Weekly News: December 16, 2013

The missionaries talk about their experience at SHST
The missionaries talk about their experience at SHST

The road to Asia begins at Sacred Heart School of Theology!

Well, at least for some members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Twenty-five years ago an international group of SCJs came to Hales Corners to prepare for the congregation’s first mission in the Philippines. Together they honed their English skills in SHST’s ESL program and outlined their plans for the mission.

Once again, SHST is a springboard to a new venture in Asia. Fr. Ricardo José da Rocha Teixeira from Portugal, Fr. Daniel Antônio de Carvalho Ribeiro of the Central Brazilian Province and Fr. Albert Suryadi of Indonesia spent the past semester in ESL before they will join with the rest of their mission group in Manila in January.

For Fr. Ricardo, coming to SHST was a return to familiar ground. He first studied in the ESL program in 2001 and then again in 2004.

English studies gave Frs. Daniel and Albert their first opportunity for a visit to the United States.

“Coming here was a real gift for me,” said Fr. Daniel. “I had no sense of what our congregation was like here; I knew nothing of this mission, this school.”

“For me, it is a first step in becoming a missionary,” said Fr. Albert. “I learned about living with people from other countries, and what it is like to be in another culture. These are skills that I need to be a missionary.”

All three noted that by saying “yes” to the missions they were following a desire for “something more.”

“I am at an age when life is going well, no problems. I loved my ministry, my community; I love being a priest,” said Fr. Ricardo. “But, I want more. Since my ordination I have wanted to go to the missions… expanding the SCJ presence in Asia is important because so much of the world’s population is there; China alone has one-fifth of humankind. It is important that the Dehonian charism be in a place that has such growing influence in the world.”

Click here to read the full story on the province website.

Christmas letter posted

“Christmas returns; returns with its light, returns announced by many little signs that are designed to enrich our provinces, regions, and entities. Returns to give direction, to astonish and to help us to be open to hope,” begins Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho in his Christmas letter to SCJs.

The letter, from Fr. General and his council, has been posted on the province website. Click here to read it.

Please remember

Fr. Frederik Dominicus Maria Mass, a member of the Dutch – Flemish Confederation , died December 11. He was born in 1928, professed in 1952 and ordained in 1957.

David Nelson, the husband of Dn. David Nagel’s mother, died on December 6.

David Smith, a 1970 graduate of Lenox, recently died of melanoma.

New bishop for Jackson

The bishop-elect
The bishop-elect

Fr. Joseph R. Kopacz was named by Pope Francis as the next Bishop of Jackson, Mississippi. Bishop-elect Kopacz is a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa. He will be ordained and installed on February 6 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle.

The SCJs’ Sacred Heart Southern Missions, with its schools, parishes and social service organizations, ministers in the northern section of the diocese. Fr. Jack Kurps, executive director of SHSM, will be among those representing the SCJs at the bishop’s consecration in February.

Settling in with the help of the US Province

After Fr. Tom Cassidy visited him earlier this fall, Bishop Zolile wrote to tell him –– and the US Province –– more about the Diocese of Kokstad. The former South African provincial superior was made bishop of the diocese last May (consecrated in August). He and Fr. Tom worked together on the General Council during Bishop Virginio Bressanelli’s administration as general superior.

“The people here are mostly rural, very active in many things and have deep faith,” wrote Bishop Zolile.  “I must say that it gives me joy and much hope that with good administration and training they will learn more how to become self-sufficient in all spheres, especially economically… Slowly but surely we will teach and train people how to be self-reliant.

“So far, after four months all still goes well. I haven’t yet met with disappointment. It is still the honeymoon of the beginning stages. If I manage to work well with my priests all will go well.  They are still young in age, only one is older than me, an 86-year-old Franciscan missionary.  [Bishop Zolile is 56.] With good cooperation we can reach the stars.  God is good.

“Once more, thanks for your assistance with my smooth transition to the Diocese of Kokstad.  With help from the US Province I just bought a car. Thank you!”

Provincial’s time

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter has meetings with the Provincial Council December 18-19.

Holiday hours

Christmas ornaments1Next week, December 23, will be the last Fridge Notes (Weekly News) for 2013. The first issue of the new year will be published on January 6. Click here to send in news items at any time.

The Provincial Offices will be closed December 24, 25 and 26 for Christmas, and December 31 and January 1 for New Year’s. Keep in mind that several members of the office staff (SCJs and lay employees) take extra vacation days around then so if you have business with the office, better to do it sooner rather than later.

Of course, if you are a priest who needs a celebrat, contact Br. Frank Presto ASAP — normally four weeks are needed to process a request.