Our Lady of Guadalupe
Today, December 12, is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At OLG, Houston, the feast stretches well beyond the single feast day. Preparations begin weeks before the two full days’ of Spanish and English masses (including an outdoor midnight mass at the OLG Shrine), performances and other celebrations. This year, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, is among those celebrating the feast at OLG, Houston.
“Thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to the church to pay tribute to the Patroness of the Americas,’ wrote Fr. Vien. “Our SCJs at Guadalupe have had a long weekend. I appreciate the Dehonian OLG community for inviting me to participate in this celebration. In honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we say, ‘Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!’”
Pictured above are parishioners gathering around the parish Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe prior to Midnight Mass early this morning.
mother of Jesus and our mother,
we place ourselves with you
at the foot of your Son’s cross,
asking you to help us enter
into the mystery of his life and death;
to dwell in his heart;
to remain at his feet
in an attitude of listening and contemplation.
Arouse in us, Mary,
your sentiments of participation
in the suffering of Christ and of the world.
You see how imperfect our words are
and how far removed our concepts are
from the truth that you live.
Help each one of us;
help everyone who is united with our prayer
and our adoration.
Grant us joy in your Son by the Holy Spirit’s grace,
which we implore from the power of the Father.
Prayer by Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, SJ
On Saturday, December 17, Dn. Henry Bùi Nguyen, SCJ, will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Thái Thành Nguyen, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange. The ordination at St. Columban Catholic Church in Garden Grove, CA, will take place just a few miles away from Fr. Henry’s home parish of St. Polycarp, where he will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on December 18.
The ordination ceremony will be livestreamed starting just before 10:00 a.m. (Pacific time; noon central). Click here to access the video feed.
Henry will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, WI, on Sunday, January 8 at 10:30 a.m. (central). He is currently serving as a deacon at the parish.
Please keep Dn. Henry and his family in your prayers this week as they prepare for the celebrations.
Thank you, and welcome!
On Wednesday, December 14, the provincial staff will have a retirement lunch for John Kuxhause, who has been the province’s Chief Financial Manager for over 22 years.
Assuming John’s duties will be a person already familiar to many in the Hales Corners area: Chris Lambert (pictured above). For four years Chris was the Vice President of Finance and Business Services at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Several months ago, he moved across the parking lot to a spare office in the Vocation Department and began a six-month mentorship with the Provincial Treasurer’s Office.
“I am grateful to Dn. David [Nagel] for giving me this extended time to transition into the work here,” said Chris. “I also give John Kuxhause a lot of credit, both for his assistance to me, and his knowledge of this work. It is a different type of accounting than I have done before. It is challenging, but I enjoy it. I am learning a lot of new things; John has given me some solid footing.”
John Kuxhause retires at the end of this year; as of January 1, Chris will be the Director of Financial Services. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll have photos from John’s retirement luncheon on the province Facebook page later this week.
As for John’s post-retirement plans, he said that his first priority will be to not get in his wife’s way!
Please keep in prayer
Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, local superior of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, let us know that Fr. Tom Lind, SCJ, was taken to the hospital this morning with a general sense of feeling “unwell.” Please keep him in prayer.
Former vicar general back in Rome
From December 5-11, Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ (vicar general during Bishop José Ornelas Carvalho’s second term as superior general), taught a class hosted by the Centro Studi Dehoniani in Rome. Entitled, “Amour pur: Exploration of a figure in the writings of Leon Dehon,” the seminar explored the founder’s reflections on the concept of “pure love,” a type of love that is fully gratuitous, a love given for itself.
“’Pure love’ is one of the concepts in Fr. Dehon’s writings which entered into French spirituality in the 17th century,” said Fr. John. “In the 19th century it became linked with Sacred Heart devotion, and more directly with Fr. Dehon, to the social issues that are a part of devotion to the Sacred Heart.”
Most of the students in the course were from the Centro Studi Dehoniani two-year scholarship program which immerses participants in the writings and person of Fr. Leo John Dehon. An international group, the CSD scholarship students are from Venezuela, Cameroon and Brazil. They were joined in the seminar by three members of the Generalate community.
“It was a beautiful discovery of the depth of ‘pure love,’ said one of the students. “I never realized its profound meaning.”
Starting today, Fr. John is representing the North American Theological Commission at the general commission’s meeting at the Generalate.
Pictured above: students with Fr. John in a “seminar selfie.”
Annual SHM White Elephant party
Saturday was the annual White Elephant Christmas party at Sacred Heart Monastery. The gifts are always a mix of “I could actually use this!” to “I have no idea what this is supposed to be, do you?”
Fr. Joseph Thien Dinh, SCJ, is pictured above. We think(?) he is happy with the gift he ended up with. Click here to view a few more photos from the evening posted to Facebook.
Seeking light in the midst of war
Sergei Babic is a medical student who works as a volunteer with SCJs in a Dehonian parish in Ukraine. Throughout the war, Sergei has kept in contact with the SCJs’ General Communications Office to give firsthand updates from Ukraine. Last week, Fr. Sergio Rotasperti, SCJ, asked Sergeri to reflect on the experience of Advent in war-torn Ukraine. Sergei responds (the text is slightly paraphrased):
“I am in the Donbass working in a field hospital with American doctors. We are the first point of contact for emergency first aid, including initial surgeries (amputations, stabilization of patients).
“It is terrible here. Abandoned houses, destroyed schools, closed hospitals, very few people. We have problems with electricity and heating. You can see so much sadness among the people. Many are living without hope.
“Advent begins by showing me that in these days of darkness and gloom, our hearts still seek light. Literally we live in darkness because every day I feel the lack of electricity and heating. I can only imagine the circumstances in which our soldiers find themselves. We understand now how much we need light, in every sense.
“You ask, ‘What is Christmas for me?’ The light is the Lord, the child who is born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means the house of bread. We need bread, the daily food, but also spiritual bread. Only this can give us hope, can give us the strength to survive to endure and overcome.
“Bread is the body of Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem. The bread is the prayers that support us from various parts of the world. The bread is the volunteers and doctors who come here to save us, to help us. I thank the Lord that I can also be here and help do something in this ugly war, so that it ends as soon as possible.”
This Advent we continue to pray for the people of Ukraine, as well as all people around the world affected by the darkness of conflict and war.
Good luck to Br. Diego Diaz’ Argentine team which plays Croatia tomorrow in the semi-finals of the World Cup. He is pictured below during Friday’s game against the Netherlands. Sorry Fr. Jan de Jong! I guess it is time to put away that Dutch hat. :)