April 19, 2010

Participants at the Missio Cordis conference in Brazil included Fr. Paul Grizzelle Reid of the U.S. Province

Missio Cordis

Fr. Paul Grizzelle Reid represented the U.S Province at Missio Cordis, a theological seminar hosted by the Brazilian provinces in Brusque, Brazil.  It was the second in what is hoped to be a series of seminars focusing on the theological, biblical and pastoral foundations of SCJ spirituality; the first took place in 2008 in Alfragide, Portugal.

The seminar hosted a website in Spanish and Portuguese with daily reports, a blog and photos.  To view it, click HERE.

As noted, most of the text is in Portuguese or Spanish.  However, the opening presentation delivered by Fr. John van den Hengel, general councilor and coordinator of the general theological commission, is available in English.  Click here to download a PDF of it.

A statement – in Portuguese – from participants to the congregation is available at the congregational website.

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Tom Cassidy was able to get around the volcanic ash that has shut down much of European air travel and get to Rome.  He will be there until April 28, taking part in CMSM meetings with various dicastries and councils at the Vatican in his role as president of CMSM.  Last year, as president-elect, he attended the annual meetings for the first time.

While there, Fr. Tom will be posting entries on the province’s newly created blog site.  An informal blog, on it will be periodic postings from members of the community, as well as co-workers and other “friends” of the SCJs.  If you would like to post a contribution, please contact Mary Gorski.

You can access the blog at http://www.scjusa.wordpress.com or from the “blog” tab at the bottom of the province website.

Also in Rome

Besides Fr. Tom Cassidy, Fr. Francis Vu Tran is also scheduled to be in Rome this week.  He will be doing language studies in preparation for graduate work in Biblical theology. A feature about Fr. Francis and his upcoming studies was posted at the province website last week.  Click HERE to read it.

Remember in prayer

Fr. Michael van der Peet’s temperature spiked to 103F early on Saturday.  Fr. Jim Brackin said that Fr. Michael was alert at times and does not appear to be in any pain.

Fr. Michael will not be transferred to the hospital. At this point he’ll be kept comfortable. Fr. Jim has been informed by medical staff that Fr. Michael is nearing death, most likely in the next few days.  Please continue to remember him in prayer.

Fr. P.J. McGuire (middle) with students at the 2009 final vows program in the Philippines. Fr. P.J. is doing a presentation at the program again this year.

Headed to the Philippines

As noted last week, the SCJ final vows program is already underway in the Philippines (Br. Brian Tompkins of the Canadian Region is one of the participants).  On Wednesday, Fr. PJ McGuire, one of the program presenters, left for the Philippines.  He wrote:

“As General Douglas MacArthur said, I shall return. I will arrive in Manila a little after midnight Thursday [April 15] and I will stay there for a couple days so that my body clock can adjust to the time change. Then on Sunday I will fly to the southern island of Mindanao. I’ll be staying at our novitiate in Dumalinao where the Final Vow program is being held. Scenically, it’s a very beautiful location; it reminds me of the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts, but without Tanglewood.

“My presentations will take up the last two weeks of April and into May. At last count there will be 13 participants: eight from India, three Vietnamese, one Filipino, and one Canadian [Br. Brian].”

Following the final vow program, Fr. P.J. is tentatively scheduled to speak to SCJ undergraduate students in Cagayan de Oro.

He’ll return to the United States the third week of May.


Frater Greg Schill was honored last week as the “2009 Volunteer of the Year” by the Chicago Lighthouse, an organization that assists people who are visually impaired.  He received the award during a banquet at the organization’s headquarters in Chicago; over 100 staff, volunteers, friends and benefactors of the center attended the event last Wednesday.  To give a sense of the significance of the award, Frater Greg just one of 300-plus volunteers at the center.  These volunteers are in addition to the 200 paid staff members of the center.

