Weekly News: April 27, 2020

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

“The first word of vocation, then, is gratitude,” writes Pope Francis in his letter commemorating the 57th Annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, next Sunday, May 3. “Taking the right course is not something we do on our own, nor does it depend solely on the road we choose to travel. How we find fulfilment in life is more than a decision we make as isolated individuals; above all else, it is a response to a call from on high. The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat. In calling us, he becomes our helmsman; he accompanies and guides us; he prevents us from running aground on the shoals of indecision and even enables us to walk on surging waters.

“Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us, perhaps even at a time when our boat was being battered by the storm. ‘Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call’ (Letter to Priests, 4 August 2019). We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives.”

Click here to read Pope Francis’ full message.

Frater Hubert and Jacob (candidate), students in the formation program

I am called to be a Dehonian

In light of World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we share a few of our students’ quotes regarding their call to the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

“The fact that the SCJs are committed to continuing Christ’s work of rebuilding our world into God’s kingdom of justice and love is a strong connection for me,” said Kenneth C. Anyanwu (postulant).

“I was attracted to the SCJs’ simplicity, diversity, and community life,” wrote Frater Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ.

“As I have spent time with the SCJs, I have come to understand that the social action taught by our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, is a new way of evangelization,” said Frater Hubert Senam Kodjovi Liassidji, SCJ.

“I am thrilled to see where this life as an SCJ will lead me,” said Frater Henry Bùi Nguyễn, SCJ. “I know it will continue to allow me to help and serve those who are most in need.”

“I would like to learn to be a prophet of love, a servant of reconciliation, and be attentive to humankind’s appeals through Dehonian spirituality,” wrote Novice Hung Pham.

“I was drawn to the community because of its devotion to Eucharistic Adoration; it is one of my favorite ways of praying,” said Michael Wodarczyk (candidate).

Do you know of someone discerning a call to religious life or the priesthood? Put them in touch with our province vocation office. Email vocationcentral@wi.twcbc.com, or call 800-609-5559.

Hello from Pinellas Park!

Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, sends greetings from the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL. He wrote that after 24 days of staying at home, several members of the community are anxious move around outside of the property. The community is keeping the rest of the province in prayer –– as it always does –– but reminds SCJs that they cannot welcome visitors at this time, even briefly. The community is following recommended social distancing guidelines and enhanced protocols for cleaning and personal hygiene. “We are thinking of you all,” added Fr. Vincent.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in May include Fr. Mark Fortner on May 4, Fr. Byron Haaland on May 6, Fr. Bryan Benoit and Fr. Jack Kurps on May 7, Fr Guy Blair on May 8, Frater Paul Phong Hoang on May 9, Fr. Anthony Kluckman and Fr. Elie Ngoy on May 12, Bishop Joseph Potocnack on May 13, Fr. Thi Pham on May 14, Br. Andy Gancarczyk on May 24, Fr. Wayne Jenkins on May 25, and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter on May 31. Happy birthday!

A reminder that the birthdays of SCJs and candidates are available in the online North American SCJ calendar. Click here to access it directly. Links to the calendar are also available at the end of each week’s Fridge Notes and at the bottom of each page in the US Province website.

Dehon Study Center offerings

The Dehon Study Center is making available a copy of a presentation given by David Schimmel to the local SCJ Mississippi community of St. Michael at their day of reflection on March 3, 2018.  The title: “A Strong and Generous Devotion.

Although the presentation was developed with an SCJ audience in mind, others may find it interesting as well.

“While it may be true that all the talk about community is just an unattainable dream, the apostle Paul tells the Corinthians, ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ to try anyway,” said David.  “The spirituality of the Heart of Jesus roots us in our daily lives, reminding us that we can love an unseen God only by loving the people right in front of us.”

Click here to access the text. Click here to find other offerings from the North American Dehon Study Center.

Please remember

+ Br. Carlo Burbello of the North Italian Province died on April 21. He was born in 1928 and professed in 1951.

+ Fr. Joannes Peeters of the Dutch – Flemish Confederation, died on April 25. He was born in 1932, professed in 1954 and ordained in 1961.

Click here to access the congregational necrology on the general website.

Fr. Juan José Arnaiz Écker

New administration in Spain

The general administration has appointed Fr. Juan José Arnaiz Écker, SCJ, as provincial superior of the Spanish Province. His three-year term will begin on July 6, 2020. The new SCJ Provincial Council (in order): Fr. Francisco Javier Luengo Mesonero, Fr. Eduardo Gómez Martín, Br. Javier López Martínez, and Fr. Juan María López de San Román Laño.

Fr. Juanjo currently serves as vice director of the Centro Studi Dehoniani in Rome.

Celebrating the Dehonian presence in Cameroon

Br. Idriss

On April 30, 1910, Fr. Leo John Dehon contacted the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, writing that “That there are not yet any Catholic missions in northern Cameroon, while Protestant missions are thriving there… We ask for permission to start missions there, under the conditions that the Sacred Congregation will deign to tell us.” The Congregation approved the founder’s request; on November 5, 1912, the first SCJs left Holland for Cameroon.

The April 24 edition of Dehonian Spirituality commemorates the establishment of the Cameroon Mission and features a reflection by one of its young members, Br. Idriss D. Fotié, SCJ.

“I am an SCJ brother from the Province of Cameroon since 2015 and also a student in theology at Ecole Théologique Saint-Cyprien of Ngoya-Yaounde,” he wrote.  “My first contact with the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a funny story.  It happened during my holidays in 2006 in Nkongsamba, the town where the provincial house is located.  I was sweetly eating a biscuit called ‘Children Care’ offered by my aunt and then, from a curious desire, I asked her, ‘From where did you get this biscuit?’  She told me that it was manufactured by some missionary priests in town, the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  I really wondered because I couldn’t imagine priests manufacturing biscuits or being manual laborers.

“In my naïveté, being just 11 years old, I was really astounded and I kept the story in my heart.  Five years later, I started feeling the call of becoming a missionary.  At that moment, I said to myself, ‘The sweet experience I had at childhood might be the seed of love for the Dehonian life that God was putting in my heart.’

“Being a Dehonian is one of the greatest joys of my whole life and remembering this story of my naïve past helps me sometimes to nourish my love for the Dehonian life.  It was during my novitiate in 2015 that I fell in love with the Dehonian lifestyle; since then I have decided to deepen my knowledge of this great legacy of Fr. Dehon and to share its spiritual and social richness with other people.  Taking the words of St. Peter, I think I ought to testify in my daily experience, both in heart and mind, of the hope I have as a Dehonian in Christ [cf. I Peter 3:15].”

Click here to read the full reflection in last week’s Dehonian Spirituality.

Equine therapy

During Mission Education last year, participants took a walk down to the makeshift stable to learn about St. Joseph’s Indian School’s equine therapy program.

To the Lakota, a šúŋka wakȟán — horse — is a relative. A four-legged friend and companion who has for centuries provided transportation, companionship and pride. The horse is revered for its grace and bravery. Healing from internal or external wounds was the purpose behind launching the equine therapy program at St. Joseph’s. Now in the program’s second year, it continues to grow.

Click here or on the image above to view a video about the program. The video was prepared well before COVID-19 affected the school’s activities, but it is hoped that students can once again take part in equine therapy when social distancing guidelines allow them to do so.

Click here to subscribe to the weekly news (Fridge Notes) via email