14 SCJs celebrate jubilees of religious life!

Click on the image above to view the video of the Jubilee Ceremony

Click here to view photos

Click here to read Dn. David Nagel’s homily for the Jubilee Mass

On August 16, the US Province commemorated the 70, 60, 50, 40 and 25-year anniversaries of First Professions of 14 SCJs. Many were in Hales Corners taking part in the Province Assembly. All were remembered and honored by the community for their years of dedication to religious life and ministry. This year’s jubilarians include:

Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ (70 years)

Fr. Bernie

When Fr. Bernie professed his first vows Queen Elizabeth had just ascended to the throne, Singing in the Rain premiered at Radio City Music Hall, and Mother Teresa opened her first home for the dying and destitute in India.

“What chiefly attracted me to the Priests of the Sacred Heart was their title,” said Fr. Bernie, 88. “As early as I can remember I wanted to go to ‘Sacred Heart Seminary,’ located in Detroit. But because of Cardinal Mooney’s policy of having people with Polish surnames attend St. Mary’s at Orchard Lake, I knew that Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit was out of the picture.  But then came along Fr. George Pinger, SCJ, who showed color slides at my parish grade school touting ‘Divine Heart Seminary.’ That seemed like a close enough approximation and so I signed up. The school was 270 miles from Detroit, thus my first contact with Priests of the Sacred Heart was with total strangers. But they were professional, competent, resourceful, dutiful, devout, loving, and thus – to me – eminently lovable. I wanted to be like them.”

Fr. Bernie was ordained in 1959, and except for a brief stint in vocations, most of his ministry has been academic or administrative. He taught at Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, Ind., at Dehon Seminary in Great Barrington, Mass., and at Sacred Heart School of Theology. In 1990 he was named provincial secretary but stayed with the Provincialate for only a year before being asked to serve on the staff of the Generalate in Rome. He was there from 1992-1998, after which he returned to SHSST. In 2001 he was back to his old job as provincial secretary. He also served on the Provincial Council.

He retired in 2007, but it has been an active retirement. He is a member of the South Dakota community, where he has assisted with pastoral ministry and held formation workshops for permanent deacons. Fr. Bernie has degrees from the Gregorian University in Rome, Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology and from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

“I am happy to be an SCJ because I am surrounded by saints,” said Fr. Bernie. “There are so many of them, both deceased and still living. I find that by being with them I discover their saintliness, often hidden, but discoverable through attentiveness and observation. It’s not that my SCJ brothers don’t have faults. It’s that they seek to find them out, work on them, weed them out, and face any fault or weakness that prevents the LOVE and SERVICE to others that Fr. Dehon called for. That takes courage and guts. That SCJ tradition is bonding.”

Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ (60 years)

Fr. Tom

Fr. Tom’s name is a familiar one to many. He has served as Provincial Superior of the US Province, as a two-term General Councilor in Rome, as President-Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, as Superintendent of St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota, and as Principal of Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, IN. Retired, he has become a regular visitor to the missions in Asia.

“Sixty years ago, during the singing of the litany of saints as I lay on the sanctuary floor along with my fellow novices preparing to make our first profession of vows, India never entered my mind,” said Fr. Tom. “I certainly had no clue, not even a whisper, that someday, I would come to India and spend part of each year living with our theologians at Christu Dehon Nivas.”

“Christu Dehon Nivas” is a formation house for SCJ theology students in the District of India. After a two-year absence due to COVID restrictions, Fr. Tom was able to return to the community this summer.

“My presence in India is an excellent example of how on September 8, 1962 [the date of Fr. Tom’s First Profession] so much of what would happen as these 60 years unfolded was unknown, unimagined, and unplanned. I can honestly say there are so many things I have done in life that I could not have ever dreamed were possible. The Priests of the Sacred Heart have been very good to me, and I am most grateful. In turn, I hope, in some small way, I have contributed to the success of our Dehonian mission in the United States and beyond our borders.

