Weekly News: December 19, 2022

Congratulations Father Henry!

On Saturday, December 17th, Fr. Henry Bùi Nguyen, SCJ, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Thái Thành Nguyen, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange. The ordination took place at St. Columban Catholic Church in Garden Grove, CA, just a few miles away from Fr. Henry’s home parish of St. Polycarp, where he celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving the next day.

Bishop Thomas Thái Thành Nguyen lays his hands upon Henry during the ordination. Pictured above: Fr. Henry with concelebrants

Fr. Henry is 33 and professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) in 2018.

“I first considered a vocation to the priesthood in my early teens,” said Fr. Henry. “I wanted to be a missionary, although at the time I didn’t really know what that meant, I just felt called to do it.”

But fear of what pursuing a vocation might really ask of him, and concern for his widowed father caused Fr. Henry to set aside his initial call. “I didn’t want to leave my single dad at home.”

He credits his father, Douglas Nguyen, for nurturing his faith and his vocation. “My father, since as far back as I can remember, has reminded me of the importance of prayer,” said Henry. “Even when I went to the seminary, was ordained to the diaconate, my dad has continued to remind me to pray. PRAY EVERY DAY!”

Fr. Henry will continue to serve at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, WI, where he did his diaconate internship. However, he will also take on a new role as vocation director for the US Province, helping other young men discern their vocation.

When asked what advice he would give someone considering a vocation to religious life and/or the priesthood, Fr. Henry echoed his father:

“Pray! My advice is to stay rooted in prayer and respond with your heart.”

Click here to read more.

PHOTOS: Click here to view photos from the ordination.

PHOTOS: Click here to view photo from the Mass of Thanksgiving.

History note

Speaking of ordinations, it was on this day, December 19, 1868, that Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, was ordained to the priesthood.

Hello from Indonesia!

Fr. Mark Fortner, SCJ, is in Indonesia for two months, assisting with pastoral ministry. It is a homecoming of sorts for Fr. Mark, who served as a missionary in the Indonesian Province from 1969-1999.

“I am enjoying life in this very welcoming SCJ community and vibrant parish of St. Therese of Lisieux in Jambi, Sumatra,” writes Fr. Mark. “I find myself on the go from morning until sometimes late in the evening engaged in various parish activities.”

Among the photos he shared is the one above with Archbishop Aloysius Sudarso, SCJ, taken at the December 14th celebration of the archbishop’s golden jubilee of priesthood. “There were 500 guests, including nine other bishops, numerous SCJs, diocesan priests, sisters, and leaders of other faith traditions,” wrote Fr. Mark.

Archbishop Sudarso retired in 2021 as archbishop of Palembang, Indonesia.

Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mississippi

As part of last week’s celebration of the feast Our Lady of Guadalupe at Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS, students brought flowers for Mary and processed through the school with colorful streamers prior to Mass.Dancers from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Memphis joined the procession. They performed traditional Mexican dances in honor of the Blessed Mother. Fr. Ardi (Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ) celebrated the school’s feast-day liturgy; Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, did much of the organizing of the day (in-between cheering for the Argentine soccer team at the World Cup!).

Why is it significant?

Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston, was quoted in the December 16 Houston Chronicle, reflecting on the importance of the feast of OLG to the people of his parish, and those who visit for the patronal feast:

“The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe is not just an expression of faith. The centrality of this celebration is in religion. However, being a devotee of Our Lady Guadalupe means having a cultural and religious identity. This place has a force that transcends time and space. Everyone who comes feels that something in their lives belongs here. Catholics call this place the mother’s house. Mother’s house never leaves us, even though we live far away. That is why this feast is so significant for the Houstonians.”

Click here to read the rest of the article. Note that it is available only to subscribers; however, if it is a paper that you are interested in reading online, there is a 99-cent subscription sale until January 3.

Happy retirement!

As we noted last week, John Kuxhause, Chief Financial Manager for the province for the past 22 years, is retiring this month. Last Wednesday, the provincial office staff held a retirement lunch for him.

“When I met John, he was taking over the accounting from Roger Yost,” said Dn. David Nagel, SCJ, province treasurer. “There was plenty of information for John to go through, and though it sometimes seemed like a mystery, he was able to put together what was needed from Roger’s notes. That was no easy task!

“The years have brought many laughs as he has worked with several provincial administrations. John has been open to doing so many things, even taking my place at a finance meeting in Indonesia that involved a two-day delay in the Minneapolis airport while his wife back home tried to find him a flight. Having John in the finance department has been a blessing for the province and I wish him and his family the best in the years ahead.”

John is pictured above with his wife Carol during the luncheon.

Christmas Blessings and Happy New Year!

The Provincial Offices will be closed December 26-27 for Christmas, and December 30 – January 2 for New Year’s (several members of the staff will also be taking a few vacation days in-between).

There will be no Fridge Notes December 26 or January 2. The next issue will be on January 9. However, news will continue to be posted on the province Facebook page.

Have a wonderful holiday!

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