Weekly News: August 14, 2017

Fr. Ed and the postulants bless Fr. Byron during his installation as novice master.

New novice master, new novices

This morning Fr. Ed Kilianski installed Fr. Byron Haaland as the province novice master. Later today Fr. Byron will receive his first novitiate class: Paul Phong Hoang and Henry Nguyen. Click here to view a few photos from this morning’s installation ceremony. The ceremony took place in the novitiate house chapel, which is also in the midst of formation. The chapel is being created in what was once a car port on the property.

The two postulants have been candidates in the formation program in Chicago for the past several years. Paul, 25, is originally from Vietnam but has lived with his family in Houston since 2007. He graduated from the University of Houston in 2015, and studied philosophy and religious studies at St. Xavier University during his three semesters of candidacy.

“There is joy, spiritual joy, in our community,” he said when speaking of his experience in formation. “My favorite part of the day is Mass in the morning. We are there together in a sense of belonging, leaving each other with a sense of support for our day. We connect at meals; we connect in labor, doing dishes together. In the SCJ community I feel like myself and can actualize who I am; I feel at home, I feel that I belong.”

Henry, 28, was born and raised in Orange County, CA. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Monterey Bay, and during candidacy began his theological studies at Catholic Theological Union and philosophy at St. Xavier University.

“In 2013 I came to the community and saw the joy and hospitality of the SCJs,” said Henry. “I have visited communities in Houston and Mississippi and I have seen passion, love and joy. In Mississippi I saw a willingness to get out of the sacristy and serve, to be a prophet of love. What gives me hope for the future is the drive that we have as a community to continue to go to the people.”

Be sure to check the province Facebook page this evening for photos from the Entrance to Novitiate ceremony.

Please remember

Br. Luc

Br. Luc Coursol, a member of the Canadian Region (Montréal community) died August 12. He was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and intestine last year and had deteriorated significantly in the past week after undergoing a new chemotherapy treatment. On Friday he was hospitalized under palliative care. He is survived by his SCJ community, his sister Ginette, brother Richard and nieces.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Steve Wiese suffered a major stroke last week Thursday. Initially, his prognosis was quite grave. However, he is now alert, able to interact with others and do physical therapy. He is at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and is able to receive visitors. He is expected to be discharged to the Congregational Home later this week. Please keep him in prayer

Welcome back!

Frater Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas returns to Chicago on Tuesday, August 15, following his pastoral year in Brazil. Look for a closing reflection from him on the province website later this week (it will be linked to the province Facebook page).

Frater Juancho will continue his studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.


Bishop Virginio

Bishop Bressanelli offers resignation

Pope Francis accepted Bishop Virginio Bressanelli’s resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Neuquén, Argentina. The former superior general of the Priests of the Sacred Heart turned 75 on May 1. An alumnus of the ESL program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, he served as superior general from 1991-2003. Bishop Fernando Martín Croxatto, titular bishop of Fissiana and auxiliary of Comodoro Rivadavia, has been appointed as the new bishop of the diocese.

Reconciliation on steroids

Fr. Mark at Life Teen

Fr. Mark Mastin, who serves as a civilian chaplain at Fort Gordon in Georgia, wrote a reflection last week about his recent experience with a Life Teen weekend.

“’Reconciliation on steroids’ is how I would describe the 10 hours I spent listening to confessions for teenagers, young college students and adults at the Steubenville Life Teen Weekend Conference,” wrote Fr. Mark on the province blog. “The gathering had close to 3,000 participants.

“Throughout all those hours I did not feel tired but instead felt energized as I fulfilled what our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, asked of us: to be Prophets of Love and Servants of Reconciliation (Rule of Life No. 7).  When he said this, Fr. Dehon must have had modern-day youth conferences in mind. Well, maybe not quite a vision of a 21st century music-filled, loud and exuberant praise-and-worship youth conference where one is lucky to get maybe five hours of sleep a day.  However, our founder knew that we are all in need of forgiveness, spiritual repair, and most of all, a sense of love and belonging.”

Click here to read the rest of Fr. Mark’s text on the province blog.

Back in India

First Friday

Last week Fr. Tom Cassidy returned to his second home: the District of India. There, he spends several months of each year assisting with the formation communities. While in India he maintains a daily journal. Periodically we will share excerpts from it on our province blog. The following is a snippet from one of Fr. Tom’s first entries:

“Last night we all went to Sacred Heart parish Vempadu for the first Friday evening service that our students conducted. The service is done in a manner similar to a revival in the Pentecostal style.