Frater Greg Schill receives his "2009 Volunteer of the Year" award from Janet P. Szlyk, Ph.D. executive director of the Chicago Lighthouse

“I have been working primarily at the Chicago Lighthouse Low Vision clinic,” said Frater Greg about his involvement with the center, which began last year. “I also have helped out at Cris Radio, the official radio station of the Chicago Lighthouse, reading over the airwaves to the visually impaired. In February, I participated in a fund-raising event benefiting children in need of special lenses. I hope to do more with fund-raising in the future.”

What does he enjoy about the ministry?  “I love being in an organization where I can truly make a difference,” said Frater Greg. “I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the visually impaired and about the work and enormous effort that has been made to help these people in need.”

Frater Greg graduates from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in May. Following the province election assembly he will go to Argentina to live with the SCJ community there while studying Spanish.

Way to grow!

St. Martin of Tours School in Franklin, Wis., is one of Lands’ End’s “Way to Grow” schools.  Go to the Lands’ End website and cast a vote for the school; you vote once a day.  The school with the most votes by May 14 will receive a donation of $2,500 from Lands’ End.

Please remember

Fr. Christian Hermann Schönhoff, a member of the German Province, died April 7.  He was born in 1938, professed in 1961 and ordained in 1967.

Fr. Lino Francesco Pedro, a member of the North Italian Province, died April 13.  He was born in 1939, professed in 1956 and ordained in 1966.


Members of the province who need to vote in this year’s election assembly by proxy need to have their written request to Fr. Tom Cassidy by May 1. Your request can be sent by fax, regular mail and/or electronic mail.  If you have questions about this, please contact Br. Frank Presto, provincial secretary.

Remembering those who built the province

Starting in April of last year we posted short biographies of deceased members of the province on or near their anniversary of death.  We started with Fr. M. Patrick Cremer, who died on April 20, and now complete the year’s necrology with memories of Br. Joseph Bélanger and Fr. William Kirk.  The biographies will eventually be posted to the province website; a notice will be placed in the Fridge Notes when they are available.

Br. Joseph Bélanger (d. April 21, 1956): Br. Joseph was born in Sherbrooke, Canada, in 1893. He married and had six chil­dren before entering religious life. Two of his sons also went on to be­come religious.

Throughout married life, he was active in his parish and became a member of various Catholic or­ganizations, including the League of the Sacred Heart. When his wife died, he began to consider a com­mitment to religious life and placed himself under the guidance of a Jesuit father. It was under his sug­gestion that Br. Joseph approached the SCJs.
At age 60, he came to the no­viate in Ste. Marie. Although he was older than many of the priests, his age created few barriers. His enthusiasm, tireless energy and determination outweighed many of the novices half his age.

Br. Joseph was a skilled carpenter who quickly put his skills to work at the minor seminary in Canada. In 1955, Br. Joseph returned to the States to prepare for final vows. A month after his return, he learned he had cancer. He underwent two operations and hoped to return to Canada to continue his work.

On March 19, 1956, he said his final vows at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Effingham. Just a month later, Br. Joseph died.

Fr. William Kirk (d. April 25, 1982): Curiously, Fr. Bill had also been married and had children (and grandchildren) before he followed his call to religious life and the priesthood.

He was ordained after finishing an accelerated three-year program at Sacred Heart School of Theology, picking up extra classes during the summer.

“When my wife died in 1969,” he said, “I thought that perhaps I’d want to repay in this limited way all the fine blessings I’ve had in my life.”

Before coming to religious life, Fr. Bill held a variety of positions. Previous to retirement at 65, Fr. Bill was involved in industrial relations for Bethlehem Steel. His wife died a year before he retired.

Even before contemplating the priesthood, Fr. Bill had been very active in his church. For several years he was a member of the Holy Name Society, visiting hospitals and taking care of the needs of less fortunate parishoners. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and handled many of the CYO programs at his parish. While in high school, he taught catechism to grade school children.

Fr. Bill found out about SHST and its special program for older men through a magazine article. He was accepted into the program and arrived in Hales Corners in August, 1971.

He viewed his later entry into the priesthood as an advantage. He had experienced much of life and could reflect on that in his work as a priest.

Eight years after ordination, Fr. Bill died.

We also remember honorary SCJ Katheryn Hagerty, who died on April 25, 1990.