Weekly News: Dec. 4, 2017

Advent begins

As noted last week, the Province Vocation Office published a series of daily Advent reflections written by members of the US Province. The reflection for today, Dec. 4, is written by Fr. Jim Walters:

“Advent is a time for reawakening, for opening ourselves to be challenged, which allows room for transformation.  As Megan McKenna (Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany; Orbis: 1998) describes it:

“The readings of Advent are intended to tear us out of our ruts, out of the usual pattern of our days, out of the narrow confines of our history.  They are meant to startle us, awaken us to almost infinite possibilities, and claim our souls for the work of recreation, restoration, and deep transformation.

“The key to living and fully experiencing Advent is hope, which allows us to look at the signs of change and conversion in the everyday moments of life.  The centurion, a symbol of oppression and an enemy of the Jewish people, comes to Jesus, a Jew, and humbly asks that he would heal his servant.  His words echo in our prayer of response to the invitation to live in communion with the Lord in the Eucharist, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’

“How do these words challenge me during this season of Advent to live more authentically our ‘Ecce venio?’  How can I look beyond the narrow confines of my history to see in one person or event in my life today the hope of transformation in myself and in others?”

Click here to download a PDF of Advent Reflections: We prepare for His coming.

ALSO AVAILABLE – The Dehonian Associates Office offers a series of one-minute reflections sent by email on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from December 5 through January 13. From the writings of Fr. Leo John Dehon, they will focus on the “Christian belief in the Incarnation. Click here to subscribe. The first issue will be sent tomorrow.


The International Dehonian Theological Commission

Dehonian Theology

The International Dehonian Theological Commission held its annual meeting last week at the Generalate in Rome. The commission includes representatives from the theological commissions of each continent and staff from the Dehon Study Center (Centro Studi Dehoniani). It is chaired by Fr. Artur Sanecki of the General Council.

Much of this year’s meeting focused on the Dehonian Theological Seminar in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: “Charism and Devotions – Towards an Integrated Dehonian Identity.” Among the papers presented at the seminar was one by Sr. Nicla Spezzati in which she discussed what she saw as the spiritual and intellectual orientation of the congregation. She based her conclusions on the summary of survey responses done at the continental level in preparation for the Indonesian seminar. Sr. Nicla has served with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

In her paper she said that there is a spiritual vitality present among Dehonians; they are spiritual men and spiritual teachers, mystics of charity, of “pure love” based in Fr. Dehon’s experience.

Fr. Joao Almeida was asked by the International Theological Commission to write an article about her conclusions; it will appear in a future issue of Dehoniana.

Also during the meeting Fr. Stefan Tertünte (director of the Dehon Study Center in Rome) and Fr. John van den Hengel (representative of the North American Theological Commission) gave a reflection on Fr. Dehon’s meditations about the Sacred Heart; and there was a session on the latest book by Marcello NeriGiustizia della Misericordia (Justice of Mercy) in which he speaks of Europe and Christianity in the context of Dehonian Spirituality. “It is a dense book with an interesting, contemporary approach to Fr. Dehon,” said Fr. John. Each member of the commission will take a topic from the book to explore for an article in Dehoniana.

The commission concluded its meeting with initial discussions on the next International Theological Seminar which is to be held in 2020. There is strong interest in examining how Fr. Dehon found the Sacred Heart to be an entryway into the call to the social sphere. This will be brought back for discussion on the continental level.

The next meeting of the International Theologial Commission will November 29 to December 2, 2018.

Save the date!

All members of the US Province in active ministry are reminded that the Provincial Conference – “Our Future: together in community and ministry” – is scheduled for January 30 through February 1. It will take place at the Provincial Conference Center in Hales Corners. Those from outside of the area are asked to make their own travel and room arrangements; please plan on being present for all three days in full.

Fr. Ed Kilianski will send individual invitations when he returns from Vietnam the week of December 18. He reminds SCJS that “All members of the province in active ministry are expected to be present and take part in this extraordinary Provincial Conference.”


