Weekly News: February 26, 2024

Hello from Cameroon!

Fr. Charles Brown, SCJ, is in Cameroon this month. Last week he wrote from the novitiate house, La Maison du Sacré-Cœur, in Ndoungue: “The conferences that I am giving on the New Testament and our Dehonian life are going very well, such fine young men! It is a true blessing to be working them. I am doing ten conferences (two per day).”

This week, Fr. Charlie will be at the Dehonians’ student house Yaoundé. He is pictured above with the novitiate community.

Ordination scheduled

Congratulations to Dn. Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, whose request for ordination to the priesthood was approved by the Provincial Council last week.  It will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston on June 1. Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson will be the ordaining bishop. More information will be shared as the date draws closer.

Eucharistic worship

The theme of the February issue of As a Rule was “Eucharistic worship.” With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Joe Tyrell, one of the writers for the month, noted that what might seem like just another Hallmark holiday actually shares some themes with Eucharistic worship.

“…While seemingly distinct in their origins and practices, [Valentine’s Day and Eucharistic worship] share underlying themes of love, devotion, and connection,” wrote Joe. “Both occasions provide opportunities for individuals to express and celebrate love in different forms, whether it be spiritual devotion or romantic love…

“In Eucharistic worship, we express our love and devotion to God through prayer, meditation, and adoration of the Eucharist, believing in the presence of Jesus Christ’s love in the Blessed Sacrament. Similarly, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day of expressing love and affection towards significant others, friends, and family members, often through gestures such as giving gifts, writing cards, or spending quality time together. Both occasions emphasize the importance of connection and community. Eucharistic worship is often a communal activity, with believers coming together in churches or chapels to worship and adore the Eucharist as a community of faith. Likewise, Valentine’s Day encourages people to strengthen their bonds with loved ones and express appreciation for their relationships, fostering a sense of unity and connection.

“Finally, both Eucharistic worship and Valentine’s Day inspire reflection and introspection.”

Click here to read Joe’s full reflection, as well as that of Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, in which he reminds us that Eucharistic worship “should continually lead us to serving those on the margins of society and not just those sitting in the pews.  Similarly, we are to encourage and invite those who are part of our Eucharistic celebrations to be collaborators in the same mission.”

March birthdays

Those celebrating birthdays in March include Fr. Joe Dean and Fr. Ziggy Morawiec on March 3, Fr. Jim Brackin on March 4, Fr. Joseph Mukuna on March 5, Frater Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong on March 7, Fr. Terry Langley on March 12, Frater Michael Wodarczyk on March 13, Fr. Pat Lloyd on March 17, Fr. Richard MacDonald and Fr. Vando Marques Gomes on March 18, Fr. Charles Brown on March 19, Fr. Frank Wittouck and Fr. Wojciech Adamczyk on March 23 and Fr. Jim Schroeder on March 30. Happy birthday!

Leadership in Mississippi named

Last week the Provincial Council named Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ, as First Councilor, Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, as treasurer and Fr. Ardi, Fr. Jack and Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, as House Council of the Mississippi community. Fr. David is presently local superior.

Retirement workshop

A retirement workshop is scheduled for March 11-12 at the community house in Pinellas Park, FL. Led by Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick, MM., it will be similar to the previous workshop held for seniors at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. Any SCJ is welcome to attend. For more information, contact Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ.

Retreat for those in active ministry

A reminder that the retreat for SCJs in active ministry takes place May 13-16, 2024. It will start with a social and dinner on Monday evening, May 13, and  end at noon on Thursday, May 16, at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, WI. It will be led by Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, and will focus on the theme of synodality. There will be a morning and an afternoon session each day, along with daily prayer and liturgy. SCJs should RSVP to either Mary Gorski or Fr. Rafael Querobin.

Pictured above are Fr. Duy Nguyen, SCJ, and Fr. Jan deJong, SCJ, visiting during a previous province retreat at the Siena Retreat Center.

JPR newsletter focuses on climate change

Fr. Duy Nguyen, SCJ, province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, has begun to publish a newsletter to focus on issues of concern identified by SCJs in a survey conducted by the office last year. The focus of the first issue is climate change.

