Weekly News: August 9, 2021

Vow renewals in Houston

Congratulations to SCJ Fraters Phong (Paul) Hoang and Hung Pham who renewed their religious vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart on August 7 at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Houston. Fra. Phong professed his first vows in 2018 and will soon begin his pastoral year in South Dakota (he is completing CPE this week in Houston), and Fra. Hung first professed in 2020. He will continue his studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in fall. Fraters Hung and Phong are pictured above with SCJs at OLG, along with members of Fra. Hung’s family.

On Thursday, SCJ Fraters Henry Nguyen, Hubert Liassidji, Truc Tran and Thuan Nguyen will renew their vows at Sacred Heart Monastery. Fraters Truc and Thuan are members of the Vietnamese District; Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, will receive the vows of all four students.

Many thanks to Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, for supplying the photos from Houston. Click here to view more on the US Province Facebook page.

Entrance to Novitiate

At 4:30 pm (central), Saturday, August 14, Michael Wodarczyk, Jonathan Nguyen and Jacob Smith will begin their Novitiate year. Mindful of the pandemic, attendance at the ceremony will be limited primarily to SCJs and students. However, it will be livestreamed on our DehoniansUSA YouTube channel. Click here or on the image above to access the link.

Also, a reminder to SCJs – if you plan to attend the ceremony and have not yet RSVP’d, please click here to do so today. Many thanks from Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ, novice master.

Multilingual student population grows in Mississippi

Last week Holy Family School in Holly Springs and Sacred Heart in Southaven, both operated by the SCJs’ Sacred Heart Southern Missions in northern Mississippi, opened their doors to a new school year.

Sacred Heart continues to welcome a wide diversity in its student population. This year, 64 students speak a language other than English at home. Among them: Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Portuguese, as well as a family from Eritrea whose members speak several languages from their homeland. With 25% of the students speaking more than one language, Sacred Heart School has one of the highest percentages of multilingual students in DeSoto County. Because this represents a substantial increase, Sacred Heart will now have a full time Title III teacher to assist those who do not speak English as a first language.

The entire teaching staff at Sacred Heart will participate in year-long professional development/continuing education program hosted by the University of Notre Dame. The program, “English as a New Language,” will help the educators implement new learning strategies in the classroom for the ESL (English second language) students.

In both schools, after nearly a year-and-a-half of on-again, off-again virtual learning, students and teachers have looked forward to being together in the classroom. However, with the resurgence of the coronavirus variants, safety protocols continue to be a priority. Many of last year’s precautionary measures remain in place. Students in PreK-3 through kindergarten will have plexiglass barriers between workstations. Water fountains have been exchanged for water-bottle filling stations. The hope is that the full school year can be in-person; virtual learning will only be an option if an entire class is quarantined.

Many thanks to Laura Grisham, SHSM Communications Director and Grants Manager, for sharing the information along with the photos.

Happy birthday Br. Peter!

Our eldest member of the US Province, Br. Peter Mankins, SCJ, turned 92 yesterday! He is pictured above in a tee shirt that sums things up well: “Premium quality, aged 92 years, wisdom, experience, courage and ability; the man, the myth, the legend.”

A Chicago native, Br. Peter’s first assignment was at Divine Heart Seminary and it became a stepping stone to a lifetime devoted to formation ministry. He served at Bellefontaine in Lenox, Mass., Dehon Seminary in Great Barrington, Mass., and Dehon Seminary in Lanesboro, Mass.

Br. Peter was also on the formation team with the SCJs’ undergraduate program in San Antonio. When the formation programs were brought together in Chicago, he moved back to his hometown in 2002 to serve with the candidacy program and as assistant novice master. Br. Peter was also responsible for the formation community’s bookkeeping. He is now retired, and is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.