“Things have not always been easy, but the good, exciting, and rewarding far outweigh those down moments we all experience. I know God is full of surprises, and how I ended up as an SCJ has always been a surprise to me. Because of my parish and high school education in Milwaukee I could just as easily had ‘SDS’ (Society of the Divine Savior) or ‘SAC‘ (Pallottines) after my name. It was an ad in the Sunday Visitor, and the need in 1960 to learn Latin, that led me to the SCJs. And now, I would not trade my life or life experiences with anyone.”

Fr. Tom was ordained in 1962; he is 78.

Fr. Mark Fortner, SCJ, (60 years)

Fr. Mark

Fr. Mark, 82, professed vows as a member of the U.S. Province in 1962 but most of his priesthood was spent in Indonesia. He served there, primarily in parish ministry, from 1969 to 1999.

Originally from St. Louis, Fr. Mark, studied at Southeast Missouri State College before entering the SCJs’ Kilroe Seminary in Honesdale, PA. His M.Div. is from Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (1968) and in 1993 he earned a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola in Baltimore, Md. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1968.

“I have a college friend, Will Baumker, to thank for showing me an SCJ vocation brochure, and then, for joining me as a seminarian at Dehon Seminary in Great Barrington, MA, when we were both 20 years old,” said Fr. Mark. “What interested me initially were four things: first, the idea of living as a priest in a religious community; secondly, the spirituality centered in the Heart of Christ; third, our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, someone passionately committed to social justice issues; and fourth, the possibility of becoming a foreign missionary. Now, I continue to feel the excitement of how the congregation continues to develop and expand around the world.”

After 30 years as a member of the Indonesian Province Fr. Mark returned to the United States permanently in 1999. He was involved in formation from 2000-2002, including a year as novice master.

In 2003 he moved to Door County, Wis., where he put his degree in pastoral counseling to work first as a licensed psychotherapist at the SCJs’ retreat center in Baileys Harbor, and then with Fox Valley Pastoral Counseling.

Now retired, Fr. Mark is a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Franklin, Wis.

Fr. Pat Lloyd, SCJ (60 years)

Fr. Pat

Fr. Pat, 80, is another Kilroe Seminary and SHSST alumnus. He was ordained in 1969 at Sacred Heart Monastery.

As was the case for many newly ordained priests at the time, Fr. Pat’s first assignment had him back where he started: at the seminary. From 1970-73 he was a teacher and vocation recruiter at Divine Heart in Donaldson, IN.

From Indiana he moved to South Dakota where he served for four years at St. Joseph’s Indian School and in pastoral ministry at St. Mary parish in Lower Brule.

In 1979 Fr. Pat was named pastor of St. Matthew parish in Houston, and after a year’s sabbatical in 1985 at Boston College, he became pastor of Christ the King parish in Southaven, MS.

Fr. Pat spent two years giving parish missions around the country and then moved to the Green Bay Diocese where he was pastor of Holy Rosary parish in New Holstein, WI., from 1993-97. After brief assignments assisting in vocations and in parochial ministry in South Dakota he returned to Christ the King in Southaven to once again serve as its pastor from 1999-2006. There, he saw the rapidly growing parish through the construction of a new church.

After Christ the King Fr. Pat served as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Indian School and assisted with the care of retired priests and brothers of his community. In 2010 Fr. Pat was named pastor of the four-parish cluster of St. Anthony in Tigerton, St. Mary in Marion, Holy Family – St. William in Wittenberg and St. Mary in Leopolis. He is now retired and is a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL.

Fr. Steve Pujdak, SCJ (60 years)

Like other members of his profession class, Fr. Steve, 79, studied at Kilroe and Sacred Heart but later went on to the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, where he earned a Ph.D. and an STD in theology.

Originally from Brooklyn, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1969.

Fr. Steve’s first full-time assignments were in academics, initially serving as a professor at SHSST (1975-77) and at Marquette University in Milwaukee (1977-82). In 1983 he moved into provincial administration as planning director and then as provincial secretary.

In 1988 he moved to the Rio Grande Valley, where he ministered at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Raymondville, TX, from 1988-2004. He joined the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, soon after, assisting with senior care and local support ministry. He is now a retired member of the community, though continues to serve as the local treasurer.

Skilled in sign language, Fr. Steve has also done ministry with hearing impaired Catholics.

