A very different feast day

PICTURED ABOVE: The Big Bend Dam near Fort Thompson

As local communities around the province prepare to celebrate feast of the Sacred Heart on Friday, June 19, the SCJ community in South Dakota grapples more so than most with how to be together, separately.

“The regional community in South Dakota is under some duress,” writes Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ. Fr. Bernie lives at the SCJ residence at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD. “Fort Thompson is in Buffalo County and that county currently has about 30 active cases of COVID-19, located largely in Fort Thompson itself.

Fr. Bernie

Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, our local superior, as well as pastor at Fort Thompson, seeks to prevent contagion among our full SCJ community in South Dakota. Because of this, he has decided to self-quarantine to avoid contact with other SCJs.

“The Native American tribal authorities in Lower Brule have established control points at reservation entrances to prevent movement of the virus in Lyman County. This makes the travel for Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, to the West River parishes, problematic.

“We at St. Joseph’s are grateful for the concern of SCJs in Lower Brule for the safety of those of us in Brule County. So far, there are no COVID-19 cases in the county.

“But, we still need to commemorate the feast of the Sacred Heart.

“In the spirit of Fr. Dehon and the Dehonian charism, Frs. Hendrik and Mark plan to celebrate the feast day by having Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during which they will renew their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as is done traditionally throughout the Congregation.

“Concelebration of the Mass is not possible at this time at the recommendation of the bishop of the diocese. So each priest will celebrate Mass individually.”

Feast of the Sacred Heart separately, but together.

Celebrations elsewhere

Although Sacred Heart Monastery will not be hosting its annual public feast-day Mass, members of the community at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, including faculty and staff, will be sharing a Mass together on June 19. Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, president-rector, will be the main celebrant.

The SCJ community in Mississippi is hosting its annual feast-day Mass at Christ the King Church in Southaven. However, seating is limited due to social distancing requirements and is by reservation only. On the feast day, Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, will receive the vow renewals of Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, and Hubert Liassidji, SCJ, who are doing summer ministry with Sacred Heart Southern Missions.

The two SCJ communities at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake will join for a feast-day Mass; Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, will preside. Other local communities will gather for small, feast-day celebrations. In Canada, Dehonians in Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal will have a Holy Hour together via Zoom.

Photo at top of page is of the Big Bend Dam near Fort Thompson