Weekly News: February 12, 2023

Congratulations to St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Candid, a leading assessor of nonprofit organizations, recently announced that the Dehonians’ St. Joseph’s Indian School achieved the Platinum GuideStar Seal of Transparency for providing comprehensive information about the school’s programs, success measures and services. Platinum is the highest possible rating for a nonprofit organization.  For the past three years, St. Joseph’s earned the Silver GuideStar Seal of Transparency.

GuideStar introduced the Seal of Transparency in 2013 and merged with Candid in 2019. The organization collects, standardizes and makes data available about nonprofit organizations to promote transparency by making it easier to understand what nonprofits do. The organization provides access to timely, nonpartisan data and intelligence to support social sector stakeholders. Ratings such as these ensure donors are well-informed about the work, mission and operations of the nonprofits to whom they donate.

About 5% of the 1.7 million nonprofits registered by the IRS have a GuideStar Seal, and only 15% of those are Platinum.

Also at St. Joseph’s

St. Joseph’s Indian School students celebrated Catholic Schools Week with the theme of “Faith, Service and Excellence.” A different aspect of the theme was commemorated each day:

– Faith through a prayer service Tuesday morning and The Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day Thursday.

– Service through an annual food drive to support St. James Food Pantry

– Excellence in education through a Young Authors/Young Illustrators competition; a spelling bee; the art of printmaking with visiting artist Michele David Mechling; and an I-Spy game created around the murals on the front of the school building. These were designed by Brother Bonaventure, SCJ, and depict the interaction between Catholics and the Lakota people, the Lakota way of life and spirituality and the school’s founding. An archery challenge finished the week.

At the kickoff prayer service, Mission Integration Director Joe Tyrell and Chaplain Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, spoke about the unique value of education in an environment infused with spirituality. Joe pointed to reminders that surround students throughout the day, including crosses, sacred smudge, statues and more. He assigned a saint to each grade and asked students to think about how these persons might be like a “phone-a-friend,” interceding to God on students’ behalf and in light of the unique but ordinary lives they led.

The week ended with an archery challenge divided by age groups. St. Joseph’s is one of the province’s longest-running ministries in the United States.

Please remember

+Br. Harry Theo Schurgers, a member of the Dutch Region, died February 6. He was born in 1933, made his first profession in 1956, and his final profession in 1960.

General Chapter preparations begin

The XXV General Chapter in Rome is scheduled for June 14 – July 5, 2024. On January 31, the General Council chose the following SCJs to serve on the Preparatory Committee:

Fr. Eugénio Tárua (MOZ)
Fr. Juan José Arnaiz Ecker, (ESP)
Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo (CAN)
Fr. Yudistiro Adifitrityassanto (INA)

Fr. Willyans, a member of the Toronto community, is pictured above. The first meeting of the Preparatory Committee will take place in March. As noted in last week’s Fridge Notes, the US Provincial Chapter will be July 18-21, 2023, with the theme “Welcoming the Spirit, Preparing for Our Future.”

The US Planning Committee has its next meeting on February 16.

The power of words

Reflecting on yesterday’s gospel reading (Mt 5:17-37) Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ (pictured above), reminded parishioners at St. Martin of Tours that “Evil words offend our relationship with God and people. The line “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’” in today’s gospel reminds me of the Letter of St. James, which emphasizes the  power of our tongue.

“Indeed, we all make many mistakes.  For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way” (James 3:2).  James compares our tongue to a small rudder, which makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.  Moreover, James compares our tongue to a tiny spark, which can set a great forest on fire.  ‘Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire.  It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire’ (James 3:5-6).

“The gospel reminds us today to be integrated and truthful in everything we do and say: ‘Let your Yes mean Yes, and your No mean No.  Anything more is from the evil one.”

“Let’s find more ways and means to praise God and bless people through our action and words.”

Seminarians busy at SMOT

Speaking of St. Martin of Tours, there are quite a few students from the formation program at Sacred Heart Monastery who are active with the SMOT community. They include Alfonso Pizano, who has a field placement in community, teaches religious education and serves Mass every Sunday. SCJ Fraters Hung Pham, Jacob Smith and Long Nguyen regularly visit the sick of the parish. SCJ Fraters Paul Phong Hoang (pictured above)and Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong minister to the Vietnamese youth, and Frater Michael Wodarczyk, SCJ, is active in the choir. “We are grateful for their service in our community,” said Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, SMOT pastor.

Calendar reminders

Two, one-hour recollections via Zoom will be held during Lent. The first will be for SCJs on Tuesday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m. (Central). The Zoom link will be sent to SCJs via email.

The second recollection is for employees and other collaborators on Thursday, March 23, also at 10:00 a.m. (Central). Click here for the Zoom link.

Sr. Dianne Bergant will lead both sessions. A Sister of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac, WI, she served on the faculty of Catholic Theological Union from 1978 to 2014, where she had many SCJs as students. Her curriculum vitae is lengthy, including service as President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (2000-2001) and as the Rev. Robert J. Randall Distinguished Professor of Christian Culture, Providence College, Providence, RI (2009-2010).

Another calendar reminder: April 25-26, the province will host a pre-retirement workshop for SCJs at the at the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Tucson, AZ. It will be an opportunity to listen, reflect, and discuss topics such as spirituality in one’s latter years, healthy aging for religious men, a philosophy of aging, and transitions. Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick, MM, who has given workshops and retreats on aging and spirituality in the US and beyond, is the presenter. SCJs who are looking at retirement within the next five years should contact Fr. Greg Schill. The last day of registration is March 31, 2023.

Click here to subscribe to the weekly news (Fridge Notes) via email