Weekly News: December 9, 2013

Fr. Charles Brown (front of line), Fr. Byron Haaland and Fr. Jan de Jong represented the US Province at the blessing of the new Church of the Sacred Heart in Cameroon.
Fr. Charles Brown (front of line), Fr. Byron Haaland and Fr. Jan de Jong represented the US Province at the blessing of the new Church of the Sacred Heart in Cameroon.

Church on a hill

“It was fantastic! I’d go back in a minute,” said Fr. Byron Haaland upon his return from Cameroon. “The ceremony was five hours long and I loved it!”

Fr. Byron, Fr. Jan de Jong and Fr. Charles Brown represented the U.S. Province at the blessing of Sacred Heart Church in Bafoussam, Cameroon. The November 30th ceremony marked the end of the year-long celebration of the SCJs’ 100 years of presence in Cameroon.

According to its architect, Escher Gerard, the church, built in the form of a boat, references two things: the vessel that brought the first German missionaries to Cameroon, and also to the bark (barque or boat) of Peter, the first fisherman, a pillar of the church. “It is a rather unique view: a cargo bark built on top of a hill, hundreds of kilometers from the coast,” wrote Fr. Jan van den Hengel, who represented the General Curia.

Fr. Jan (right) with Fr. Kiko, an alumnus of SHST's ESL program
Fr. Jan (right) with Fr. Kiko, an alumnus of SHST’s ESL program

The site for the church was given to the Priests of the Sacred Heart by a tribal chief; it was originally intended as the seat of the Chefferie (the seat of the chief) of Bafoussam. Mont St. Jean, the SCJ mission in Boufassam, and the church, now symbolically dominate the town from atop the hill.

The history of the Church in Cameroon “is a history of great fidelity but also a history filled with trials,” said Fr. Leopold Mfouakouet, provincial superior. Twice, wars in Europe seriously disrupted the mission effort. Later, missionaries died in the country’s war for independence.

Click here to read more about the blessing on the General Curia’s website.

Click here to view initial photos from the ceremony. More will be posted soon.


The Generalate in 1954, shortly after it had been completed.
The Generalate in 1954, shortly after it had been completed.

House on the hill

On Saturday, the General Curia and International College in Rome celebrated the 60th anniversary of the building that houses both communities, as well as the general administration of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Cardinal João Braz de Aviz. prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA), took part in the celebration.

Built at the top of a hill less than two miles from the Vatican, the dome of St. Peter’s, as well as the busy streets that the circle the property and much of Rome itself, can be seen from the building’s upper windows.

While today the outside of the building looks similar to the photo above, the land which surrounds it is vastly different, filled with stores, restaurants, car dealerships, traffic, traffic and more traffic!

Click here to view more historical photos. 

Honorary SCJ dies

Honorary SCJ Fr. Joseph Gole, 97, died December 8 in Milwaukee, Wis.

Fr. Gole
Fr. Gole

Born in Dubrovnik, Slovenia, Fr. Gole grew up in the town of Zagorica. He began his studies for the priesthood at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France.   While there, his education was interrupted by the German occupation of France during World War II. He completed his seminary training in Yugoslavia.

He was ordained on July 4, 1943, for the Diocese of Ljubljana, Slovenia (he marked his 70th anniversary as a priest this year!). In 1945 he left for Austria to continue his studies but was detained by German troops and spent time in a concentration camp.

After the war he earned his doctorate from the Austrian University in Graz and soon after began teaching International Law.

Recruited by both Fr. Richard Keifer, then provincial superior of the US Province, and Fr. Edward O’Donnell, SJ, of Marquette University, he came to the United States in 1950 to teach at both SHST and MU.  At SHST he taught Philosophy, Metaphysics, Homiletics and Scripture.  At Marquette, he taught in the law school.

Click here to read more about Fr. Gole on the province website.

Arrangements are as follows:

Visitation and Wake: Friday, December 13, 2013:

3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Visitation
6:30 p.m.: Wake Service
Bevsek-Verbick Funeral Home
10210 W. Lincoln Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53227
(414) 546-4342

Visitation and Mass of Christian Burial, Saturday, December 14, 2013:

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: Visitation
11:00 a.m.: Mass of Christian Burial
Sacred Heart Monastery/Sacred Heart School of Theology
7335 South Lovers Lane Road
Franklin, WI 53132 

Fr. Gole will be interred in his native Slovenia.

Please remember

David Nelson, the husband of Joyce Nelson, Dn. David Nagel’s mother, died of cancer on Friday, December 6. Funeral arrangements are pending and will take place in Florida.

Thanksgiving week at St. Joe’s

“The campus was very quiet this weekend since the Lakota students and St. Joseph’s staff were on Thanksgiving break,” wrote Fr. Anthony Kluckman last week on the blog for St. Joseph’s Indian School.  “I helped chaperone the bus that took the students to their homes in Eagle Butte and Pierre, South Dakota.  It was good to meet some of the students’ families and everyone seemed very upbeat to be home for the holiday.

“St. James Parish and Fr. Guy Blair hosted their second annual Thanksgiving meal open to anyone in the community.  It was an outstanding success and served over 400 people. They had over a 150 takeout orders for people unable to leave their homes.  It was nice to see that a wide variety of locals join together to help others…

“St. Joseph’s Indian School was blessed with the presence of a bald eagle that sat high in a tree along the banks of the Missouri River.  It was a majestic sight.  Deer hunting season opened recently in our area, which may explain why I’ve seen seven deer on three separate occasions within the last 10 days or so.  They seem to know there will not be any shooting on campus.”

Click here to read more on the school blog.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter is out of town until the end of the week, taking part in the CMSM workshop for those new to leadership, as well as making a retreat. He is expected back in the office on Friday. December 18-19 he has meetings with the Provincial Council.