Weekly News: April 8

“May it be done to me according to your word”

Reflecting on the Annunciation of the Lord (commemorated in the Church today, April 8), Fr. Leo John Dehon linked the day to his call at baptism:

“I was baptized on March 24th in the poor church of La Capelle by the honorable and venerable Father Hecart, who already was pastor there for twelve years, and who prepared me for First Communion.

“[It] was the feast day of the young child martyr St. Simeon.  But above all, certainly, it was the first Vespers of the Feast of the Annunciation. I was happy later to unite the memorial of my baptism with that of the Ecce Venio of our Lord. The Ecce Venio of the Heart of Jesus protected and blessed my entry into the Christian life… Our Lord, no doubt, did not want me to go without seeing in that his Providence in light of my present vocation as a Priest-Victim of the Heart of Jesus.”

Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, in a 2022 homily given on the Annunciation, talked about the call of Dehonians to continue the founder’s spirit of Ecce Venio. “When, with Mary, we say ‘let it be done to me according to your word,’ we are no longer the active agents.  We let go and give control to our God.  We express our total openness to receive, to accept whatever our loving God asks of us…

“As we celebrate this feast of the Annunciation we ask through the intercession of Jesus and Mary that we might be convinced, like Fr. Dehon, of God’s tremendous love for us, that love which became incarnate in Jesus and is symbolized by His pierced Heart. It is belief in that great love of God for us that empowers us to move through our fear, to rise above it, convinced that God would never hurt us, and enables us to abandon ourselves to God to do and to accept whatever God asks of us as individuals and as members of this congregation.”

Image credit: Photos.com on Freeimages.com

Collaborative conversations

As they do twice a year, members of the Canadian and US administrations gathered on April 4 for a joint meeting to discuss common issues and possibilities for collaboration. This time, it was the Americans’ turn to host, though due to a few travel challenges, half of the Canadian contingency traveled to the Provincialate via Zoom instead of an airplane.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting 1) the 2025 commemoration of the death of Fr. Leo John Dehon (and possibilities for a shared commemoration), 2) collaboration with other SCJ entities, 3) the increasing challenges of getting and renewing visas for international SCJs in both the US and Canada, 4) the October 7-10 North American Conference in Olive Branch, MS (among the presenters at the conference: Sr. Kathleen Storms, SSND, and Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe), 5) collaboration on vocations and formation, 6) the North American Dehonian Theological Commission (Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ, and Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, were added to the commission; Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, continues as president), and 7) the upcoming General Chapter in Rome (Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, and Fr. Willyans will represent Canada and Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, and Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ, will represent the US).

Councilors reviewed the North American report that Frs. Vien and Gustave Lulendo will give at the chapter, and talked about the chapter proposal prepared by the North Americans that asks for the development of a Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission at the general level.

The next in-person meeting of the two administrations will be October 23 in Toronto, beginning with a shared meal with Toronto SCJs on October 22.

Please remember

+ Fr. Thaddeus Laton, a member of the Indonesian Province, died on April 6. He was born in 1934, professed in 1953 and ordained in 1962.

+ Fr. Fransiskus de Sales (pictured above), also a member of the Indonesian Province, died on April 7. He was born in 1962, professed in 1987 and ordained in1998. Many SCJs in the US Province may remember Fr. Frans from his years in Milwaukee, where he earned a master’s in communication science from Marquette University. In his home province Fr. Frans quickly put his degree to use as a journalist, editor and audio-visual specialist. He was also chairperson of the Palembang Archdiocese’s Social Communications Commission.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Tim Gray, SCJ, recently moved to St. Camillus in Milwaukee for tests and rehabilitation in regard to significant back pain and weakness.

Fr. Tom Lind, SCJ, is home following a brief hospital visit last Friday after he fell in his room.

Providing for the development of our works

“The mission of the Church is a supernatural and eternal one,” writes Kory Christianson, in the April issue of As a Rule. “Yet it is carried out in a world filled with material realities. It must have the resources necessary to carry out its kingdom work. This is where development enters the picture.”

The focus of As a Rule this month is “Providing for the development of our works” from Rule of Life No. 143.

“Development is also about connection,” continues Kory. “Building relationships with donors.  Praying for them regularly.  Thanking them promptly for their gifts.  Answering their questions thoroughly.  Making it easy for them to express their generosity.  It also involves communicating today’s needs and preparing for future challenges.

“One challenge we face is losing sight of what ultimately matters.  That is, becoming preoccupied with money raised rather than what money provides.  Fundraising is necessary, but the material resources it generates simply provides a means to accomplish a spiritual end.  It allows us to help those who are less fortunate, providing love, hope, opportunity, respect, and dignity.  It provides the funds to accomplish this without which vulnerable groups could be further marginalized.”

Kory is executive director of development for St. Joseph’s Indian School.


“Celebrating my 25th anniversary as a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart lay community fills me with tremendous gratitude for being part of a mission that serves both God and humanity,” writes Pam Milczarski, Mission Advancement Manager at the Province Development Office.

“When I first embarked on this journey with the Priests of the Sacred Heart, I couldn’t fully comprehend the profound impact of their ministry and mission. However, over the years I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative effect they have on countless lives, including my own spiritual journey.

“Throughout this incredible journey, interacting with the SCJs, the individuals they serve, and their generous benefactors has deepened my understanding of our shared purpose. Traveling to meet these benefactors and witness the impactful work of the SCJs in communities worldwide has been an insightful privilege and is truly humbling and has left an indelible mark on me.”

Click here to read the full April issue of As a Rule.

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Formation assignments

During their visit with the Provincial Council last week, Frs. Joseph Thien Dinh, SCJ, and Frank Wittouck, SCJ, shared updates of student assignments for the year ahead.

Summer assignments: Frater Michael Wodarczyk, SCJ, will do CPE at St. Camillus in Milwaukee, Fraters Jacob Smith, SCJ and Truc Tran. SCJ, will be in Mississippi, and Frater Thuan Nguyen, SCJ, and Candidate Michael Iwuchukwu will be in South Dakota.

Next fall, three of the seminarians will begin their pastoral year assignments: Frater Michael will be in Texas, Frater Thuan will be in Mississippi, and Frater Truc will be in South Dakota.

Frater Hung Pham, SCJ, will soon complete his pastoral year at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston and return to studies at SHSST. Frater Jonathan Nguyen Vuong, SCJ, will remain in Mississippi to continue ministry with SHSM while doing his undergraduate studies.

Frater Michael is pictured below at St. Martin of Tours on Holy Saturday. Photo credit: Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ

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