Fr. Jim Brackin, SCJ (50 years)

Fr. Jim

Originally from Hankinson, ND, Fr. Jim is 76 and was ordained in 1975. Before entering religious life he served in the US Army, including a year in Vietnam (1967-68).

“My life with the Priests of the Sacred Heart has been a time of blessing filled with more surprises than I dare try to remember,” wrote Fr. Jim, reflecting on his anniversary.  “I have lived as possible what others might say is impossible. I have been gifted with educational opportunities that few others experience.  I have traveled to places that others have only seen in photographs.  I have formed relationships with people who find it difficult to comprehend there is a real place called ‘Hankinson.’

“In walking my life’s journey, I have tried to generously embrace the scripture – to whom much is given, much is expected.  In ministry, I have tried to be faithful to my personal motto – pass no one by.”

That motto led Fr. Jim to serve as a prison chaplain, and later, to earn a degree in civil law form the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. As a priest-lawyer (just as the founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon), Fr. Jim worked with Cabrini-Green Legal Aid in Chicago and was a staff attorney for the Border Association for Refugees from Central America (BARCA). He also served the province as a formation director, as president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, as the Province Director of Senior Life and as local superior of the province’s senior community in Hales Corners.

“As I reflect upon my journey, I am overwhelmed by the presence of the all-embracing love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” wrote Fr. Jim. “Thus I trust as I pass through the Eternal Curtain, a merciful Jesus will welcome me with the words, ‘Jimmy, you did good.’  And with a heart filled with gratitude, I will simply respond, ‘Thank you.’”

Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ (50 years)

Fr. Jack

Originally from Chicago, IL, Fr. Jack, professed vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1972 and was ordained in 1977.

“It is hard to believe that this year marks 50 years since I first professed vows, 62 years since I first went to Donaldson [Divine Heart Seminary] at the age of 9,” wrote Fr. Jack. “No, I was not some prodigy starting high school early. One of my brothers, Jim (Tom was his religious name), entered Divine Heart Seminary five years before me. I was nine years old when I first met priests like Paul Casper and Dominic Wessel. Although I was just a kid, they and other SCJ priests and brothers always seemed to welcome and have a kind word for us. I looked forward to our monthly visits and when, in 8th grade, I decided that I wanted to go to the seminary, it was a no-brainer that I’d go to Donaldson.”

Fr. Jack’s first assignment landed him a place that he still enjoys calling home: Mississippi.  Starting in 1980 at Queen of Peace parish in Olive Branch, Miss., he is now executive director of Sacred Heart Southern Missions. However, he also served for many years as vocation director, on a variety of committees and commissions, and was a delegate to the 1997 and 2018 General Chapter (he was liturgist at the 2015 General Chapter). Fr. Jack has served several terms on the Provincial Council; he is currently vice provincial of the US Province and province liturgist.

“In the last 15 years or so, I have had a growing awareness of not only being part of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart but also being part of the wider Dehonian Family – priests, brothers, sisters and lay men and women following the Dehonian charism,” wrote Fr. Jack. “It has been a privilege to accompany an increasingly larger number of the laity in Mississippi who have become Dehonian Associates…

“I obviously have enjoyed being part of our ministry in Mississippi. And I enjoy my work on the Council and the prep work for provincial assemblies and other gatherings. I would consider my time as province director of vocations to be the most challenging but also most rewarding of the ministries I have been asked to perform. As I am sure that anyone who has done formation work would agree, there is something very sacred about accompanying someone who is truly discerning what God is asking of him…

“I try hard to be a faithful son of Fr. Dehon. When I look to see where we minister – not just here in the US but also in some of the most difficult places in the world – and what God has accomplished through us, I am proud and happy to be part of this.”

Dn. David Nagel, SCJ (50 years)

Dn. David

As Provincial Treasurer, Dn. David, 71, lives and ministers only a few miles from where he grew up in Milwaukee, WI.

“When I was in seventh grade two SCJs, Frs. Kurlic and Jackson, came to our school –– St. Gregory ––  to talk about vocations,” said Dn. David.  “Sacred Heart Monastery was close, so I came for a few vocation club gatherings.  We swam in the lake in the summer, ice skated in the winter and prayed in the chapel.”