Pandemic guidelines at SHSST

Beginning tomorrow, August 10, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology will return to Phase 4 of its COVID Response Levels Operations Plan. Please be mindful of the following safety measures:

  • Mask wearing in all public spaces (i.e. hallways, lobby, classrooms, main chapel, library and dining room when not eating)
  • Social distancing whenever possible
  • In-person meetings require masks unless all participants are vaccinated and are comfortable removing masks
  • Self-monitoring of symptoms (if unwell please stay home and consider having a COVID test)
  • Sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces
  • The building will remain closed to the public unless prior arrangements are made with the Office of the President-Rector

Please keep faculty, staff, and seminarians in your prayers as SHSST begins its new academic year.

Renovation update

Just in time for the new school year, the SHSST remodeling project is close to being completed. As fast as the carpet goes down, the new furniture is put in place. The hope is to receive the occupancy permit later this week so that seminarians can start moving in the week of August 16.  At one point, the work was slightly ahead of schedule but shipping and production issues related to the pandemic put the schedule a bit behind.

Workers were on the campus through the weekend keeping the project moving. “It has great to be working with such a dedicated crew from Jens Construction managing the project,” said Dn. David Nagel, SCJ. “They have worked hard to keep the project on track.

First session in the books

Last week, the ECS program (English and Cultural Studies; formally ESL) at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology celebrated the end of the first summer session with a multilingual mass, followed by the awarding of program certificates. Kelly Kornacki is VP of Intercultural Preparation for Ministry at SHSST and Fr. Yvon Sheehy, SCJ,  is Residential ECS Program Coordinator. Also taking part in the mass was Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, local superior of Sacred Heart Monastery. They are pictured above with students and staff.

Thanks to Jean Carlo “JC” Mercado of SHSST for the photo!

OLG recognized for teamwork

Congratulations to Principal Irazema Ortiz and Fr. Wojciech Adamczyk of Our Lady of Guadalupe School Houston who received the Saints Peter and Paul Award for teamwork between a principal and pastor in education. They are pictured here with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, as well as school staff, at the school year’s opening Mass.

Fr. Ed joins other superiors in online assembly

Via Zoom, major superiors from across the country –– including Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ –– held their annual CMSM meeting August 3-4. The theme was taken from Pope Francis’ call to religious to “Wake up the World!”

Fr. Ed said that he was particularly struck by the words of Br. Philip Pinto, a Christian Brother living and working in India, who gave the keynote address. He called on the CMSM National Assembly to “to find a different model or different understanding of Church. We will not be able to wake up the world unless we do so.  To put on the ‘mind of Jesus’, to be prophetic in the world today, we must have a metanoia experience, repentance, a complete change of heart.  The silence today from religious leaders is deafening. Religious must speak up and challenge the Church, including the bishops.”

Fr. Ed said that the speaker asked an interesting question: “When Jesus is knocking on the door of the Church, is he knocking to get in or to get out?”

“He called on the superiors to go to the peripheries of the world and to live our prophetic witness through the eyes of the poor,” said Fr. Ed. “That may mean that we, as Dehonians, have to look at our own corporate ministries.”

Prayer request

Fr. Ed Zemlik, SCJ, asks for prayers for his upcoming cataract surgeries. The first will be August 23, the second on September 27.

Remembering the founder

On Thursday, August 12, we commemorate the 96th anniversary of the death of Fr. Leo John Dehon. It is reported that in his last moments he stretched out his hand toward a portrait of the Sacred Heart and exclaimed in a clear voice, “For him I lived, for him I die. He is my everything, my life, my death and my eternity.”

To his spiritual family, the Priests of the Sacred Heart, he left a written spiritual testament: “I leave you the greatest of all treasures, the Heart of Jesus.”

Remembering the founder, we pray:

Lord Jesus, you opened your heart to Leo John Dehon,
Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart,
and he responded in love.
He offered his life to you:
working to restore a broken world,
proclaiming your abundant love,
and founding a Congregation
to live a life of love and reparation in the world.

Lord, inspired by Fr. Dehon’s example,
we offer you our service,
our work, and ourselves.
May we be faithful in our calling
to work for the building up of your reign
in human hearts and in society.  Amen.

Note: an e-blast will be sent on Thursday morning to those who have received other Dehonian Spirituality mailings. In it is an expanded version of the above text.

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