Assembly begins by honoring province jubilarians
The 2020-2021 Jubilarians were the focus of the January 3rd opening liturgy of the US Provincial Election Assembly. Due the pandemic, the usual province jubilee celebrations were postponed during the past two years. Ramifications of the pandemic continue, but with most of the province together for the assembly, it was time to recognize these SCJs and their over 600 years of religious life.
Br. Bernard Taube is the longest in vows, having made his first profession on March 19, 1950. He is now 89 and retired near family in Minnesota. Fr. Richard Johnston and Fr. Tom Lind were novitiate classmates, professing their first vows 70 years ago on September 8, 1951. As is Br. Bernie, they are also each 89, and retired. Fr. Tom is a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, and Fr. Richard is a member of the Houston community.
Another member of the Pinellas Park community celebrating an anniversary is Bishop Joe Potocnak, 88, who professed his first vows on September 8, 1961. The retired bishop of De Aar, South Africa, Bishop Joe celebrates 60 years of religious life, much of which was spent as a missionary in South Africa.
Our golden jubilarians are classmates Fr. Byron Haaland, 72, and Br. Ray Kozuch, 76, who professed first vows on August 22, 1970. Currently novice master for the US Province, Fr. Byron also spent many years in retreat ministry. After many years in administration and senior care, Br. Ray is retired and a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.
An international trio of SCJs commemorate their 30th anniversaries: Fr. Christianus Hendrik, Fr. Andrzej Sudol and Fr. Jerzy Mordalski. Fr. Hendrik, 52, is originally from Indonesia but currently serves in South Dakota. He also concludes his second term on the Provincial Council this year. Fr. Andrzej, 51, is from Poland and serves as associate novice master, as well as on the staff at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Fr. Jerzy, 52, is also from the Polish Province, and is on the pastoral team that serves Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston. He was professed in 1991; Frs. Andrzej and Hendrik were professed in 1990.
Three of the silver jubilarians were classmates: Fr. Joseph Thien Dinh (52), Fr. Quang Nguyen (56) and Fr. Ed Zemlik (64). They made their first professions on August 15, 1995. Br. Andy Gancarczyk (46) professed his first vows just a few weeks later in Poland on September 24, 1995. An out-going member of the Provincial Council, Br. Andy is currently on a year-long sabbatical in Poland after serving for several years at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston. Fr. Joseph is a member of the formation team at Sacred Heart Monastery. Fr. Quang is province vocation director, as well as vice provincial superior during Fr. Ed Kilianski’s administration. Fr. Ed Zemlik is associate archivist. Fr. Wojcieh Adamczyk (45), originally from Poland, professed his first vows on September 22, 1996. He is currently pastor of OLG, Houston.
Another member of the Houston community at OLG, Fr. Rafael Querobin, 42, professed his first vows on February 2, 2001; he is originally from Brazil. On the same day, Br. Diego Diaz, 44, professed his vows in Argentina. Br. Diego is a member of the Mississippi community where he serves with Sacred Heart Southern Missions in social service, and at Holy Family and Sacred Heart Schools. Fr. Jean-Claude Mbassi, 47, was also professed in 2001. Originally from Cameroon, he now ministers with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team in South Dakota
Not all of the jubilarians could be at the Mass, but each was remembered by the community and publicly thanked for his years of dedication not only to ministry but to religious life as members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians).
The Election Assembly runs from January 3-7. The primary focus of the gathering is to elect a new provincial superior and council. Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, completes his second term on February 2.