Weekly News: December 16, 2019

Remembering Fr. Paul

Fr. Ed Griesemer, the last member of the profession class of 1949, greets Fr. Paul’s family

“A kind and gentle soul,” is how Fr. Paul Casper’s niece, Vicki Bazille, described her uncle at Saturday’s funeral for him (she is pictured at the top of the page). Hers was one of many remembrances shared.

“He saw the good in people that others missed,” said another. “He knew how to ‘waste’ time with people, to simply be present,” remembered an SCJ.

“He was truly a pastor; he changed people’s lives by being a pastor to them,” said a friend. “He put himself wholeheartedly into everything he did,” added another.

“Joy, Fr. Paul embodied joy,” concluded an SCJ, echoing the thoughts expressed by many.

The vigil and funeral for Fr. Paul, who died on December 14, was at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, followed by interment in the community mausoleum. The chapel was literally filled with SCJs and friends, as well as many family members who traveled from Minnesota.

Click here to view a few photos from the funeral.

Click here to access a PDF of Fr. Ed Kilianski’s homily for Fr. Paul.

Click here to read the feature about Fr. Paul on the province website.

Keep in prayer

Today (December 16), Br. Dieudonné Tchouteu, SCJ, learned that he has prostate cancer. He will continue with plans to visit his home country of Cameroon at the end of December through January. Most likely he will have surgery in February when he returns to Montréal.

The dedication of Sacred Heart Church in Walls, MS – November 26, 1944. Pictured L-R: Joseph Barnett, Rev. John P. Flanagan, SCJ, Rev. M. F. Kearney, Rev. John Welsh, Most Rev. R. O. Gerow, Rev. William Nolken, SCJ, Rev. Joseph Garner, SCJ, Msgr. Kempheus, Rev. Stephen A. Hogya, SCJ, Lee Abernathy and Matthew Turk. [Photos and information courtesy of Sacred Heart Southern Missions]

75th anniversary of Sacred Heart Church

On November 26, approximately 30 people came together in Walls, MS, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Sacred Heart Church. One of the first Catholic churches in northern Mississippi, it was an initial steppingstone to what is now Sacred Heart Southern Missions, an SCJ apostolate that includes six parishes, two schools and a wide variety of social service programs across northern Mississippi.

The church, located across the street from the SHSM offices, has been remodeled and repurposed as a small, open-concept prayer space. The original parish community merged with St. Anthony’s in Tunica to form Good Shepherd congregation in Robinsonville.

Representatives from several of Sacred Heart’s founding families attended the 75th anniversary Mass celebrated by Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, SHSM executive director.

Fr. Levi (far left) with fellow Dehonians visiting Colombia

Preparing for Colombia

During the last week of November, Fr. Levi dos Anjos, SCJ, general councilor, traveled to Colombia, with Fr. José Luis Domingues, SCJ, of Ecuador, to meet with the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Bogatà.

“We were very worried because demonstrations were scheduled against the government that week, especially in the city of Bogota,” wrote Fr. Levi. “The central square of the city would have been the stage for such events; and right there is the archbishop’s see, where we were to meet the auxiliary bishop.

“To avoid unpleasant surprises, Bishop Luis Manuel Ali Herrera gave us an appointment elsewhere and also at another time, and for this the meeting was conducted without problems.

“In fact, what we feared happened: the demonstrations intensified and there were many clashes between protesters and police. Unfortunately, a young student was killed. During the week there was a climate of insecurity in the city that generated a tense environment and caused the closure of some bus stations and chaos in city traffic.

“Despite the uncertainties relating to public transport, we are continued with our plans. In addition to visiting Ciudad Bolívar, a territory designed for the new mission, we also visited the Usme region at the request of the bishop. It is a poor neighborhood like Ciudad Bolívar, but larger and more needy, since there is little religious presence there and also little social assistance. For these reasons we have come to decide that the new community will settle in Usme.

“Four (perhaps five) Dehonian confreres will form the new religious community in the Usme district. They will form a territorial community belonging to the District of Ecuador and will be supported by the Spanish Province. In March this new community will gather in the city of Quito (Ecuador) to prepare adequately before beginning pastoral work.

“The new community is expected to settle in the outskirts of Bogotà (Usme) in June 2020.”

Click here to read more on the general website.

A prayer that we become more concerned and aware of the suffering

Fr. Mac

“Our local newspaper ran a story a day or so ago about the suffering migrants forced to remain in ‘tent cities’ in Mexico waiting to seek asylum here in the United States,” wrote Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ. “The bishops of Brownsville and Matamoros (across the river in Mexico) have been working with the by the Knights of Colombus from both countries to feed and clothe the migrants. They recently brought another truck load of basic necessities (food and personal items) as well as piῆatas filled with goodie bags for the many children. It was reported that since August, the Knights have spent nearly $272,000 in these services. The migrants are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and are mostly women and children.

As we celebrate Jesus birth and remember the children of the Holy Innocents, and the Holy Families migration to Egypt, I pray that we will become even more deeply concerned and aware of the worldwide suffering of migrant families. Amen.

Calendar items

Provincial Council – Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, and the US Provincial Council have their last meeting of 2019 on Tuesday and Wednesday (Dec. 17-18).

Preaching conference – Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology will host its third annual Preaching Conference beginning the evening of January 6 and running all day on Tuesday, January 7. Note that this overlaps with the January 7-9 Provincial Conference. However, conference participants are welcome to attend Monday’s presentation, and those who are not attending the Provincial Conference are invited to consider registering for the Preaching Conference. The theme of the Preaching Conference is “Hearing the Hebrew Scriptures with a Heart for Homiletics.” Click here for more information and to register. If you have questions, or would like to just attend the Monday evening presentation, please contact Dn. Steve Kramer by email (skramer@shsst.edu) or phone (414-858-4767).

Provincial Conference – “Our Future: Together in Community and Ministry, Part III” will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Provincial Conference Center on Tuesday, January 7 and run through midday on Thursday, January 9. All SCJs under 70 and in active ministry are expected to attend. The focus of the 2020 gathering will be “ministry.” More information will be sent to participants following this week’s council meeting.

Holiday schedule – The Provincial Offices will be closed December 24-26, December 31 and January 1 for Christmas and New Year’s. Keep in mind that several staff will also be taking extra vacation time during the holidays. If you need to contact a member of the provincial staff it is probably best to do so this week.

Fr. General’s Christmas letter

Last week the general administration published Fr. General’s Christmas letter to the congregation. In it, he reflects on three moments in the congregation: 1) the 75th anniversary of the death of Fr. Nicoloa Martino Capelli (killed in 1944 by German Nazis, together with the Salesian priest Don Elia Comini and another 39 men, women and children, in Pioppe di Salvaro); 2) the November meeting of Entity Superiors in Rome; and 3) preparations for the congregation’s newest mission in Colombia. More about the mission is in the article cited above.

Click here to access Fr General’s Christmas letter in a variety of languages.

Closing shot

Fr. Dominic Peluse, SCJ, and Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, show some local team spirit on a chilly day.

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