Weekly News: August 14, 2023

Jubilarians represent a diversity in ministry

On August 12 Dehonians celebrated the Jubilees of four members of the US Province: Fr. Jim Schroeder (60 years of vows), Fr. Guy Blair (50 years), Fr. Francis Vu Tran (25 years) and Fr. Mark Mastin (20 years). Also remembered during the jubilee was Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, who celebrates his 10th anniversary. He professed vows in the US Province but is currently ministering in Ecuador.

Who are this year’s jubilarians?

JIM SCHROEDER, SCJ – Fr. Jim, 79, is from southern Illinois and spent many years of ministry not too far from where he grew up. A licensed psychologist, he worked in St. Louis, focusing on the treatment of priests, religious and other Church ministers through individual and group therapy. Fr. Jim has served on the Religious Life Commission, the North American Spirituality Commission, the Province Finance Commission and three times as a delegate from the U.S. Province to the General Chapter in Rome. He was also a part of the organizing committee of the North American Dehonian Retreats that took place in Canada and the United States in 2017-18. Fr. Jim is pictured at the top of the page, receiving congratulations on his 60th anniversary.

GUY BLAIR, SCJ – Originally from Connecticut, Fr. Guy is 72 was ordained to the priesthood in 1982. Many of his years of ministry have been with the deaf. Fr. Guy is also passionate about ministry to the homeless. In Green Bay, he was instrumental in creating a shelter tied to St. John the Evangelist parish. During his years of ministry in San Antonio, he not only ministered to the homeless, but used his skills as a painter to capture them in art. Fr. Guy is now a member of the Dehonians’ community in northern Mississippi.

FRANCIS VU TRAN, SCJ – Born in Vietnam, Fr. Francis, 47, was raised in California. He joined the SCJs’ formation program as an undergraduate. His first assignment after priesthood ordination in 2005 was at St. Martin of Tours parish. It was a ministry that Fr. Francis loved, but one that he set aside to go to Rome for advanced studies in Scripture. Last year, Fr. Francis received his doctorate from the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome. He completed his doctoral studies, and defended his dissertation, while also serving as district superior of Vietnam. Fr. Francis completed his second three-year term as district superior last year, and now teaches at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

MARK MASTIN, SCJ – Fr. Mark entered the SCJs’ Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, IN, as a high school freshman. He had planned to continue with the SCJs and discern a vocation to the priesthood and religious life as a Dehonian, but that was postponed until he was 50 years old. Fr. Mark’s father died when he was 21, which quickly changed his education plans to business. Following his graduation from DePaul University in Chicago, Fr. Mark got a job in manufacturing and helped with the financial needs of his mother and younger brothers and sisters. However, he continued to feel called to the priesthood and religious life and after a career in business, applied to be a candidate. In 2007, he was ordained to the priesthood. Fr. Mark served in parish ministry, and as a chaplain in the US Army, which included a tour in Afghanistan. He is now a part of the formation team at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology while doing doctoral studies through the Catholic University of America.

JUAN CARLOS “JUANCHO” CASTAÑEDA ROJAS, SCJ – As noted, Fr. Juancho professed his vows in the United States but is currently serving with the international Dehonian community in Ecuador. Originally from Colombia, Fr. Juancho began studies in the English as a Second Language program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (It is now known as “English and Culture Studies”) in 2006. He became a candidate with the Priests of the Sacred Heart and earned his M.Div. from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Fr. Juancho was ordained in 2019 in his home country of Colombia, celebrating his First Mass at his home parish, surrounded by his family. Before ministry in Ecuador, Fr. Juancho served at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston.

Click here to read more on the province website.

Click here to read Dn. David Nagel’s homily from the Jubilee Mass

Click here to view photos from the Mass

Click here to view the livestream of the Jubilee Mass

OLG school honored

On August 11, Our Lady of Guadalupe School was given the “Catholic Impact Award” at the Opening Schools Mass for the 2023-2024 school year in Houston. This award is given annually to a school in the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston for outreach and service to others. Dr. Angie Johnson, Assistant Superintendent of Mission & Catholic Identity for Houston, said “There is no doubt that this school is a beacon of faith, light, hope, and love in the community that it serves and spreads the good news of our Lord in a profound way, making a strong Catholic impact”.


Prayer request

Kathy Harty, a long-time member of the SHSST library staff, was admitted to the hospital late last week with a low pulse. A pacemaker was put in on Friday. She is now home and recovering well; if all goes as planned, she’ll be back in the library in the next few days. Please keep her in prayer.

Benedictine Dehonians

“It was an unexpected joy to find out that my historical research has dovetailed with the history of the Dehonians in the United States. Little did I know that the history of the Benedictines would help to set the foundation that I and many others here have inherited through various Dehonian apostolates in the United States.”

The quote is from Dr. Paul Monson, Vice President of Intellectual Formation and Academic Dean at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

Besides his administrative duties at SHSST, Dr. Monson is also an Associate Professor of Church History. His doctoral dissertation was on the adaption of the Rule of St. Benedict in the United States.

In an hour-long presentation on August 9 to over 100 SCJs and collaborators via Zoom, Dr. Monson spoke about the legacy of the Benedictines in South Dakota. The title of his presentation: “Benedictine Dehonians: A Window into SCJ History in South Dakota.”

The Benedictine legacy is one which Dehonians built upon as they assumed ministry to many of the parishes initiated by a Benedictine bishop.

“Two years after Bishop Marty arrived in the Dakotas in 1876, Fr. Dehon established the Priests of the Sacred Heart,” said Dr. Monson.

Eventually, the dreams of both men, dreams of ministry and service, became interconnected in South Dakota.

Click here to read more on the province website. Click here or on the image above to view a recording of the Zoom presentation.

Looking ahead

This week the Provincial Council meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, office staff will have “Farewell and Safe Travels” lunch for Fr. Ed Zemlik, SCJ, who will soon be heading to South Dakota to fill in on the Lower Brule Pastoral Team while Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, goes on sabbatical. Fr. Ed currently works in the Province Archives.

Other dates to note:

September 26-27: Provincial Council meeting, Hales Corners, WI

October 8-9: Mission Education, St. Joseph’s Indian School

October 24: North American Councils meeting, Toronto

November 7-8: Provincial Council meeting, Hales Corners, WI

November 30: Advent Hour of Recollection for employees and collaborators, 10:00 a.m. (central) via Zoom.

December 5:   Advent Hour of Recollection for SCJs, 10:00 a.m. (central) via Zoom (both will be led by Sr. Barbara Reid, OP, president of Catholic Theological Union.

January 9-10:  Provincial Council meeting, Hales Corners, WI


David Wild joins the Provincialate today as our new Facilities Manager; facilities management was previously handled by Sodexo through Mark Wenzel.  Originally from Dyersville, IA, Dave studied at the University of Iowa. He and his family – which includes twin girls who are seniors at Carthage College – now live in Lindenhurst, IL. We will share his contact information soon.

Mark Wenzel has been an important part of our organization’s success over the past 10 years and we wish him well in his future opportunities,” said Dn. David Nagel, SCJ, province treasurer.

Welcome Dave!

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