Delayed for two years by the pandemic, Frs. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, (Superior General) and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ (Vicar General), made their way to the United States in May for the General Visitation of the US Province. It’s been almost ten years since the last Visitation, done by Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, SCJ, in 2013.
Their first stop was with the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, where Fr. Carlos said that he met with senior SCJs who gave him a historical sense of the province, emphasizing its commitment to some of the poorest counties in the country, and its many social programs.
After Florida it was on to Wisconsin where Frs. Carlos and Steve took part in commencement at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology and in Dn. Henry Nguyen’s ordination. From there, they went to South Dakota, an area Fr. Steve knows well from his many years of ministry, most recently as executive director of St. Joseph’s Indian School before being named Provincial Superior of the US Province. Heading south, Frs. Carlos and Steve went to Mississippi, where they celebrated Mass and visited students at Sacred Heart and Holy Name Schools and learned about the various ministries of Sacred Heart Southern Missions. Their last stop was Houston at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.
Although much of the visitation involved ministry tours and visits with those who collaborate with the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the primary task of a visitation is dialogue. It is time for SCJs on the local level –– individually and as a community –– to have conversations with the General Administration. The Superior General gets a better sense of the local communities, and the local communities learn first-hand about news of the congregation at the general level.
“We are your servants,” said Fr. Carlos during his meeting with the Provincial Council. “How can we better serve you?”
Among the topics discussed during his visit with the council was the importance of having a missionary spirit and an openness to multiculturalism. Fr. Carlos noted that the US Province welcomes SCJs from around the world in community and ministry, but also hosts many international students in its ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
“Hales Corners – Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology – is one of the treasures of the congregation,” said Fr. Carlos. “It is not only important to the congregation, but also to the Church.”
After their visit of the US Province Frs. Carlos and Steve flew to Canada for the Regional Visitation there.
Fr. Carlos was elected as Superior General in 2018; he completes his first term in 2024.
CLICK HERE to view photos from the visitation