An EXTRAordinary man
“I am an ordinary man,” wrote Bishop Joseph Potocnak in the most recent issue of Dehonian Spirituality. “I know that is why God chose me to be a religious priest and bishop, so that anything that happened or will happen in my priesthood can’t be attributed to my goodness, but to the love and power of God.
“I will be a priest 50 years this year—39 years in South Africa. Many people touched my heart and life there, but I always recall one poor, old, dying Xhosa woman, whom I had the privilege to hold her hand and pray with before she passed away. Her relatives told me when she heard the church bells ring that Sunday, she said she wanted to be with Jesus.
“She was just waiting for the Father to come, so that she could go to Jesus. And she did. My whole priesthood was worth it to be with the poor, dying woman. She seemed to be unknown and insignificant, but she was precious to the Lord.
“None of us religious and priests is called because we are righteous. We are called because we are common folks. I worked in a factory, served in the Air Force as an enlisted man before entering religious life. St. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:27-29, ‘God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong… those who count for nothing… so that no human being might boast.’ God touches the hearts of people through those of us ‘who count for nothing.’”
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Earthquake in Ecuador
We recently learned that 10 parishioners died, and many more were injured at the SCJs’ parish in Bahía de Caráquezas, Ecuador, as a result of the recent earthquakes there. A coastal city, Bahía de Caráquezas was largely destroyed by the quake. The SCJs’ community house was among those with significant damage. Due to heavy rains, the main roads linking the mountains and the coast are impassable at several points, making it even more difficult for people in the area to receive help.
“Our prayers are joined with your prayers, our thoughts are joined to your thoughts,” wrote Fr. Heiner Wilmer, superior general, to the District Superior, Fr. José Luis Domínguez. “May God bless your community, the people of Ecuador and your mission.”
Fr. Leonard Elder no longer has a land line. His cell phone is: 662-274-4700.
Fr. Joe Dean is back in Lower Brule after several weeks of intravenous antibiotic treatment in Pierre.
Dehonian Associates resources available online
In December, 2014, members of the Provincial Council approved a proposal “to establish and support a Dehonian Associate Program, adapted to local situations and needs.”
“What this will eventually look like is a work in progress,” said David Schimmel, Province Director of Dehonian Associates, “but the council recommended a pilot project in which to begin the organic development of this program.”
David Schimmel has created a Spiritual Path that forms the basis of discernment for commitment as a Dehonian Associate. It consists of ten monthly group sessions. “They are interactive sessions for an adult learning process that begins in experience,” he said. “After a commitment, renewed yearly, the Dehonian Associates would continue to meet regularly for mutual support as they put the Dehonian charism into practice within the family, a profession, or other groups of Church and society.”
The first nine sessions of the Spiritual Path, as well as the Dehonian Associates Rule of Life and the Dehonian Associates Prayer Book, are available as PDF files on the Dehonian Spirituality web page.
Click here to access the Spiritual Path sessions directly.
Click here to access the resource page with links to the Dehonian Associates Rule of Life and the Dehonian Associates Prayer Book.
Click here to contact David Schimmel. “I welcome constructive critiques of the material,” he said.
As David noted, this is a “work in progress.” Prayer cards and other support materials will be added to the website soon.
This month a group at Christ the King parish in Southaven, MS, has started with the Spiritual Path. Fr. Jack Kurps is spearheading this first use of the materials. In Lyford and Raymondville, TX, Fr. Richard MacDonald has been leading an informal group of approximately 100 people using the presentation element of the Spiritual Path.
New secretary general
Fr. Pedro Iglesias Curto of the Spanish Province has been named the new secretary general for the Priests of the Sacred Heart. He will succeed Fr. F. Heru Ismadi of the Indonesian Province, on August 1.
Fr. Pedro was one of the primary organizers of the International Conference of Dehonian Educators in Valencia, Spain, in 2014. He was also on the assisting staff of the 2009 General Chapter, during which he was ordained to the diaconate.
“Like” the vocation page
The Facebook page for Vocation Central (province vocation office) has sprung back to life in recent weeks with the help of the Dehon Formation Community. Click here to visit the page, and if you are a member of Facebook, be sure to “like” it. The page features vocational prayers and quotes, as well as photos of SCJs from past moments.
+Br. Jesús María López Andoño, a member of the Spanish Province, died on April 15. He was born in 1931, professed in 1949 and made his perpetual profession in 1955.
Meeting in Rome
Dn. David Nagel, province treasurer, is in Rome this week for meetings of the General Finance Commission. This is the first commission meeting under the leadership of the new General Treasurer, Fr. Luca Zottoli. Returning to the commission are Dn. David and Fr. Gerhard Hemken (GER). New members include Fr. Alexander Sapta (INA), Fr. Jesús Valdezate (ESP) and Fr. Emile Engoulou (CMR). The commission has representation from all of the continents where SCJs are located.
Our thanks to Fr. Radek Warenda, vice secretary general, for sending the above photo.
Summer ESL program coming together
The seven-week summer ESL program (English as a Second Language) at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology begins June 27. Kelly Kornacki, ESL director, reports that as of last week seven SCJ priests and one lay person sponsored by the community are registered for the summer. This is in addition to 22 scholarship students (the SCJs’ sponsor scholarships for priests and religious to take part in the summer program), and 11 seminarians who will be using the summer to begin or continue their English studies.
We’ll share more about this year’s summer session once it is underway.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days in DC
Mark Peters, US Province Director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, is in Washington, DC, this week taking part in Ecumenical Advocacy Days. According to a mailing from EAD shared by Mark, today’s focus is on lobbying “for the right of all U.S. citizens to vote free from intimidation and the protection of vulnerable communities from the deepening inequality brought about through trade policies that prioritize corporate interests over both God’s creation and people.”
Mark encourages SCJs and others to support the EAD’s efforts by “calling members of Congress between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. today, to let them know that you are one with the advocates who are visiting their offices. Strongly urge your members to act on the following: 1) become a co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R.2864); 2) push leadership to bring the bill to a floor vote; 3) vote in favor of the bill, and 4) work to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and encourage other members to do the same.”
If you do not know the direct office numbers for your Congressional representatives, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Click here to visit the EAD website.
Fr. Ed Kilianski is in South Dakota for a visitation until April 20. May 2 is the meeting of the North American administrations (Hales Corners) and on May 3-4 Fr. Ed has Provincial Council meetings.