May 3, 2010

Fr. Tom Cassidy visited with Pope Benedict XVI during Fr. Tom's CMSM Vatican meetings

Provincial’s Time

“Our Vatican visits ended yesterday with one to the Congregation for the Clergy at 09:00 and a joint meeting with LCWR at 11:00 to Oriental Churches,” wrote Fr. Tom Cassidy in his last blog posting during his recent trip to Rome.  Actually, this final posting was written at about 37,000 feet, on his plane trip home.

“I fly back just in time to preside tomorrow at Sacred Heart School of Theology’s graduation ceremony,” he continued. “It is always a bittersweet moment. On the one hand you are proud and pleased to watch men receive their degrees while at the same time you say good-bye to men you’ve come to know so well. I know some came four years ago filled with doubt if they could really make the grade. And now we say good-bye as many prepare for their ordinations and the dream of serving as a minister of the Gospel. We wish them Godspeed and realize that in a few months the cycle will begin again!”

Please go to: to read the rest of the entry and other posts.

Fr. Tom is the Milwaukee area during much of the next two weeks.  May 10-12 he has meetings with the Provincial Council.

Share a bit about yourself or your ministry

As noted above, the province now has a “blog.”  An informal space on the internet, 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 or from the “blog” tab at the bottom of the province website.

Sharing the “family” stories

In spring Fr. Tom Cassidy received an e-mail from Fr. Delio Ruiz, an SCJ formation director in the Philippines.  Fr. Delio noted that students in the district would soon be on summer break, during which they would again take part in “our English enrichment program for seminarians.”

Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ

Last year during the program Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, joined the formation community to assist students with their English studies.  “Would a member of the U.S. Province be available for such assistance again?” asked Fr. Delio. Fr. Tom forwarded the request to the membership to see if anyone might be able to help.

Fr. Frank Wittouck said that he remembered seeing the request from Fr. Tom, but “didn’t give it much thought,” he said.  “I had a lot of commitments coming up in spring and early summer –– weddings, family commitments. I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to get away then.”

But then he looked at his calendar and realized that he did have an open block of time and it just happened to be when the Philippine SCJs hoped to have an American come and visit. Fr. Frank will be in the Philippines May 12 through June 3.

“My spiritual director suggested that the Holy Spirit might be speaking to me,” said Fr. Frank.

In the Philippines Fr. Frank will be a part of the ESL program for SCJ students and candidates, though not as an instructor.  In some ways, he will be like a “visiting uncle,” he said.  Bringing in SCJs from other parts of the congregation is one way in which the Philippine community tries to introduce its younger members to the worldwide congregation.

“I’ll help them with their English simply by speaking with them,” said Fr. Frank, “and sharing stories of the congregation as well as my own vocation.  I love to talk about history and especially about the history of the community.”

Like the visiting uncle, telling stories from the family’s past.

To read the complete story about Fr. Frank’s visit to the Philippines, go to the province website.

Keep in prayer

Gloria Pocius, the sister of Fr. Bob Tucker, recently learned that her cancer has returned.  She will resume chemotherapy this month and take part in a new drug test.   Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

News from South Dakota

Fr. Bernie Rosinski, our “field reporter” in South Dakota, shares a few items from his community:

“Fr. Stephen Huffstetter is back at his base for about a week in-between cancer treatments at the Mayo Clinic and is energetically fulfilling his tasks at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

“Pastoral Team member, Sr. M. Clement Eiden of the Sisters of Christian Charity, recently become a ‘wounded healer.’ What she thought was a sprained ankle she has now learned is actually a hairline fracture. Instead of cowboy boots, she is seen walking the reservation with an orthopedic boot.”

And finally, Fr. Bernie notes that he can’t wait to “get to Milwaukee for the election assembly so that I can get my eyes tested to see if I need new glasses.” The glasses he is now wearing are missing the nose piece.  In its place he has a piece of tape around the bridge.   Rumor has it that the taped glasses give him a smart, but rather nerdy look.


He has been with the province for the past two years as a student and now as a member of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team in South Dakota.  However, now Fr. Christianus Hendrik, originally from Indonesia, is a member of the U.S. Province.  Welcome Fr. Hendrik!

To read more about him, click here.


With the addition of Fr. Hendrik, total province membership is at 94, plus three novices.

The statistics for the worldwide congregation by clicking here.


Br. Tim Murphy:  As previously noted, Br. Tim joined the Villa Maria community in Franklin.  His direct phone is 414-409-4835.

Homily for Fr. Michael

Fr. Jan de Jong, long-time friend of Fr. Michael van der Peet, gave the homily at Fr. Michael’s funeral Mass last week.  Fr. Michael had asked Fr. Jan years ago if he would speak at his funeral.

“I felt privileged by this request and I have often thought what I would say in this homily,” said Fr. Jan. “I always came up with some ideas, some thoughts about his life, some stories, or some anecdotes. Now that he has died in reality I feel feeble in fulfilling this task.”

Fr Jan’s homily in full has been posted on the province website .  To access it directly click here.