100 Years of Dehonian Ministry in the United States!

Fr. Mathias Fohrman, first SCJ to minister in the US

On March 25, 1923, Fr. Mathias Fohrman, SCJ, celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Lower Brule, SD.  Although Fr. Mathias had been in the United States since 1919 on a fundraising mission for the German Province, it was not until that first Mass that the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) had officially begun their commitment to serve in the US.

In 2023 – 100 years later – that ministry extends from South Dakota to Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas and Florida, reaching across ethnic, social, and economic lines.

In Houston, the Priests of the Sacred Heart are in the central city parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the oldest Hispanic parishes in Texas.

In Mississippi, Dehonians are responsible for the Church’s ministry in five northwestern counties of the state. Through Sacred Heart Southern Missions, Dehonians offer social services and emergency aid, advocacy, housing, education, job training and counseling. The Sacred Heart Auto League, which promotes safe, prayerful driving, is also a part of SHSM’s ministry.

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., prepares men from around the country – and the world – for ordained ministry. It also offers master’s programs for lay students, and an internationally regarded ECS (English and Cultural Studies) program specifically designed for those in or preparing for ministry in the Church.

The Priests of the Sacred Heart minister at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, Wis., where they also serve the Vietnamese Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Just a few miles away, Dehonians operate Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, a senior apartment community with several units reserved for those who are economically challenged.

One of our oldest ministries in the United States is St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD. Since it first opened its doors in 1927, the school has expanded its outreach well beyond the classroom with family counseling, healthcare, social programs, and education in Lakota traditions. Dehonians also continue to minister in reservation parishes on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations.

And just as the Dehonian presence in the United States was begun by missionary outreach, the US Province is committed to building the Church by supporting missions throughout the world including Vietnam, India, the Philippines, South Africa, DR Congo and Indonesia.

Throughout the Dehonians’ 100 years in the United States, its ministries and locations have evolved, always seeking new ways to respond to the needs of the times.

Dehonians, Priests of the Sacred Heart, SCJs – several names for a religious community of priests and brothers with a single mission: bringing the love of the Sacred Heart to those in the greatest of need.

Centennial Celebrations

The US Province has two significant Centennial celebrations planned, one on July 16 in Hales Corners, WI, and a second on July 30 where that first Mass took place in Lower Brule, SD. Details for both are in process.

Centennial logos

The Centennial logo is available for download in a variety of formats: