Ash Wednesday, March 2
“With ashes today, the priest traces on my forehead the sign of penitence and the sign of death. What am I? Dust and ashes. I am but nothingness; however, I will go to God and I will go with humility. I will go with the awareness of my weakness, but confident anyway, because God is good, because the Son of God took on a Heart to love me, and he broke this Heart to let flow on my soul the fragrance of his mercy.”
Fr. Leo John Dehon, SCJ, The Year with the Sacred Heart, February 20
SCJs remain with the people of Ukraine
“We do not want to leave our parishioners,” said Fr. Tadeusz Wołos, SCJ, of the Dehonian community in Ukraine. “We do not want to leave our parishioners without pastoral assistance. We will stay with them until the end of this matter. We remain open to welcome people, providing them places to sleep, necessary food, some financial help, etc.
“People are scared but well organized. They would rather stay in their houses than escape. If not, they would have already escaped out of Kiev. For the moment, people have food and all necessary means to survive.
“Everyone is waiting for it [the war] to end as soon as possible.”
There are currently two SCJs from Poland and one from Moldovia in Irpin, about 12 miles from the center of Kiev. Fr. Andrzej Olejnik, SCJ, one of the parish priests in Irpin, told Dehonians in Poland to “pray for us, pray, pray.”
“We can hear the artillery shelling of Hostomel Airport all the time. I never expected to experience a war as an adult,” he said. “I had already survived the 1992 war in Moldova-Transnistria as a child, but at that time I did not understand what happened. What I know and hear now is terrible for me.”
Last week Pope Francis invited people throughout the world to make March 2, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace.
“I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war,” he said.
Click here to download a PDF of an Adoration Service with a focus on Ukraine prepared by Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, province director Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.
Pictured above are Ukrainian children at a Dehonian parish in Ukraine late last year.
+ Robert Harrison, 62, the husband of Lois Harrison, died rather suddenly of complications from pneumonia on Saturday, February 26. Lois is one of the Dehonian Associates in Mississippi and the coordinator of the Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ volunteer program. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 5.
+ Edward Nitzki, the nephew of deceased SCJ Fr. Jack Nitzki, died February 22. He was the son of Rosemary and Ray Nitzki (Fr. Jack’s brother), who wrote: “Please say a prayer for our family. Our oldest son, Edward, died suddenly last Tuesday morning. He and his wife were in Bolivia visiting her family for their anniversary. They did get to celebrate at dinner in the evening; he died apparently from a blood clot during the night.”
+ Mary Lyn Borsellino, 74, the cousin of Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ, died peacefully Friday, February 25, after a long struggle with chronic medical issues.
+ Fr. Valdir Vicentini, a member of the South Brazilian Province, died February 24. He was born in 1937, professed in 1959 and ordained in 1964.
+ Fr. Emiel Testelmans, a member of the Dutch Region, died on February 22. He was born in 1929, professed in 1951 and was ordained in 1956.
+ Anthony Bruder, a former SCJ (professed in 1953), died on January 26. After leaving the community in 1970, he earned a PhD in Psychology, married and moved to Virginia Beach, VA, and joined the faculty of Norfolk State University. He also had a counseling practice in the Norfolk area. Click here to read his full obituary.
Keep in prayer
Ann Walters, the mother of Fr. Jim Walters, injured her right pelvic bone in a fall and will need to remain bedridden.
Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, has been approved for ordination to the diaconate. The ceremony will take place on May 7 at 2:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology / Sacred Heart Monastery. Bishop Joseph Potocnak, SCJ, will be the ordaining bishop. Invitations will go out soon.
First, happy birthday to Fr. Peter Sanders, SCJ, in Ottawa who celebrates his 82nd birthday today. Those who have birthdays in March include the following SCJs: Fr. Joe Dean and Fr. Ziggy Morawiec on March 3, Fr. Jim Brackin on March 4, Fr. Joseph Mukuna on March 5, Novice Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong on March 7, Fr. Terry Langley on March 12, Novice Michael Wodarczyk on March 13, Fr. Patrick Lloyd on March 17, Fr. Richard MacDonald 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!!
Meeting those who support St. Joseph’s
One of the tasks of the chaplain of St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota is to meet with benefactors to answer questions, discuss the work of the ministry, and to give thanks for those who partner with the Priests of the Sacred Heart. From February 12-13, Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, took part in his first donor luncheon since being named chaplain last year. It was in Fort Myers, FL; 170 people, split between two luncheons, took part.
“I really enjoyed meeting the benefactors,” said Fr. Greg. “I think it means a great deal to them and to us when representatives from St. Joseph’s come to meet them in person.”
Fr. Greg is pictured above during the January Assembly shortly after he was elected to Provincial Council.
Reminder: Lent and Easter reflections
As noted previously, the Dehonian Associates Committee will be sending – via email – reflections from SCJs, lay Dehonians and co-workers throughout the Lent and Easter seasons, beginning with Ash Wednesday, and then on the Sundays of each season.
Everyone on the mailing list for the Fridge Notes will be included on the mailing list for the Lent and Easter reflections. We welcome you to invite others to the list. Click here to do so.
Bishop Donald E DeGrood of Sioux Falls recently visited the parish community at the SCJs’ St. Joseph parish in Fort Thompson, SD, for Confirmation. Eight candidates were confirmed. Those in attendance included members of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team, including Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, Dn. Steve McLaughlin, and Sr. Deb Nelson, along and with Sr. Charles Palm, who recently retired from ministry in Fort Thompson. Also taking part in the ceremony were two diocesan seminarians. The bishop, pastoral team members and newly confirmed are pictured below.