Weekly News: December 20, 2021

Much to be thankful for

Last week was the final full meeting of the current Provincial Council; a new administration will be elected during the January 3-7 Election Assembly. One of the last tasks of the out-going administration? Posing for a Christmas photo (posted above).

Reflecting on his six-plus years as provincial superior, Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, focused on gratitude. “I am thankful and blessed having served you as provincial,” he wrote in his State of the Province report. “It has been a privilege to serve in this capacity; a role I neither sought nor desired. It has also been both a sacrifice and an act of oblation. It has been a ministry of love, service and challenge. In all my ministries, I have always sought to be the ‘servant of servants,’ to be among you as ‘one who serves.’

“I do believe that we have much to be thankful for and are truly blessed as a province. We have accomplished a great amount together in these six-plus years.  We now have the important task of electing new leaders for the next three years.  I ask us to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us in our election of our new leaders.  May God’s will be done.”

The Election Assembly begins at 1:00 pm on Monday, January 3, in the Provincial Conference Center. The evening Mass will commemorate the 2020 and 2021 jubilarians. Updates and photos from the assembly will be posted on the province Facebook page. A prayer for the assembly is at the bottom of this Fridge Notes.

Holiday hours

The Provincial Offices will be closed December 24 and 27 for Christmas, and December 31 and January 3 for New Year’s (Friday and Monday of each week). Note: several members of the Provincial Offices’ staff will be on hand for the start of the assembly even though the office is closed January 3.

The Fridge Notes will be on hiatus for the next two weeks. There will be no Fridge Notes December 27 or January 3. The next issue will be published on January 10, 2022.

Keep in prayer

As he prepares for the final weeks of his administration, Fr. Ed Kilianski also learned that he will be preparing to begin treatment for pancreatic cancer. He was hospitalized and diagnosed last week. However, he was able to return home yesterday and is back in the office today. Fr. Ed will meet with his oncology team on Thursday; initial plans are that he is to have two months of extensive chemotherapy and then he will have surgery to remove the mass on his pancreas. His treatment prior to surgery is to be done on an outpatient basis. Please keep him in prayer.

Fr. Tom Cassidy and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter following Fr. Steve’s election in 2013.

Number 16 follows…

Fr. Ed Kilianski is the 15th provincial superior of the US Province. A quick review of the SCJs who came before him:

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter was elected as the 14th provincial superior in 2013; however, his term was cut short in 2015 when he was elected to the General Council. Fr. Steve was reelected to the council in 2018 in the General Chapter held following the appointment of Fr. Heiner Wilmer as bishop of Hildesheim. Fr. Steve is now vicar general of the congregation.

Fr. Tom Cassidy preceded Fr. Steve. He served as provincial superior from 2007-2013. Prior to his election, Fr. Tom was president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology and served on the General Council in Rome. Fr. Tom succeeded Fr. Richard MacDonald. Originally from Detroit, Fr. Mac has spent most of his years of ministry in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

The 11th provincial superior was Fr. John Czyzynski. A Cleveland native, Fr. John devoted much of his religious life to education and formation. For over 25 years he served at SHSST, and following his two terms as provincial superior Fr. John was novice master.

Fr. Tom Garvey preceded Fr. John. He was elected to four terms on the Provincial Council before being elected as provincial superior in 1989. As did Fr. Tom Cassidy, Fr. Tom Garvey also served as SHSST rector (1978-86). Following his terms as provincial superior, Fr. Tom became one of the founding members of the SCJs’ Indian District.

Fr. Michael Burke was provincial superior from 1983-1989. Many of his years of religious life were in administration and education. He was administrator of St. Joseph’s Indian School, and after his two terms as provincial superior, Fr. Mike served in vocations and province formation. Fr. Mike followed Fr. Johnny Klingler, who served in the US Army in Pusan, Korea, before pursuing his vocation to religious life. Following his terms as provincial superior, Fr. Johnny served in South Dakota, South Africa, and for six years on the General Council in Rome.

Fr. Richard Kiefer, the first provincial superior

Fr. Justin Guiltnane was vice provincial when he unexpectedly succeeded Fr. Michael Noonan in 1970. Fr. Noonan died of a heart attack. After completing Fr. Noonan’s term, Fr. Justin was elected to two more. Besides administration, Fr. Justin worked at SHSST and in parish ministry, primarily in southeastern Wisconsin. Fr. Michael Noonan was elected provincial superior in 1966. It was under his administration that the new building for Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology was completed, replacing the original structure that was on the property that now houses Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.

Fr. Peter Miller was the fifth provincial superior. He served in pastoral ministry and education, including St. Joseph’s Indian School and Divine Heart Seminary. He was named provincial superior after the then current provincial – Fr. Joseph DePalma – was elected superior general in 1959. Fr. DePalma was provincial superior from 1955-1959. As general superior, he took part in Vatican II. In 1967, he was named bishop of the newly created diocese of De Aar.

Fr. Damase Caron was the third provincial superior. A French Canadian, he was teaching at SHSST when he was named provincial superior in 1948. Poor health prevented him from serving more than a year. He retired to Montréal, where he had previously been local superior.

Fr. William Noelken, a German immigrant, was provincial superior from 1941-47. He came to the United States during WWII to serve as novice master, and remained to help build the young province. During his seminary studies he was drafted into the German army, wounded, and spent time as a prisoner of war before ordination.

Fr. Richard Kiefer was the first SCJ appointed as provincial superior. Originally from the German Province, he was sent to the United States just eight years after his first profession. He was named superior of the newly created American Province (predecessor of the US Province) in 1934. Fr. Kiefer served until 1941, and was reappointed in 1947 when he was asked to fulfill Fr. Damase Caron’s term. Fr. Kiefer stepped down for the final time in 1955.

Please remember

+ Fr. Angelo Pedrazzi, a member of the North Italian Province, died December 11. He was born in 1932, professed in 1949 and ordained in 1958.

+ Fr. José Norberto Konrad, a member of the Brazil Sao Paulo Province, died on December 19. He was born in 1934, professed in 1956 and ordained in 1960.

For those in Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Catholic Jewish Conference is looking for donations of NEW winter clothing for Afghan refugees housed at Fort McCoy. Click here to view a wishlist on Amazon.

Drop off locations are at Catholic Charities (2021 N. 60th St) and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation (1360 N Prospect). For more information contact Allison Hayden at AllisonH@MilwaukeeJewish.org or Andrew Ruesch at ARuesch@ccmke.org.

Again, only NEW clothing items are being accepted.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in January include Fr. Tom Westhoven on Jan. 9, Frater Hung Pham on Jan. 12, Fr. Ushindi Kambale Sahani on Jan. 13, Fr. Ralph Intranuovo on Jan. 20, Fr. Bernie Rosinski on Jan. 22, and Br. Andy Lewandowski and Fr. Louis Mariano Fernandes on Jan. 26

Fourth Sunday of Advent

As we noted previously, Fr. Joe Dean, SCJ, has been asked to write reflections on the readings of Advent for the general website.

“Mary’s faith and love come at a cost,” wrote Fr. Joe for the fourth Sunday of Advent.  “Her mission to give birth to the Sign of Contradiction is not so much about her as a single individual, as it is about offering herself out of love for the Father through her Son for people.  Only after a sword pierces her soul will she stand among the community of Jesus’ followers who await Pentecost.

“Naturally, this is where we SCJs are challenged.  Mary is, after all, an exemplar of our religious life, as our Constitutions testify.  We are meant to hear Jesus’ word and keep it; to welcome the Spirit; to answer love with love, to live in communion with divine love, and to offer ourselves ‘with and as Christ’ as we testify to the thoughts of his heart, bringing him into the heart of the world through our common life and ministry.  Oblation and Reparation mean a sword will pierce our very being too.”

Click here to read the full text on the general website.

As Christmas nears, we pray:

Dear Jesus, may the light of your love always shine in our hearts. As Christmas draws closer, we marvel at your great love for us. Let your love transform every aspect of our lives and touch everyone we encounter. Our hearts are open to you, Jesus.

(Prayer from the December 19, 2021, mailing for Advent from the Dehonian Associates. Click here to view the full email).

And for the US Province Election Assembly we pray:

Ever faithful God,
you call us to respond with our lives
to the love, mercy and compassion
we have known through the heart of Christ

Send your Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds.
Grant us the courage of Leo Dehon:
to dream dreams,
to press forward with trust,
to live passionately,
and to draw strength from you.

Give us hearts receptive
to the healing, reconciling love of Christ.
Scatter clouds of discouragement.
Revive those who are weary,
lost or cynical.

For SCJs:
Grant us what we need as a community
in this moment of history:
a renewed vision of life
and ministry together.

Guide our election of new leadership
As we follow you on the way
As priests of the heart of Jesus.

For those praying in partnership with the SCJs of the US Province:
Grant to SCJs in the United States
what they need as a community
in this moment of history:
a renewed vision of life
and ministry together.

Guide their election of new leadership
As we join them in solidarity on their path
As priests of the heart of Jesus.

Adapted from a “Prayer Before a Chapter,” This Day of God

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year’s!

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