He learned about a vacation camp at Divine Heart Seminary and decided to go for a few days. “The SCJ spirituality of the Heart of Jesus was attractive to me. The love of Christ for all people and the service that the SCJs did with the poor in the United States and overseas.”

Dn. David professed his first vows in 1972, and then served for many years as a religious brother. He earned degrees in Food Management and Business from Cardinal Stritch College (Milwaukee), and an MA in Theology from Catholic Theological Union (Chicago). He served the province in many roles, including Food Service Director at SHSST and at St. Joseph’s Indian School, and as Director of Operations and Executive Director of Development at St. Joseph’s. It was while he was with the Development Office that he was ordained to the permanent diaconate. He became Provincial Treasurer in 2004, and serves on the General Finance Commission as well as the Provincial Council. Dn. David has also been a member of the province formation team.

“The province has changed a lot over the years,” said Dn. David.  “There is a more professional attitude regarding ministry and how we serve God’s people; however, I appreciate the founding SCJs of the province.  They worked through hardships at the beginning and established a good apostolic plan for the province.  You hear stores about those early SCJs and how they were on the street corners in Mississippi talking to people about the love of the Sacred Heart or living on donated potatoes from the local farmer during the Depression.  Service for the province and the Church are things I see as building what we have today.”

When asked what his favorite ministry has been, he was quick to answer: “St. Joseph’s Indian School, where I served for 25 years.” He appreciated the holistic approach to education, “in which we sought to find the best way to educate the whole child.” The school community recognized Dn. David’s years of service by naming its business office after him.

Fr. Jim Schifano, SCJ (50 years)

Fr. Jim

Originally from Colorado Springs, CO, Fr. Jim is 77, and was ordained in 1975. Before pursuing his vocation, Fr. Jim served in the US Army; he was at the rank of sergeant when he was discharged in 1967

Fr. Jim did his theological studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology and later served at the seminary from 1978-1990. However, his first assignment as a priest as at Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, IN.

Besides his many years serving at the seminaries and in the monastery community, Fr. Jim also did pastoral ministry, first at St. Matthew parish in Houston (1977-78). After over 20 years at SHSST, Fr. Jim returned to Houston, where he briefly served at Christ the Redeemer parish (1990-91) and then back at St. Matthew’s for five years.

In 1997, Fr. Jim joined the Dehonian community in Mississippi, where he ministered for three years at St. Gregory parish in Senatobia and Sacred Heart parish in Walls. From 2004-07 he served at St. Joseph’s parish in Holly Springs.

Fr. Jim’s final assignment before retirement was with our retired priests and brothers at the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL.

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ (40 years)

Fr. Steve

Currently Vicar General of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Steve was elected to his first term on the General Council in Rome in 2015. Prior to his election, Fr. Steve, 63, was Provincial Superior of the US Province.

Ordained in 1989, Fr. Steve studied at and earned degrees from Loyola University and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. At CTU, he received a Doctor of Ministry in Theology and one in Cross Cultural Ministry.

“I attended high school at Divine Heart as a day student,” said Fr. Steve, who grew up in near-by South Bend. “I didn’t go there with the idea of becoming a religious priest or brother, but rather to get a good Catholic education. It was the witness of the brothers and priests there who were involved in our lives that inspired me consider a vocation. They taught, coached, cooked, led us in prayer and retreats, worked on the farm to feed us and showed care in many daily ways. By my senior year, when deciding what would come next, I wanted to work in a way that helped others. I wanted to be like the SCJs who did just that.”

Although he did serve several years in formation, much of Fr. Steve’s ministry prior to administration was in South Dakota. He ministered with the Cheyenne River Pastoral Team, the Lower Brule Pastoral Team and as executive director of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Reflecting on his years as an SCJ, he said that “I’ve come to understand the importance of being more closely rooted in our charism and spirituality. My understanding of specific concepts like reparation, oblation and adoration have taken on a deeper meaning. While I have a pastoral heart and love actively serving people, I’ve grown to see how commitment to a quality community life is essential to being SCJ. My international experience from being on the General Council has broadened my appreciation of what it means to be part of an international congregation.”

