Unprecedented impact of winter weather
For Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, the idea of snow in Houston was exciting. “But I had no idea about the consequences of it,” he said. Originally from Brazil, Fr. Rafael is associate pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston, a place rarely touched by sub-zero temperatures and snow. The devasting impact of the unusual weather pattern has since become national news.
Fr. Wojciech Adamczyk, SCJ, OLG pastor, said that SCJs have tried to assist neighbors who were most impacted. “I visited many families; however, our assistance is limited to the distribution of water, batteries and propane.”
On Friday morning, the OLG community learned that the Escuelita, the parish’s school for pre-K 3 and 4, suffered significant damage when pipes burst and the ceiling collapsed. One of the classrooms is pictured above.
The people served by the Catholic Parishes of Northwest Mississippi and Sacred Heart Southern Missions were also impacted by the weather. Olive Branch received a record 10 inches of snow! Most Ash Wednesday liturgies were online, most school activities were cancelled. The mobile food pantry, which has been a lifeline for many families in the midst of the pandemic, was also cancelled.
This week, temperatures are rising back up to their usual southern range.
Putting that degree to work!
In May, 2015, at the age of 81, Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ, completed a master’s degree in Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Many people congratulated him on the effort, but often added “What are you going to do with it?”
Fr. Bernie admits that for a while, the question bothered him. “I had been brought up under the SCJ liberal arts mantra: new knowledge is self-justifying,” he said. “Just knowing more about anything is reason enough to undertake the effort.”
Beginning with the simple desire of wanting to know more about sacred scripture, Fr. Bernie said that he soon found himself “drawn into a thoroughly American utilitarian educational premise: What use is it? What are you going to use it for?”
In 2016, Fr. Bernie found an answer: continuing education classes in scripture for permanent deacons. Previously, the only option for many of the deacons in central South Dakota was to make the 150+ mile drive to the diocesan offices. When Fr. Bernie asked a few deacons if they would be interested in scripture courses closer to home, he heard an eager “yes!” Fr. Bernie held the first course in September, 2016, and he has been going ever since.
“I am really honored to be a part of this class,” said Dn. Chet Cordell, a student in the current series of classes. “In addition to helping my fellow deacons and myself to bring the study of scripture alive for ourselves and for the parishioners, Fr. Bernie has such a sense of inclusion for the role of the deacon and our ministry in the life of the Church in today’s world. Fr. Bernie embraces us as partners in the role of ordained clergy. We thank him for his kindness, his attention to our needs as deacons, and for the knowledge of holy scripture he so diligently prepares for us each month.”
Click here to read more about the deacon continuing education program.
Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, is one of the recent “40 Voices From Around the World for 40 Days” posted by the General Communications Office on its YouTube site and Facebook page. Each day during Lent a superior of one of the districts, regions or provinces shares a brief reflection on Lent. The presentations are done in one of the languages of the entity represented. Click here or on the image above to view Fr. Ed’s message.
Click here to view them all.
Montréal community hosts family during quarantine
The Dehonian community in Montréal is hosting a Ukrainian family for their two-week quarantine; the family (parents and two children) arrived at Maison Dehon on February 14. The family is relocating to Canada due to a work commitment involving the Seminaire du Sacré-Coeur of Pointe-au-Chêne. Anastasia, the mother, works for an agency that promotes Quebec schools to potential international students. In 2019, she was part of the team accompanying a group of students from Ukraine who visited Sacré-Coeur. The school is increasing its outreach to international students, hoping to welcome more in the future.
The quarantine is being done in compliance of governmental health instructions. Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, regional superior, and Fr. Maurice Légaré, SCJ, are the local contacts for the family, assisting with food purchases and other needs during their quarantine.
Finding God in nature
“Working with Native American children at St. Joseph’s Indian School gave me an appreciation for finding God in nature,” writes Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, in yesterday’s Lenten reflection, Preparing for the Resurrection. “The vast majority of Americans live in cities and have, to a certain degree, lost their close ties with the natural world around them. Today’s readings from Genesis and Mark’s Gospel are reminders not only of God’s omnipresence but ways in which we can be renewed through our experience of the natural world.
“Genesis gives us the rainbow, and Mark provides us with the desert. The rainbow is a symbol of God’s first covenant with us, and the desert as a place to contemplate who we are and where we are headed. God made several covenants with His people, but the rainbow is the only covenant that requires no action from humanity. It is God’s promise to us that no matter what, God will not destroy humanity as He almost did through the great flood…
“As we heard on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season calling for a change of heart to turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel. Lent is a time in which we pilgrim people are on our way to the Easter resurrection. And while the rainbow offers us a symbol of trust in God’s fidelity to His people, the desert offers us a means of renewal, the change of heart that Lent is asking from each of us…”
Twice a week during Lent –– each Sunday, and then on either Wednesday or Thursday during the week –– Dehonians reflect on the scripture readings of the day. Click here to read Fr. Tom’s full reflection. A subscription link is at the top of the page if you would like to receive the reflections by email.
Ash Wednesday at SHSST
Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, was the main presenter and homilist at last week’s Ash Wednesday Day of Reflection at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
“Today is a day of prayer and fasting, and marks for us the beginning of Lent,” said Fr. Ed during the morning conference. “I often marvel at how many people are drawn to services on Ash Wednesday. After all, it’s not a holy day of obligation and it falls in the middle of the week. I once discussed this with my old pastor back in Buffalo, NY, who noted how everyone who showed up on Ash Wednesday left with something, no matter their status in or outside the Church. Leaving with a smudge of ashes on the forehead holds deep meaning for many, many people.
“For me, the central meaning of the traditions and practices of Ash Wednesday and Lent have to do with our humanness, our mortality, our weakness, and our fallen-ness.”
Click here to access a PDF of Fr. Ed’s first conference.
Click here to read his Ash Wednesday homily.
Click here to view photos from the day.
What are you giving up?
If you missed it, click here to view the Lenten video put together by the formation community. In it, they ask students and staff at SHSST what they are giving up, or perhaps “taking on” during Lent. The answers include the usual commitment to forgo sweets for six weeks, as well as the pledge to “take on” more prayer.
A virtual visit to Florida
This week, Fr. Ed Kilianski is doing the provincial visitation of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL. Due to the pandemic, the visitation will be done via Zoom.
Next week, Fr. Ed will visit with SCJs in Texas. Following Provincial Council meetings on March 9-10, Fr. Ed will conclude this year’s visitations, meeting with SCJs who were not covered in the community visits.
The North American Migration Committee and the U.S. Province’s Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission invite you to join them in viewing a new documentary featuring Sr. Norma Pimentel this coming Thursday afternoon. Click here or on the image above to view a three-minute trailer. The Thursday showing will be from 4:00 to 5:30 PM CST.
Humanitarian groups have praised this short online film about migrants living in a border tent encampment in Matamoros, Mexico. “Oh Mercy,” directed by and produced by Academy-Award nominated director Robert Bilheimer, features Sr. Norma, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who oversees volunteer efforts at the camp located across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. It is narrated by actress Glenn Close and features music by Bruce Springsteen.
You must register for the free event, click here to do so. For those who would like to discuss the film afterward, the JPR Commission and NAMC have scheduled a one-hour panel discussion via Zoom on Tuesday, March 2, at 7:00 p.m. (CST). To get a link to join that discussion, email Mark Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.