Weekly News: February 25, 2013

A snowy St. Catherine Church in Big Bend, SD. It is one of several parishes ministered to by the Lower Brule Pastoral Team.
A snowy St. Catherine Church in Big Bend, SD. It is one of several parishes ministered to by the Lower Brule Pastoral Team.

Ministry on the Great Plains

Fr. Vincent Suparman, a member of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team, recently wrote a post for the province blog. An excerpt from that reflection:

“One Sunday I was sitting behind the steering wheel on my way home from Big Bend, SD. The wind blew up to beat the band, causing my car to sway. In no time at all I underwent a “Great Plains weather change.” The confidence, pride, and affirmation of being an SCJ missionary were disturbed by unpredictable weather.

Fr. Vincent Suparman
Fr. Vincent Suparman

“Yet, I often find myself in awe of seeing how God’s wonderful works are revealed through my life and ministry. No better word can I say than to be grateful to God for allowing me to grow spiritually here in the prairies and Great Plains. As I am living in the frontier, I have taken for granted listening to what is going on around me. I may be concerned about some issues but I don’t have to swallow whatever I am told. Instead, I need to be more attentive and listen to what information helps me work better.

“In terms of spiritual growth, which is the goal of every human being and of those who are being reshaped by the Holy Spirit, I am often inspired by the farmers, especially here in South Dakota. If the crop doesn’t grow, the farmer is concerned about what goes wrong. Experts study the crops in the fields.  Tests are run.

“When a Christian stops growing, spiritual help is needed.  One of the missionary activities is – I am told – to preach and grow spiritually in order to meet the spiritual needs of the people I serve.”

Click here  to read the rest of Fr. Vincent’s blog post.


Fernando Orozco is leaving the community and returning to his native Colombia. He thanks SCJs for their prayers and support during his time in formation.

Fr. Joseph Dinh has a new email address: jtdscj@gmail.com

Keep in prayer

Fr. Tom Lind had an angioplasty last week in which a small amount of blockage was found. It was cleared without a stint. On Wednesday, he will have hernia operation.

March birthdays

Br. Gabe Kersting turns 91 this month!
Br. Gabe Kersting turns 91 this month!

Those celebrating birthdays in March include Fr. Joe Dean (66) and Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec (48) on March 3, Fr. Jim Brackin (67) on March 4, Fr. Terry Langley (63) on March 12, Frater Joseph Vu (27) on March 13, Fr. Pat Lloyd (71) on March 17, Fr. Richard MacDonald (74) on March 18, Fr. Charles Brown (59) and Fr. Anthony Purwono (39) on March 19, Fr. Frank Wittouck (75) on March 23, Br. Gabe Kersting (91) on March 27 and Fr. Frank Burshnick (76) and Fr. Jim Schroeder (69) on March 30.

Happy birthday!

Meetings, meetings, meetings

A few members of the General Curia are in Hales Corners this week for meetings. Fr. Aquilino Mielgo, general treasurer, and his assistant Aldo Ivaldi, will take part in meetings of the General Finance Commission, and Fr. John van den Hengel, vicar general, will meet with the planning committee for the North American Continental Congress. The congress takes place in Hales Corners September 24-27 following Fr. General’s visitation.


Fr. Leonard Elder (left) and Bishop Joe Potocnak with a parishioner in Holly Springs
Fr. Leonard Elder (left) and Bishop Joe Potocnak with a parishioner in Holly Springs

At home in Mississippi

After a retirement that has seen Bishop Joseph Potocnak move from South Africa to the United States and back again it seems that the bishop has found a home in Mississippi. Since October he has lived and ministered in Holly Springs, Miss., with former classmate Fr. Leonard Elder. Recently, the two were honored by the Knights of Columbus (St. Joseph’s Council, Holly Springs). Fr. Leonard was recognized for his work as chaplain to the council and the bishop was named an Honorary Life Chaplain.

“I enjoy it here,” wrote Bishop Joe to Fr. Tom Cassidy, sending him a news clipping about the Knights of Columbus awards. “It’s a small town where you can talk to people…

“Fr. Lenny and I went to a Kentucky – Ole Miss game at Oxford, Miss… my health is good and I still walk every day, though slowly. Next week I am going to talk to a Methodist women’s group about South Africa; the following month I am going to do the same at the library.

“Take care and God bless from Mississippi!”

Provincial’s time

Fr. Tom Cassidy starts the week in Chicago at 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 European meeting is a continuation of discussions that took place at the European Conference on Secularity in 2011.

Updates from the meeting will be on the Generalate’s website: www.dehon.it/en