Cendi Trujillo Tena speaks about DACA

“Dreamer” shares her story with SCJs

Cendi Trujillo Tena, a Milwaukee resident who is registered with DACA, shared her story with Dehonians during an informal gathering at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake on November 28. She spoke of the challenges that the undocumented face, and the need for immigration reform. “Everyone can make a difference!” she said.

The fate of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has been in the headlines since September when President Donald Trump announced plans to rescind it. Created in 2012, DACA is a federal program that allows people brought to the United States without documentation as children the temporary right to live, study and work in the US. After undergoing a rigorous vetting process, those who receive two-year DACA status can become eligible for things that many US citizens take for granted such as a work permit, college enrollment (but not government aid) and a driver’s license. Approximately 788,000 people have such status.

Posing as the child of a US citizen (a smuggler paid by her parents to accompany her), Cendi crossed the US-Mexican border when she was two years old. Of course, at the age of two Cendi had no idea that she was doing something considered illegal, and that once in the country, that she would have limitations which many of her classmates did not.

“Do something that I cannot: vote!” she said to Dehonians. “Become informed. Have conversations with others. Write and call your representatives. Don’t be silent, don’t assume that you can’t make a difference. Everyone can make a difference.”

Click here to read more.

Please remember

Mike Perry died last week.  He was a graduate of Bellefontaine in Lenox and was briefly in the province college program in Chicago. Mike was in his early 60s and died of complications from Multiple Myeloma.

Keep in prayer

Jim Potocnak, brother of Bishop Joseph Potocnak, is being treated for cancer.

Fr. Paul Casper was hospitalized over the weekend with a high fever.

Also, Fr. Paul Kelly and Br. Ben Humpfer continue to be treated for a number of health concerns.


Bishop Joseph Potocnak was honored by the Veterans Administration with a “Certificate of Appreciation” on October 26, 2017, for “volunteering and giving our organization the most precious thing you will ever own – your time and talent!” wrote the chief of chaplain services to Bishop Joe in presenting him with the certificate. Thank you for your service, Bishop!

Looking back

Thursday, December 5, is the 94th anniversary of the final approval by the Church of the Constitutions of the Priests of the Heart (Dehonians). In last Friday’s issue of Dehonian Spirituality, David Schimmel (director of Dehonian Associates) shared a letter from Fr. Dehon about the approval:

Fr. Leo John Dehon

“My dear sons, I could say to you, as the angel said to the shepherds of Bethlehem, ‘I am bringing you good news of great joy’ [Luke 2:10].  This joy is brought to us by the definitive approbation of the Congregation and of its Constitutions by our Holy Father, the Pope [Pius XI].  The pontifical decree was signed on December 5.  Our Constitutions were approved in a form nearly the same as that which we submitted.  We are going to have them printed, and we will send them to you.

“This year has been rich in blessings for the Congregation.  You recall the wonderful, encouraging, and fine letters we received from the Holy Father and from several Cardinals in March, on my 80th birthday.

“In August, our Fr. Buckx was consecrated Bishop of Finland by Cardinal Van Rossum.  In October, the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith entrusted to us the mission of Gariep in South Africa, and on December 3, under the auspices of St. Francis Xavier, the Holy Father signed the decree of erection for the Prefecture of Benkulen in Sumatra.

“Another sign of divine blessing is the prospering of our Apostolic Schools, which are all obliged to expand…

“However, the primary object, the essential aim for us is always the life of love and reparation towards the Sacred Heart.  The Church, through her approbation of our Constitutions, confirms us in this way.  I entreat all of you to redouble your zeal and fervor so as to live as good religious by observing scrupulously our pious customs and our Directory, which have been inspired by the Sacred Heart…”

Click here to read the full issue.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Ed Kilianski is on his way to Vietnam. Joining him are the two novices, Henry Nguyen and Paul Phong Hoang. The trip is a multifaceted visit: besides touring the district and discussing collaborative possibilities, Fr. Ed will give a two-day recollection on Advent. The retreat will take place in the area of Vung Tau.

Fr. Ed returns to the United States on December 17, just in time for Provincial Council meetings December 19-20.