Weekly News: April 15, 2019

The Resurrection

Father, in your plan of love,
You raised your Son, Jesus,
And established him as Lord,
The heart of humanity
And the hope of salvation
To all who listen to his voice.

Like Mary Magdalene,
Searching the garden of the empty tomb,
We wish to recognize the voice of the Risen One
Who calls our names
And sends us forth as gospel witnesses.

By offering ourselves with Christ
For our brothers and sisters,
We seek to be an effective sign
Of the coming of your reign of justice.


Prayer from This Day of God, Community Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart

Holy Week and Easter schedule

The Provincial Offices will be closed as of 2:00 p.m. on Holy Thursday (April 18) and not reopen until Tuesday, April 23. There will be no Fridge Notes published on April 22 and no Dehonian Spirituality published on April 19 (Good Friday). As always, be sure to check the US Province Facebook page for updates in-between issues of the Fridge Notes.

Sr. Norma shares a laugh with Fr. Richard MacDonald and Fr. Tom Knoebel

Hundreds attend Dehon Lecture

The lobby at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology was packed last Wednesday for the Dehon Lecture. Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, was the featured speaker. Many have come to know her through her work with the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.

“We are restoring humanity,” is how she describes the work of the center. Since 2014 she and volunteers from a variety of area faith communities, as well as civic and business leaders, have assisted migrants on their asylum journey. However, she insists that it is the responsibility of all Americans to help in this migration crisis.

“We need to go to sleep at night tired from doing good, from doing more than the bare minimum,” said Sr. Norma. “It is a wonderful feeling to know that you have done God’s will… We must seek to quench the thirst of Jesus in every person. Don’t say to yourself, ‘Oh, someone else can do this better than me.’ All are called to help others.”

How? “Start by finding the things that we all have in common,” she said. “We must remind each other that we are one family, one human family.”

This spring’s Dehon Lecture was a joint effort of SHSST and the North American Migration Commission.

Click here to read more.

Click here to view photos from the Dehon Lecture.

Fr. Vien Nguyen

Immigrant stories

Besides Sr. Norma, attendees of the Dehon Lecture also heard from several immigrants who shared their own stories of migration. During the midday Mass, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, spoke of his experience as a migrant from Vietnam.

“My journey to the United States began with a small fishing boat,” he said. “Because of the effects of war, communism, and poverty my mom arranged to have everyone in the family leave the country one by one. At the age of 14, I left Vietnam with my aunt and 37 other people, crossing the South China Sea to the Philippines, on a fishing boat that was about six feet wide and 20 feet long.”

Fr. Vien spoke of the challenges of being a person who straddles two cultures, but who is not fully at home in either. “By now you know that I speak English a little funny,” he said. “The irony is that I speak Vietnamese a little funny too…

“In an era that has become increasingly anti-unauthorized-immigrants, the Church is inviting us to respond in a way which is human, just, and fraternal. The Church is inviting us to care for those on the margins, which was the passion of our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, and is the mission of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. It is also the commitment of the seminary’s sponsoring dioceses and religious communities to care for our neighbors, as we do for ourselves, by providing legal and social services for immigrants.”

Click here to read his full homily.

Fr. Claude Bédard, Lily Ooi and Fr. Peter McKenna

NORAM Migration Committee expands

As noted above, the Dehon Lecture was organized as a joint effort between the North American Migration Committee and SHSST. That committee recently welcomed two new members: Fr. Claude Bédard, SCJ, and Lily Ooi. Lily is a member of the worship community at Dehon House in Ottawa.

“The opportunity to assist refugees resettling in Canada is both a privilege and a gift,” wrote Lily in a reflection for a committee project. “Over the last year and a half, I have had the great fortune to volunteer with three families. All from Syria but so different in their backgrounds, experiences and faith ­­– one Catholic, one Muslim, and the other, for lack of a better descriptor, of secular beliefs. What is of importance is not their differences but rather what they have in common – they all left their loved ones, homes and possessions, not truly by choice but rather necessity.”

Fr. Peter met with the new committee members in Montréal on Saturday, April 13. He said that “It was a time to get to know each other, revisit not only the work of the North American Migration Committee, of which they are also now members, but also to explore possibilities for how to accompany and join with the members of the three local communities of Canada in their response to what refugees are experiencing.

“The committee will next meet on July 13 to continue the discussion of the Canadian reality, and on September 23-24, meet with the full committee to explore how Dehonians in North America can respond collaboratively and collectively in their own context. This first meeting was full of lots and lots of spontaneous sharing, dreaming of possibilities and yet focused with our eyes and hearts on heaven and our feet on the ground.”

St. Joe’s teaches “adulting”

Seniors at the meat counter

Besides their academic studies, high school seniors at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD, also receive instruction in what the school calls “adulting.” Houseparents teach their students about grocery shopping, cooking, budgeting, bill-paying, and how to apply for a job.

Last week the school profiled the “adulting” efforts on its blog. Students were given a budget, sent to the grocery store and left to purchase and organize a meal.

“The tight budget mimics how tight it can be when you are first starting out,” said one of the houseparents. “It’s really important we help the kids prioritize items and stay within that budget.”

Click here to read more on St. Joseph’s blog.

Schedule reminders: province jubilee, assembly

Last week SCJs in the US Province and Canadian Region were sent a letter (via email) from the assembly planning committee. In it was a reminder to RSVP to the gathering. If you have not done so, please click here to indicate whether you will or will not attend the June 11-14 assembly. You can also RSVP by contacting Mary Gorski via email or by phone (414-427-4266).

The assembly will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, in the Provincial Conference Center. The province jubilees will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 10. Jubilarians are working on the final details of their celebration and anticipate having invitations in the mail soon.

Other calendar items

Province gatherings and celebrations, Provincial Council meetings, birthdays and other items are listed in the online North American calendar. Click here to access it. You can also find a link for the calendar at the bottom of each page on the province website and at the bottom of the e-mail version of the Fridge Notes.

Do you have something to add to the calendar? Committee meetings? Local celebrations? SCJ retreats? Click here to submit a calendar item. New items will also be shared in the Fridge Notes as they are received.

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