“What’s real and not real about climate change?” writes Fr. Duy. “Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, ‘What is truth?’ Like me, if you wish to be informed further, be on a journey towards truth, here are some articles provided by people who are knowledgeable about the subject.”

Among the links that Fr. Duy provides is one to a BBC article titled “What is climate change? A really simple guide,” and an article from National Geographic with “26 facts that bring home the reality of climate change… and four that offer hope.”

The newsletter ends with a “Did you know?” tidbit about what the SCJs are doing as a step toward renewable energy. “Did you know that in 2011, Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake (SHML) stepped towards renewable energy with the installation of a solar water heating system on the roof of the SCJ wing?” The roof holds 16 solar panels that are used to heat six 110 gallon water tanks.

Click here to download the JPR newsletter.

God works in mysterious ways

Though originally from Colombia, Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ, studied and professed vows as a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the US Province. On February 16, he celebrated his fifth anniversary of ordination in a place he didn’t expect to be five years into his priesthood: Ecuador.

His first assignment after ordination was at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston, but as the saying goes, “God writes straight with crooked lines.”

For much of the past five years Fr. Juancho has served in our Dehonian mission in Ecuador.

“Last Friday I was able to celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass for these years of ministry with the people at the parish,” wrote Fr. Juancho. “I have always said that God works in mysterious ways and one of those ways brought me to Ecuador. It has been a challenging experience, but also a rewarding experience. For sure I have learned many things that I did not learn in school.

“I’m grateful to the people here who have helped me to grow in my ministry, to be a good pastor, to be a good shepherd. I cannot believe that five years has passed already since my ordination. It is with joy that I celebrate this gift and call to be a Dehonian ‘prophet of love and servant of reconciliation.’ I’m grateful to the many people who have walked with me on this journey and who have helped me to become the priest and religious that I’m today.”

St. Joseph’s receives top rating

Candid, a leading assessor of nonprofit organizations, recently announced that, for the second year running, 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.  Before 2023, the organization earned the Silver GuideStar Seal of Transparency three years in a row.

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.

20th anniversary celebrated in Southaven

Bishop Joseph Kopacz was the main celebrant at a Mass on February 23 celebrating the 20th anniversary of the dedication of Christ the King church in Southaven, MS.

Speaking to those gathered, Fr. Ardianto Hendrik (“Fr. Ardi”) expressed gratitude to the attendees and leaders of the church for their presence and guidance. He acknowledged the wisdom, compassion, and education of the pastoral staff and thanked them for their inspiration. Fr. Ardi also thanks the members of the parish, both past and present, for their faith and steadfastness, which has formed the foundation of the church family. He extended a special thank you to the team behind the 20th anniversary celebration for their hard work and attention to detail.

“As we reflect on the past 20 years and look forward to the future, let us continue to walk together in faith, in unity and love,” he said. “We’ll walk the road of life together, day by day, with love in our hearts every step of the way.”

The parish itself began as a mission of Sacred Heart Church in Walls; about 20 families gathered in a car auction barn every week for Mass. The first church was built on State Line Road in Southaven and the mission grew into a parish. Twenty years ago, the original church was replaced with the present structure to accommodate the nearly 2,000 families that now make up the parish. Mass and other services are offered in both Spanish and English, reflecting the changing demographics of the area.

Christ the King is a part of a six-parish cluster that is now served by a pastoral team; Fr. Ardi is currently team moderator. The other parishes: Hernando Holy Spirit, Olive Branch Queen of Peace, Senatobia St. Gregory, Robinsonville Good Shepherd and Holly Springs St. Joseph.

Closing pic

While in Taubaté, Brazil, for the celebration the centenary of the Faculdade Dehoniana in mid-February, representatives from Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology met with their counterparts at the Faculdade to discuss possibilities for partnership and collaboration between the two Dehonian schools. Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, and Fr. Levi Dos Anjos Ferreira, SCJ, general councilor, also took part in the meetings. The discussion group is pictured below. Fr. Raúl Gómez Ruiz, SDS, SHSST president-rector is third from the left; next to him is Dr. Paul Monson, SHSST VP of Intellectual Formation and Academic Dean, and fourth from the right is Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ.