Fr. General’s Christmas message
Fr. Heinrich Wilmer and the General Council recently released their Christmas message to the congregation. In it, Fr. Heiner recalls significant moments of the congregation during the past year, and notes several events planned for 2018, including the General Conference in the Philippines July 15-21, and the Church’s preparation for the synod titled “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” in October.
“We celebrate not a memory, but a prophecy,” writes Fr. Heiner. “This is why we want to keep trying to be prophets of love. To better communicate our spirituality, we have defined the Congregation’s Mission Statement. We have given ourselves a vision, Love with open heart and mind, and tried to define our mission, Adveniat Regnum Tuum – Your kingdom come. ‘We are especially for people who are most in need and for the young. Our Congregation focuses on education, social work, missions, spirituality and media to announce the kingdom of God. We live in community, are inspired by daily Eucharistic Adoration, and in a fragmented world we believe unity to be possible.’”
Of congregational events, Fr. Heiner noted the gathering of the congregation’s communication professionals in January (2017), and continued, citing several other moments of significance, such as the Major Superiors’ gathering, the African Continental Conference, and the international theological conference in Indonesia.
Seeing the face of Jesus in others
Br. Jose Antony Arackal is an SCJ seminarian from India studying in Venezuela. Recently he wrote on the US Province blog about his first-hand experience with the Venezuela’s poverty.
“My motive is not to make any judgment on the political system of the country, rather I just want to describe what happened to me on this particular day; a personal experience,” he wrote. Seeing a volunteer organizing boxes of food to give to the poor, many of whom were lined up outside an SCJ church, Br. Jose Antony asked, “Is it sufficient for all?” The volunteer told him “Jesus always provides for us.”
“I replied ‘Amen’ affirming with conviction,” wrote Br. Jose Antony, “but I am sure that he did not hear what was said because of the noise of the people asking for food. I moved on but then abruptly turned around when I felt somebody pulling on my finger. ‘Who is that?’ I thought. I looked down and found a little girl with a shabby dress smiling, ‘¿Cuándo vamos a comer?’ (When are we gonna eat?). It felt like a punch to my face.
“My heart melted looking at her starving face. Her hands were dirty. Perhaps she had gone to search for food in the dump, I thought. It is a common scene now on the streets: people searching for scraps in the dumps. I bent down and started a conversation with her and she told me that, ‘no he comido nada hoy’ (I have eaten nothing today). I took her to the volunteers and they gave her a box. I could see her little shining face with her missing tooth smile.
“I hold that image, that smile, dear in my heart. ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry?’ (Mt 25; 37). Yes, Jesus provides us always an opportunity to see His face in others… in a smile and in an innocent hand.”
Medical plan name change
The name of the SCJ medical plan is changing from “CBA” to “BPA.” Members of the US Province should expect to see a transition in the next weeks on EOB forms and other communication. Note, this concerns the SCJ health plan, not the employees’.
Questions? Contact Kevin Stanke at email@example.com.
Familiar face in Rome
During the Christmas break, Fr. Tom Knoebel, president-rector at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, is in Rome. He is pictured here following a visit with Fr. Heiner Wilmer (superior general), Fr. Raul Gomez (former SHSST vice president) and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter (general councilor).
The next Dehonian North American Retreat, “Open Hearts,” will be May 6-12 in Racine, WI (about 30 minutes south of Sacred Heart Monastery). This is the second of the two retreat options; the first was in suburban Toronto (Mississauga) last August.
If you did not take part in the retreat in Canada you are encouraged to register for the May retreat. There are still a few openings. Click here to view the current registration list. If you would like to add yourself to the list, click here. Space at the retreat center is limited, so please register as soon as possible.
Note that there will also be a retreat August 5-12 for those in formation.
As a reminder, the five-day retreat will delve into themes from the Dehonian charism and Rule of Life: (1) Fr. Dehon’s faith experience, (2) Oblation, (3) United in the love of Christ, (4) Prophet of love and servant of reconciliation, and (5) Fr. Dehon’s social spirituality. Included will be a mix of input with individual and group reflection. The retreat directors are Fr. John van den Hengel, Fr. Jim Schroeder and David Schimmel (province director of Dehonian Associates).
Further communication about the next retreat will be sent by the planning group in the weeks ahead.
Keep in prayer
Br. Ben Humpfer has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer, an infiltrating glioblastoma. Br. Ben is in hospice care at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee. Cards can be sent to him at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.