What makes him happy to be an SCJ? “Our focus on God’s crazy and unconditional love for each of us!” he quickly answered. “I am sustained and encouraged by others to grow spiritually and have the chance to be invited into the lives of people in deeply personal ways. I’m grateful for the care and example shown to me by so many SCJs over the years. I’m also privileged for the opportunity to see our charism carried out in different countries and cultures…

“I believe our charism is a gift to the church that is well worth being a part of.

“Often, we look at young people as our future, and on the international level we have a good number of enthusiastic, talented young people. Centro Studi Dehoniani continues to form a new generation of prayerful scholars who can pass on our history and charism. I also am inspired by our elders who been able to faithfully serve through so many changes in society and the church. They have planted seeds of hope that will bloom beyond their lifetime. We have dedicated laity who share our mission and take it places we could not go without them.”

Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ (25 years)

Br. Duane

Br. Duane, 50, is a “home-grown” SCJ.  Professed in 1997, he grew up in an SCJ parish in South Dakota and as a teen, worked for the local SCJ community when it had a pastoral team in Eagle Butte, SD.

“I came to the Priests of the Sacred Heart in January, 1995, after my collegiate years at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.,” said Br. Duane.  He earned a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, but said that in formation he also “began to learn how to be a Priest of the Sacred Heart: one who is called to promote God’s love in the heart of people and society.”  Unlike CTU, his study of the later has no graduation.  He adds that it is a “lifelong course of study!”

His first ten years of ministry were in and around Lower Brule, S.D.  “As a member of the Catholic Pastoral Team, I ministered to youth and elders, taught religious education to youth and adults, and was a pastoral associate to St. Michael’s Parish in Kennebec,” he said. “Memories of the people, events and experiences I had there will always be with me and continue to influence my ministry.”

Br. Duane has served in formation and in parish ministry. He is currently a member of the Provincial Council, superior of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML, and province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.

“The best two views in the world can be found in Lower Brule, SD, and Chicago, IL,” said Br. Duane, talking about two areas of the world that have had a significant influence on who he is now: rural South Dakota, where he grew up and first ministered, and Chicago, where he studied and eventually served as a formation director. “Nothing compares to the Missouri River dominating the South Dakota horizon as seen from the bluffs overlooking Lower Brule, nor the skyline of steel, glass and light as seen after dark from Chicago’s Adler Planetarium…

“I couldn’t close without mentioning one final view: the water tower of Lantry, SD, silhouetted against a fiery sunset (this tower being the sole line in Lantry’s prairie sky). This view can be seen from the farm where I was raised, and still welcomes me home when I return to see parents and family. It is this view that brings my story full circle, for it for it was there that I met the Priests of the Sacred Heart, who married my parents, baptized me, ministered to me in my youth, and first taught me about the love found in Christ’s Heart. Without them, I wouldn’t have seen Lower Brule nor Chicago, nor the place that I now call home.”

Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ (25 years)

Fr. Vien

On February 2, 2022, Fr. Vien was installed as the 16th provincial superior of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). He had been elected to the position by fellow SCJs during their Election Assembly a month earlier.

“It is humbling to stand in front of you, to carry on the tradition of the US Province,” said Fr. Vien, after acknowledging and thanking the many SCJs who served as formators to him during his years as a candidate and as a professed SCJ, including Br. Peter Mankins, Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, Fr. Rick DiLeo, Fr. John Czyzynski, Fr. Michael Burke, Fr. Guy Blair, Br. Ray Kozuch, and Fr. Jan de Jong. Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, now vice provincial, recruited Fr. Vien when Fr. Jack served as province vocation director.

Originally from Vietnam, Fr. Vien, now 49, arrived in the United States when he was a teen. “The journey that led me to the United States was incredible: I spent days on a small, fragile fishing boat crossing the South China Sea, lived in refugee camps in the Philippines awaiting approval for asylum in the U.S., and, once I made it here, had to adapt to the new culture,” wrote Fr. Vien, reflecting on his immigrant experience in the book North American Dehonian Story of Immigration.

