Pictured above is the Dehon Formation Community in Chicago sharing their Christmas wishes, and at right are members of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML sending their greetings.
A reminder: the Provincial Offices will be closed December 23-26 for Christmas and December 30 through January 2 for New Year’s.
This is the last edition of the Fridge Notes for 2016; the first issue of the year will be sent on January 9, 2017. Prayer requests and other “quick news” will continue to be sent by email to SCJs as usual. Also, check Facebook for news items. Click here to view the US Province Facebook page and click here to go to DehoniansWorldwide (international SCJ Facebook page).
The Dehonian Spirituality e-publication will also be on a two-week hiatus. The last issue of 2016 was sent on December 16. Missed it? Click here to view it. The first issue to be published in 2017 will be on January 6.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
On December 14 Fr. Louis-Marie Butari officially became a member of the Region of Canada. Congratulations and welcome Fr. Louis-Marie!
Those celebrating birthdays in January include: Angel Romero (33) on Jan. 3, Fr. Leonard Tadyszak (turning 95, he is the eldest SCJ in the US Province), Fr. Tom Westhoven (76) and Fr. Rein van Leeuwen (88) on Jan. 9, Fr. Engelbert Fotsing (55) on Jan. 14, Fr. Ralph Intranuovo (80) on Jan. 20, Fr. Bernie Rosinski (83) on Jan. 22 and Br. Andy Lewandowski (83) on Jan. 26. Happy birthday!
The 2017 “Days of Celebration and Commemoration” (Birthday Calendar) is being mailed this week. The calendar includes the dates of death of SCJs from the US and Canada, as well as birthdays. In the back there is a listing of phone numbers and email addresses for SCJs and candidates in North America.
Click here to access a PDF of the calendar.
Greetings from Fort Gordon
“As a priest on a military post I have my usual busy calendar of events and activities,” writes Fr. Mark Mastin, who serves as a civilian chaplain at Fort Gordon in Georgia. “I am making my daily rounds at the on-post hospital and celebrating Masses there and on-post, leading Eucharistic adoration of Wednesdays, overseeing the Bible Study Program and Theology on Tap, and managing the Religious Education Program for hundreds of adults and children from pre-kindergarten to high school. I am also helping off-Post Catholic priests with their reconciliation services during this Advent season.
“One of the aspects of being a part of a military religious community is the need to be ecumenical with fellow Christians and have interreligious dialogue and cooperation with other faiths when we engage in on-post events. Because the military is a microcosm of society, religious diversity is magnified and people are somewhat forced out of their comfort zones to interact with each other. Furthermore, many of our Catholics are married to spouses of other faiths.
“Last weekend our Catholic Community Choir joined forces with the Gospel Faith Choir and their members. We shared each other’s Christmas songs and traditions. We also sang together, concluding with a ‘Feliz Navidad’ that got the entire church clapping and singing. I showed off a few of my dance moves as well!
“So, Sint Unum lives on here at Fort Gordon. I pray that all of you will have a blessed Christmas and experience a true sense of unity in your families and communities.”
Can we answer the cries?
In their Christmas letter to the congregation Fr. Heiner Wilmer (superior general) and his council write:
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph are the emblematic image of the many foreigners fleeing for their lives. Pope Francis insists, ‘Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt’ (Deut 10:19). […] the Church nevertheless encourages us to recognize God’s plan. She invites us to do this precisely amidst this phenomenon, with the certainty that no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces ‘every nation, tribe, people and tongue’ (Rev 7:9).
“Today so many lose their lives in the trips of hope on ships of shame. Jesus, flesh and bone, sinks in the sea on rickety boats, along with these migrants. A huge nativity scene moves and disappears into the abyss.
“In ‘the six-year program’ we wrote: ‘As sons of Father Dehon, we want to give real answers and real help to the needs and necessities that are produced because of the phenomena of migration and globalization of our time.’
“The Jesus of hardship and deprivation continues to suffer at the hands of totalitarian regimes in this world. An immense world of young people looks up wearily and scans the horizon of the future for signs of life and hope. At a critical time when the poor and marginalized need a response of solidarity, the process of secularization tends to reduce faith and the Church to the private and intimate.
“Can we as Priests of the Sacred Heart answer the cries of our day?”
Click here to access the full text.
New issue from the Centro Studi Dehoniani
The latest e-newsletter from the Centro Studi Dehoniani (Dehon Study Center) in Rome is now available. The lead article is about “DehonianaDocs.”
“In almost 45 years of existence, Dehoniana has published an immensity of articles about Fr. Dehon and the congregation he founded,” states the article that tops the newsletter. “Thus it has become a very precious tool for those searching for reflections, studies and information about Dehonians and their charism. Under the roof of Dehondocs a new website, DehonianaDocs has been launched in collaboration with the Data Service Center of Bologna. In this site all articles of Dehoniana and their existing translations will be published.”
Other articles in the newsletter include “Why Fr. Dehon pushed for missions,” “Theological commissions on all continents,” “Sacred Heart: an object of study?” and “Is consecrated life inculturated in Africa?”
Click here to access the full issue. Note that the English text follows the Italian. Want to subscribe? There is a subscription link in the upper left corner of the web version.
Fr. Tom Westhoven’s sister, Janis, died December 15. She was 59 and had been in hospice for many weeks. Janis was the identical twin to Fr. Tom’s sister, Joann. A memorial will take place during a family reunion next summer.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Roger Phaneuf, a member of the Canadian Region, has been at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (Montréal) since Friday, December 16. Today he will begin physical therapy; he has difficulty walking and sitting.
Sr. Gus Griffin, who retired last June from Tunica Catholic Social Services (Sacred Heart Southern Missions), was recently diagnosed with cancer of the throat.
“Motherhouse” blessed in Indonesia
Fr. Mark Fortner, who served in Indonesia for over 30 years, was one of several visiting SCJs who took part in the December 14th blessing of the Indonesian Province’s new “Motherhouse.” The celebration began with Eucharist with Archbishop Aloisius Sudarso as the main presider. He was joined at the altar by Fr. Alexander Sapto Dwi Handoko (Indonesian provincial superior), Fr. Paulus Sugino (general councilor) and Fr. Andreas Madya (former provincial).
Indonesia is a primarily Muslim country but the SCJs there note a warm and welcoming spirit from all of their neighbors, not just fellow Christians. The night before the house blessing, neighbors –– primarily Muslim –– held a “Kenduri.” This is a shared prayer followed by a meal.
During the December 14th celebrations a local official said that he hoped the house could “be a place that is open and useful for anyone, especially for local residents, and that the members of this house can support a spirit of peace and tolerance.”
Fr. Ed Kilianski is in Pinellas Park, Fl., this week to lead a retreat for Advent (Hmmm… Florida just when Milwaukee has its first sub-zero day?). He returns to Milwaukee on December 23 and then heads to Chicago to spend Christmas with the Dehon Formation Community.
One more Christmas greeting
Fr. Greg Schill and Fr. Thi Pham, members of the Sacred Heart Southern Missions Pastoral Team, are pictured below wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from the SHSM Christmas party.