Weekly News: February 11, 2013

God wrecked my life”

Novice James Nguyen is about halfway through his novitiate year. Recently he posted a reflection on the province blog about his discernment experience. The following is taken from that:

James Nguyen

“God wrecked my life.  That may sound as shocking to you as it did for me.  But as I reflect back to the roots of my vocation this year, I have never been so convinced that God did wreck my life.  For the majority of my life, my dream was to climb that ladder of success to reach the top rung of security in wealth and happiness.  That meant getting through college, getting a job as a chemist, getting married, and having a loving family.  I was doing fine until God came and wrecked my life a little over halfway through college.  I have never been the same since.

“I have not been the same since the first day of novitiate as well.  That great excitement during the Reception of Novices has settled into something that’s more manageable, that thrill of not having to go to school for a year has surprisingly disappeared, and the expectations I had in the beginning have yet to have gone my way.  Nonetheless, I am very grateful that things did not go as I planned or else I wouldn’t have the opportunity for self-discovery, growth and spiritual development that this experience has given me.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous and anxious embracing the new transition.  Novitiate is an intense change and I was reluctant to let a part of my life go.  But overall, this year has given me the chance to look deeper and discover things I had never known about myself… In a way, novitiate feels like a lab where my vocation is being tested, tried and lived out on a daily basis.”

Click here to read James’ full reflection.

Some of the million tabs collected by Sacred Heart School

Turning pop tabs into cash

It’s amazing what a tab off of a can of soda pop can do. Recycled pop tabs have brought in over $14,000 a year to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis. The charity takes donated tabs to a local recycling center to turn them into cash.

About three years ago staff and students at Sacred Heart School in Southaven, Miss., decided to start collecting the tabs for the charity. A student from the school was being treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The families of many who are treated at St. Jude’s receive assistance from the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The house is often a “home-away-from-home” for out-of-town families with children bring treated for catastrophic illnesses.

Recently the school decided that it was time to turn in their collection.

How many were collected?

Over 1 million!

Heather Nordtvedt, development director for Ronald McDonald House said that no other school had turned in so many tabs at once.

What could have been a million pieces of garbage became a $484 donation toward the work of the Ronald McDonald House.

Click here to read the full story on the province website.


Fr. Peter Mastrobuono has a new email address: frpetermas@gmail.com

Keep in prayer

Fr. Tom Lind has been undergoing tests in preparation for surgery to repair a hernia. His cardiologist has found evidence of some blockage. On February 19, Fr. Tom will undergo a procedure to clear that blockage. It is hoped that it can be done as an out-patient procedure. If a stint is necessary, it is expected that he will be hospitalized for a short period of time, probably overnight.

Food pantry fund-raiser

On Saturday, March 23, St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, Wis., will host the third annual “Pedal for the Food Pantry.” Organized by parishioners Lauren and Todd Jensen, last year’s event raised approximately $7,300 for the parish food pantry and brought in numerous bags of groceries valued close to $3,000.

An estimated 100 participants will fill the parish gymnasium pedaling for up to four hours on stationery bicycle trainers. Riders will be treated to DJs, videos and music.

Members of St. Martin of Tours’ youth group help by filling water bottles and distributing snacks to the riders, as well as pumping tires and helping other with minor maintenance needs. One of the youth volunteers will be Todd and Lauren’s son David, who is in the fifth grade at St. Martin’s school.

Click here for more information.

Fr. Claude Bédard with new-found friends in Cameroon.

Seeing the community at work in Cameroon

Fr. Claude Bédard and Br. Dieudonné Tchouteu, members of the Canadian Region, went to Cameroon at the end of 2012 to take part in the opening of the 100th anniversary year of the SCJs’ presence in the country. The region has supported several water projects there. The following is from Fr. Claude:

“Br. Dieudonné, who is originally from Cameroon, and I recently had the privilege of visiting our African confreres. It was also an opportunity to tour the projects that the Canadian Region has supported in Cameroon and Chad.

“The projects that we support are focused on social education with an emphasis on wells of drinkable water and the installation of solar panels in parishes, convents, schools and health centers. Thus, we commit ourselves, with others, to fight the different epidemics that ravage the people.

“With the installation of water wells, we have helped to alleviate cholera and typhoid. As you can imagine, there is a long waiting list for these wells and solar panels. The cost of each water well and its installation is approximately $6,500 and the cost of each solar panel and its installation is approximately $600. We have chosen to support and to work in towns where the epidemics are most devastating. As an epidemic does not target any specific area or religion, we work with those where the need is greatest, whether the area is primarily a Muslim populated area or a Christian populated area.

“It is unbelievable to see how our Dehonian missionaries have contributed to creation: they often achieve miracles with practically nothing in their hands!”

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

Happy Lunar New Year!

Lunar New Year was this past weekend. St. Martin of Tours parish, home of the Vietnamese Catholic community in Milwaukee, was the host of this year’s Catholic celebration in the archdiocese. Fr. Thi Pham, associate, said that the celebration included food, a live band and cultural dances. Next Sunday the parish will have what he called an “in-house party” for parishioners.

Sacred Heart School of Theology celebrates Lunar New Year today with a Vietnamese lunch in the dining room. Tết (New Year) is one of the most important and popular holidays in Vietnam, marking the arrival of spring. This is the year of the Snake.

Vocation team on the road

Br. Ray Kozuch and Br. Long Nguyen from the province vocation office took part in Cardinal Stritch University’s Arise gathering on Saturday, February 9.

Throughout the year Arise teams up with parishes and Catholic institutions to provide a mission that includes two presentations during the week and concludes with a Saturday evening of Eucharistic Adoration, confession, and contemporary praise and worship music. The initiative was launched by a group of Catholic youth ministers in the archdiocese last year in an effort to revitalize southeastern Wisconsin’s Catholic youth.

On Sunday, Br. Ray and Br. Long were on the road again to take part in a vocation event at Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in Random Lake, Wis.



Provincial’s time

Fr. Tom Cassidy will be in the Milwaukee area until the week of February 25. He then heads to Chicago for the Los Jóvenes meeting (meeting of younger members of the province) before leaving for Italy on February 28 for the European major superiors meeting. Held in Albino (northern Italy), the meeting is a continuation of discussions that took place at the European Conference on Secularity in 2011.

Lent begins

Lord Jesus,
You call us to repent and to believe,
For God’s reign has come near.
You teach us to do God’s will.
You invite us to follow you
On the way to the cross.

Renew in us the grace of our baptism
And of our religious profession.
Transform our thoughts, words and deeds.
We offer them to you today.
May they become a gift of love to God for people.


From “This Day of God,” community prayer book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.