ – by the grace of God – I do believe that I can fulfill this goal. By reflecting the love of the Heart of Jesus by the way I live, I would like to stand up for those who feel abandoned, for those who feel that they have no one in their lives. I want to seek justice for the poor, console broken hearts and try to reconcile people.
“I want to show the world a compassionate heart, a heart of a mother.”
Angel, 34, is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. Before entering formation he worked in the legal profession. As a member of the Dehon Formation Community, he studied at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
“I am very happy to be able to enter the Novitiate because it is a moment to pray more intensely so that I may discern the path of my vocation,” said Angel. “I think it is important to study the congregation, its history, the charism and the founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon. This represents not just the Priests of the Sacred Heart, but the Catholic Church itself as one sees how a person can participate in ministry in service to God, living as a vowed religious. I believe that it is important at this stage of formation to be mindful of three elements: study, gaining knowledge, and discernment. All of this is done under the light of the Holy Spirit.”
John Huan Nguyen, 31, is a novice from the Vietnamese District; however, this isn’t his first time in the United States. Last summer he was a student in the ESL program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Originally from Hanoi, John became a candidate in Vietnam three years ago and has studied philosophy. After novitiate, John will begin his theological studies at SHSST. Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ, district superior, was present for the ceremony.
Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior of the US Province, received the new novices. Almost 70 people packed into the small novitiate chapel to welcome John, Angel and Hubert.
Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ, is novice master; Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, is associate novice master.