Weekly News: February 20, 2023

Preparing for novitiate

Congratulations to Alfonso Pizano (pictured above, in the middle), who was welcomed into postulancy last week during Adoration at Sacred Heart Monastery. Originally from California, Alfonso has an MA in education from Loyola Marymount University and another MA in philosophy from Fordham University. He is currently in his second year of studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

“Overall, I’m just an ordinary guy with a disciple’s heart,” said Alfonso in describing himself. “I’m grateful and eager to see what God has in store for me as I am available to do his will.”

Br. Ray Kozuch, SCJ, is Alfonso’s postulancy director (he is pictured above on the right). Postulancy is one of the final steps along the path to novitiate.

Pre-Chapter meeting dates

Members of the Chapter Preparatory Committee met last Thursday; among the committee’s tasks was setting the dates of future Pre-Chapter meetings (the first was on January 31). All chapter delegates are asked to be available for Pre-Chapter meetings via Zoom on the following dates:

Tuesday, April 18, from 9:00 a.m. to noon (central). Please note that this is a day earlier than originally communicated. Discussion topics of the meeting will include possible directory changes.

Tuesday, June 13, from 9:00 a.m. to noon (central). This meeting date is tentative, but delegates are asked to be available for it if it is needed.

The US Provincial Chapter is scheduled for July 18-21 with the theme “Welcoming the Spirit… preparing for our future.” Click here to access preparation materials for the chapter in the Members’ section of the province website.


Fr. Joe Dean, SCJ, will be moving from South Dakota to Wisconsin later this year, joining the Sacred Heart Community at SHML as of October 1.

SCJ shares the lives of the homeless through art

“Homeless in San Antonio” by Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, is on exhibit at the Kelso Art Center / Semmes Gallery on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio from February 17 – March 17. There was an opening talk and reception with the artist on Friday.

Fr. Guy is a self-taught artist in the mediums of pastels and watercolors. He says that he always wanted “to do” art but let it take a back seat to his ministry as a religious priest. It has only been in the past eight years or so that he has regularly been active in creating art.

“Homeless in San Antonio” is a blending of Fr. Guy’s service to the homeless as well as his interest in art. Each homeless person featured in one of Fr. Guy’s paintings was interviewed and gave permission before his/her portrait was painted.

“As we walk by homeless people on the streets of San Antonio, most people tend to look through them or judge them as perhaps deserving of the situation they are in,” said Fr. Guy. “This attitude allows people to build an emotional barrier, giving them permission not to connect with the homeless as destitute people whose suffering and tears are as real as our own.”

Fr. Guy’s art work is represented by Art Gallery Prudencia in San Antonio.

“Painting is, for me, quite an adventure of self-expression,” said Fr. Guy. “That anyone else can hear the voices in my paintings and appreciate them for the story they tell is an uplifting experience for me.”

Prayer request

Br. Clay Diaz, SCJ, will have cataract surgery on his right eye on Thursday. Please keep him in prayer.

International travels

Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, will be out of the office for a visit to the Indonesian Province February 22 through March 5. The US and Indonesian Provinces have had a collaborative relationship for many years; currently three Indonesian SCJs are in community and ministry in the US: Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, Fr. Christianus Hendrik and Fr. Vincent Suparman. Indonesian Dehonians also serve in the Canadian Region.

“I will be in Indonesia to strengthen the partnership between our two provinces,” said Fr. Vien. “I ask for your prayers as the Provincial Council and I seek partnerships with other SCJ entities and religious communities to strengthen our Dehonian presence in the United States. Fostering a trusting relationship and open line of communication with entity superiors is crucial to knowing and helping the brothers we welcome.”

You are invited!

The Priests of the Sacred Heart in the US Province aren’t the only ones celebrating a centennial this year. In May, the Poor Handmaids are hosting a 100th anniversary celebration of Ancilla Domini Chapel in Donaldson, IN. Just down the road from the province’s Divine Heart Seminary (the minor seminary closed in the early 1970s), the sisters’ community has a strong connection to the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

All SCJs, former students, and friends of the community are welcome to join the sisters at the celebration May 20-21. May 20 will be a lunch, afternoon Mass and a dinner. The evening will be devoted to fellowship and “night owl” prayers for those who would like to take part. On Sunday, there will be a Mass, luncheon, an “Old Fashioned Ancilla Bazaar,” tours of the property, and storytelling.

Rooms are available at the Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center ($85 double/$68 single). If you are interested in taking part, or simply want more information, email Donaldson2023@yahoo.com or call Mark Wolf (920-988-9005) or Keith George (630-327-3721). If you are thinking of attending, please contact organizers by February 28 so that they can get a sense of numbers for organizing purposes.

Happy birthday!

It was a weekend of birthday celebrations for SCJs. On Friday, the Sacred Heart Monastery Community celebrated Fr. Duy Nguyen’s birthday (left), and in Houston the community celebrated Fr. Quang Nguyen’s birthday (right). Other SCJ birthdays over the weekend included Fr. Henry Nguyen (Saturday) and Fr. Greg Murray of the Canadian Region (Sunday). Fr. Mark Mastin’s birthday is on Wednesday, Feb. 21 and Fr. Peter Sanders is on Feb. 28. Blessings to all of those celebrating birthdays in February!

Vocation visits at OLG

In his new role as province vocation director, Fr. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, is spending a few days at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston. Yesterday (February 19), Fr. Henry celebrated Mass at the parish for the first time, taking part in the institution of seven new alter servers. On Tuesday, he will visit with all of the classes at OLG school, talking about vocations in general and the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians).

Fr. Henry returned from Vietnam last week, where he took part in funeral services for his grandmother and celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at his father’s home parish. “Many relatives, as well as SCJ priests and students, were in attendance at the Mass,” said Fr. Henry. Fr. Henry’s parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam before Fr. Henry was born.

Click here to view photos from the Mass on the Vietnamese District’s website.

Click here to view photos from the Mass at the Vietnamese Novitiate, also on the district website. Our thanks to the Vietnamese communication team for its photos!

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