Also, many people in the Kerala area of India (and Tamil Nadu), where the SCJs’ Indian District has a significant presence, were affected by Cyclone Ockhi, which made landfall on December 2. Fr. Alex Josaph writes that 15 of his close neighbors and friends are still missing; they are all fishermen who were at sea when the cyclone hit. It is estimated that over 600 fishermen are still missing. Please keep them in prayer.
Teaming up to help
Speaking of India, Fr. Tom Cassidy and Pam Milczarski (Province Development Office) teamed up at St. Martin of Tours parish last weekend to sell purses made by parishioners at Sacred Heart parish in Vempadu, India.
“Fr. Jojappa came up with the concept of a sewing center to teach village women a skill other than working in the fields,” said Pam. The Dehon Tailoring Center was established early this year. During a recent recent trip with benefactors, Fr. Dominic Peluse and Pam brought 30 purses back to the United States. Proceeds from their sale will go toward the purchase of additional sewing machines and materials. The center hopes to expand to produce school uniforms, vestments, men’s shirts and more.
Bonnie Jachowicz, who served as a pastoral associate at St. Martin of Tours (Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary) parish for many years, died December 11, at the age of 76.
Among those celebrating birthdays in January: Candidate Angel Romero (34) on Jan. 3, Fr. Leonard Tadyszak (96) on Jan. 5, Fr. Tom Westhoven (77) and Fr. Rein van Leeuwen (89) on Jan. 9, Candidate Hung Pham (31) on Jan. 12, Fr. Ralph Intranuovo (81) on Jan. 20, Fr. Bernie Rosinski (84) on Jan. 22, and Br. Andy Lewandowski (84) and Fr. Louis Mariano Fernandes (54) on Jan. 26. Happy birthday!
All North American SCJs are invited to submit nominations for the Klingler Social Action Award from now until March 15, 2018. The JPR Commission will review submissions and make a recommendation to the Provincial Superior for his final approval. The award includes a donation of $1,000 to the recipient’s charity or justice organization of choice.
Criteria for the award is based upon an individual’s or a group’s actions on behalf of the poor and marginalized, and/or leadership in inspiring others to action and to raised awareness, deeper understanding of social problems and their root causes, and greater compassion.
Please send all nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org or the JPR Office, c/o Provincialate Offices, 7373 S. Lovers Lane, Franklin, WI.
This award honors the many contributions of Fr. Johnny Klingler to the cause of social justice as the province’s first Director of Justice and Peace, as Provincial Superior, and as a long-time member of the JPR Commission. It is based in the Dehonian charism of dedication to “ministry to the lowly and the humble, the workers and the poor” (Const. #31), and to the ideals of social justice as expressed in Catholic Social Teaching. The Klingler Award is intended to lift up efforts by individuals or groups that “touch people’s hearts,” transform personal attitudes, and spur others to greater social action of all kinds – direct service, advocacy for the poor and the voiceless, formation and education for justice, support for systemic change at the governmental or institutional level, and empowerment of the marginalized.
International Migrants Day
As noted last week, today, December 18, has been designated by the United Nations as International Migrants Day. In honor of the day, the focus of last Friday’s issue of Dehonian Spirituality was on migration.
“In Dehon’s day, Europe did not experience an influx of refugees, but rather the exodus of migrants,” notes David Schimmel, Dehonian Spirituality editor. “For this reason, Fr. Dehon focused on the pastoral approach of companioning migrants.”
Click here to download the latest issue of the SCJ News. The print version will be in the mail before the end of the year.
Fr. Ed Kilianski returns from Vietnam just in time for Provincial Council meetings this week, December 19-20. His first visitation of the year will start on January 2 with the St. Joseph’s Community (4th Floor) and St. Francis (Woods Road). The next visitation will be January 21-26 at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, including the Dehon House Community.
Christmas greetings from the Sacred Heart Community at SHML! Click here to view a Christmas video that the community did for benefactors.
A reminder: the Provincial Offices will be closed starting at noon on Friday, December 22 through Tuesday, December 26 for Christmas, and January 1-2 for New Year’s. The offices will be open December 27-29 but please note that several staff take vacation days at this time.
There will be no Fridge Notes on December 25 or January 1. The first issue of the new year will be sent on January 8. However, news items will continue to be posted on the Province Facebook page (you do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the page) throughout the holiday season. Also, the publication Dehonian Spirituality will take a break this week and return on Decemeber 29.