The newest member of the US Province is an SCJ who has actually been here for several years: Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ, or “Fr. Ardi” as he is known in his American home. Originally from Indonesia, Fr. Ardi came to the US Province in the spring of 2019 to study English in Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s ECS program. He then served briefly in South Dakota before joining the pastoral team that ministers in northern Mississippi. As of October 11, he is now a member of the US Province. We asked him to share a bit about himself. Fr. Ardi writes:
I was born in South Sumatera (Indonesia). I am the first child in the family; I have a sister and a brother. My mom and dad are teachers.
I entered the minor seminary in 2004, and was ordained as a priest in February, 2018. I knew the Priests of the Sacred Heart well because the priests at my home parish were SCJs. Also, all of the staff at the seminary were members of the Priest of the Sacred Heart.
I initially wanted to join the Priests of the Sacred Heart because of their generosity and compassion for the poor, especially in South Sumatra. Also, I was attracted to the unique cross of the Dehonians. I loved to wear that cross even before I was an SCJ.
Soon after I was ordained I was assigned to the United States, where I would learn English and hopefully serve in the country. After a few months in South Dakota, I went to Mississippi on July, 14, 2020, in middle of the pandemic. During this pandemic, it has been a challenge for me to get to know parishioners because I have to keep my distance from people and wear a mask. However, I enjoy doing ministry here because of the diversity. There are Anglos, Vietnamese, Filipinos, and Hispanic families. There are so many opportunities for ministry.
I have been on the pastoral team for a year; we serve six parishes. My ministry here in Mississippi –– during this pandemic of course –– is mostly celebrating Mass on the weekends. I also have office hours from Monday to Friday at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Olive Branch. This is often when parishioners come for blessings, confessions and anointing of the sick.
The southern dialect and rhythm of speaking in Mississippi surprised me at first, especially when I meet parishioners, or just go to the market. But now I am getting used to it.
Welcome Fr. Ardi! We hope that on your home visits to Indonesia that you bring a little of that southern accent with you!