“There is, of course, a Catholic twist to it all. The service began at 7:30 pm with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by a praise and worship service. I call it the warm up act. Last evening it was led by Br. Jesu Prasad Siddela. This portion of the service ran about 45 minutes and is designed to prepare the congregation for the sermon. Last evening it was delivered by Br. Chitti Babu Nandipamu who spoke for 45 minutes. While this was going on Fr. Michael Augustine heard confessions underneath the bell tower.

“The service ended with benediction but very different from what Americans experience. In this service the priest goes around to each person and blesses him or her with the monstrance. When the Blessed Sacrament is returned to the tabernacle and the priest leaves the altar there is no closing hymn. The people simply get up and leave the church.”

Click here to read more on the province blog.

Parish resources about migration

At the request of the Provincial Council the province Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission created a series of parish resources about migration. Titled “Migration and Refugee Crises:  What’s a Catholic to Think?” it includes six, one-page bulletin inserts and accompanying bulletin articles. There are also suggestions for adapting the information for junior or senior high school students.

Click here to access links to the resources on the JPR website.

Also available at the site are links to English and Spanish-language resources for those who have loved ones who are undocumented.

Members of the JPR Commission are available to parishes, ministries and local communities to assist in educating groups on immigration and/or other social justice issues, and for assistance in creating possibilities for action. Click here to download a brochure developed by the commission.

Open Hearts / Cœurs Ouverts

Approximately 30 SCJs from the US Province and Canadian Region are at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario (suburban Toronto), this week taking part in the first of the North American Dehonian retreats. Organizers and retreat directors are Fr. Jim Schroeder, Fr. John van den Hengel and David Schimmel. The days will be a mix of reflection and prayer based in the SCJ Rule of Life.

The second retreat will be May 6-12, 2018, at the Siena Center in Racine, Wis. A third retreat for those in formation and their directors will be August 5-12, also at the Siena Center.

Letter on youth ministry

On August 1, Fr. Heiner Wilmer, superior general, wrote a letter to the congregation urging a renewed focus on youth and vocation development.

“Youth ministry and the pastoral care of vocations are permanent missions of the Church, so we must not forget the close relationship between this mission and the world of young people and future vocations,” writes Fr. Heiner. “With great clarity and foresight, Fr. Leo Dehon urged the Congregation from the outset to go to the missions; however, he also said to continue to look for local vocations to keep the mission sustainable. Today as well we must choose to be open to the world of young people and help them in their vocational path…

“We would like to invite our congregation to a bold action of ‘vocational pastoral ministry’. In this action, our focus is on young people and adults.

“Basically, it is a proposal that we, the sons of Father Dehon, give space and time to the young. A community which does not find space and time to listen to young people has no future. In many places in the world we work for children, teenagers, young people and young adults. Often we work hard. But do we listen to them? Do we really let young people into our lives? Do we open our Hearts to their questions?

“With this I would like to say: do we listen to them in such a way that their questions and their needs, their ideas and reflections can change our own lives?”

Click here to read the full letter.

Familiar sculptor

Richard Fagon, a former SCJ who created the bust of Fr. Dehon which is seen in many community houses, recently learned that several of his sculptures will be cast and displayed. One of them is of retired Notre Dame fencing coach Janusz Bednarski who was named the NCAA’s 2010-11 fencing coach of the year. The bust will be unveiled in the Notre Dame Fencing Complex in October. During his tenure as coach, ND won three national championships.

Richard is pictured at right with the Bednarski bust.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Ed Kilianski is primarily in the office through the rest of the month. This morning he installed Fr. Byron Haaland as novice master and this afternoon he will receive the postulants into novitiate. On Friday he will receive Frater Joseph Vu into the ministry of acolyte.

He has Provincial Council meetings August 29-30 and the Opening Mass at SHSST on the evening of August 30. Fr. Ed returns to his travels after Labor Day, going to Houston September 5-12 (which will include taking part in Fr. Tim Gray’s local celebration of his 50th anniversary of vows) and then South Dakota September 15-18. He returns to Milwaukee September 18.


Congratulations to Frater Joseph Vu who renewed his vows last week! They were received by Fr. David Szatkowski, formation director. Joseph is currently preparing for final vows. As noted above, on Friday Frater Joseph will be received into the ministry of acolyte.