During much of Fr. Vien’s religious life he has been involved in academics as a student, teacher, and administrator.  At the time of his election, Fr. Vien was vice rector and assistant professor of Scripture Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, WI. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. In 2018 he earned a doctorate from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, CA.  He also earned a Th.M, and S.T.L. from Santa Clara University, and an M.Div. from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

The focus of his doctoral work was on people who live on the fringes of society, how people are separated by ethnicity, gender and space. Much of his reflection is based in the Gospel of Luke.

As a refugee from Vietnam, it is a topic with which he has first-hand familiarity.

Before pursuing post-graduate studies, Fr. Vien served in parish ministry (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes in Houston) and in formation, as well as on the Provincial Council.

Fr. Vien has been published in a wide variety of theological and professional publications, including the Review of Biblical Literature, Journal of Biblical Theology, and The American Journal Of Biblical Theology.

Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ (25 years)

Fr. Dave

Born in Pueblo, CO, and baptized in Alexandria, VA, as a child of a military family, Fr. David, 48, lived in many parts of the world “but I consider Lawton, OK, to be my hometown,” he said.

After taking part in a summer program hosted by the province vocation office, Fr. David applied to be an SCJ candidate in 1992.

“I liked that the SCJs ministered as a team,” he said. “I also liked the variety of ministries and the creative ways that ministry is done.”

He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1995, an M.Div. from Catholic Theological Union in 2002, and was ordained to the priesthood shortly after.

“I spent three years at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Houston, TX, before returning to school,” said Fr. David. This time, school was the Angelicum in Rome, where he earned a JCL and a JCD (canon law degrees). After graduation he served in provincial administration, in formation, and on the pastoral team in northern Mississippi. He is currently local superior of the SCJ community there.

Reflecting on his years as an SCJ, Fr. David said that he has “come to see the wisdom of the call to ‘get out of the sacristy,’” words from Fr. Dehon to his fellow priests to go to the people. “I think that by seeing ourselves as active repairers of the world we are free to find how we can invite people to the Heart of Christ.”

What does he like about being an SCJ?  “I like living in community, working on a team, and being surprised by seeing God act,” he said. “I simply cannot imagine living any other way.

Looking toward the future, Fr. David said that “I find hope in our charism, our guys in formation, and the SCJ missionaries who have come to the United States.”

Fr. Charles Wonch, SCJ (25 years)

Fr. Chuck

Originally from Coleville, WA, Fr. Chuck, now 75, was 50 years old when he made his first profession.

He had served in the US Air Force and earned degrees in Industrial Management from Jackson State University (Mississippi) and Theological Studies from Spring Hill College (Mobile, AL) before pursing his religious vocation. Initially, he planned to serve the Church as a lay minister.

“After earning a master’s in Theological Studies I worked with many parish priests and churches around central Mississippi,” he said. At the same time, he held a full-time job for 15 years as a purchasing supervisor at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station.

But increasingly, he said “God seemed to be calling me to come and follow Him and be of service to His people.”

He was ordained to the priesthood in 2002. For many years he served on the pastoral team that serves the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations in South Dakota. In 2009, he moved to Hales Corners where he assists the vocation office.

“When looking for a religious community to join and enjoy a future with, I came across a small ad in the back pages of the Sunday Visitor paper at my parish church and I asked my pastor if he knew anything about the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” said Fr. Chuck, talking about how he came to learn of the SCJs.  “He said that of course he knew something of them since they served across the northern part of Mississippi, serving the poor and operating schools and many parishes for the Diocese of Jackson.  He encouraged me to contact the vocation office. I did and Fr. Jack Kurps answered back immediately and set up a meeting in Nesbit.”

As they say in the movies, the “rest is history.”

What are his favorite memories as an SCJ? “The two best memories are my ordination and my being assigned to ministry in Lower Brule to serve the people of South Dakota,” said Fr. Chuck.  “I will always treasure my time living and working with the people of Ft. Thompson and Lower Brule, and working with all the great priests in both the dioceses of Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

“I thank God for our religious community and my experiences with it; I have been blessed by them all.”