Weekly News: February 29, 2016

Fr. PJ and students in Asia
Fr. PJ and students in Asia

Renowned Dehon scholar dies

Fr. Paul (“PJ”) McGuire died of a stroke on February 22 in suburban Milwaukee.

Born and raised in Jersey City, NJ, Fr. PJ was 73. He professed his first vows in 1960 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1968.

Immersed in academics most of his life, Fr. PJ earned both a master’s degree and doctorate in theology from Fordham University. His first teaching assignment was at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (1974-76). From there he went on to serve as a professor at the University of Illinois – Champaign (1976-78) and at Seton Hall University in New Jersey (1978-80).

In 1980, he was named pastor of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (now St. Martin of Tours) parish in Franklin, WI. He served there for six years and then headed back to academics. He was a professor and chaplain at Bellarmine College in Louisville, KY, from 1986-89, and a professor from 1989-93 at Mt. Mary College in Milwaukee, WI.

In 1994 he became director of the Dehon Study Center for the US Province. His research on Fr. Leo John Dehon, and translation of many of the founder’s works, benefited the entire congregation. In 2003 he was asked to guide the retreat for members of the XXI General Chapter.

The wake for Fr. PJ is at 7 p.m. this evening (Feb. 29) and the Mass of Christian Burial is at 10 a.m. on March 1. Both will take place Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Franklin, WI.


Fr. Greg Murray’s email address: gmurrayscj551@gmail.com

Ottawa SCJs to sponsor refugee family

Representatives from the SCJ community in Ottawa meet with Karen Mahoney
Representatives from the SCJ community in Ottawa meet with Karen Mahoney

On Friday, several members of the SCJ community in Ottawa met with Karen Mahoney, a parishioner at Resurrection of Our Lord parish (the Ottawa parish is staffed by SCJs). Karen organized the parish’s efforts to sponsor several refugee families in recent years. She met with the Ottawa SCJs to help them learn how the community could also sponsor a family.

“This is a global crisis,” said Fr. John van den Hengel, regional superior of Canada. “We feel that we must do our part to help.”

The local SCJ community agreed to sponsor a four-person family from Syria. They invited the Sunday worship community that gathers at Dehon House in Ottawa to help. “Not necessarily with finances,” said Fr. John to the Sunday group yesterday. “There are many ways that people can help these refugees feel at home in Canada.”

Welcoming immigrants is a natural fit for the Sunday worship group, many of whom are Dutch immigrants, or the children of immigrants. In the 1970s the worship community sponsored two Cambodian refugee families.

Happy birthday!

birthday balloonsThose celebrating birthdays in March include Fr. Joe Dean (69) and Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec (51) on March 3, Fr. Jim Brackin (70) on March 4, Fr. Joseph Mukuna (40) on March 5, Fr. Terry Langley (66) on March 12, Frater Joseph Vu (30) on March 13, Fr. Pat Lloyd (74) and candidate Patrick Skahill (46) on March 17, Fr. Richard MacDonald (77) on March 18, Fr. Charles Brown (62) and Fr. Anthony Purwono (42) on March 19, Fr. Frank Wittouck (78) on March 23, Br. Gabe Kersting (94) on March 27, and Fr. Frank Burshnick (79) and Fr. Jim Schroeder (72) on March 30. Happy birthday!

Please keep in prayer

Fr. Joe Dean is being treated for cellulitis.


Fr. Steve with Sisters of Charity in South America
Fr. Steve with Sisters of Charity in South America

From India to South America

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter and Fr. Heiner Wilmer continue their general visitations, moving from India to South America.

“We have only a half dozen SCJs in Uruguay, missionaries all originally from Italy,” wrote Fr. Steve in a recent journal entry. “Some of our elders have spent up to half a century serving the church in South America. While few in number, the Dehonians have made a significant impact. Besides pastoral work, we have a history of publishing theological books, and Umbrales is a respected national periodical.

“The SCJs serve in the Gruta de Lourdes, a well-known national shrine in Montevideo. Many pilgrims visit each day, and a few joined us for the Mass, which they noticed we were celebrating. On Lourdes’ feast day, with special prayers and devotions, up to 30,000 visitors make pilgrimage to the site. Racks of candles burn in the open air, symbols of people’s hopes and prayers… La Gruta is at the edge of one of the poorer barrios of the city.

“Our neighboring mission, Our Lady of Guadalupe, is in the midst of one of the toughest areas of the city, notorious for narco-trafficking… We also have two schools that serve the educational needs of the barrio. The challenges of running schools in poor neighborhoods are many, as we try to give young people the tools they will need in the future. Money is a constant worry because what the students are able to contribute to their education only meets a fraction of the real costs of running a school.

“Young people constantly hang around Our Lady of Guadalupe church. Perhaps it is a safe haven in an otherwise tough neighborhood. But we also discovered that most bring the laptops that the government supplies to every student, and tap into the parish Wi-Fi. While we made some small talk I wondered what kind of future awaits them. One teen mom nurtured her two-month old baby on the church steps. A heavily tattooed young man had a half dozen deep scars from knife slashes across his arms. I always hope and pray Dehonians can make a positive difference in peoples’ lives, especially for those that have the odds stacked against them.”

Click here to read the rest of his journal entry. Be sure to return to the blog for future journal entries from Fr. Steve.

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Ed Kilianski will be the main celebrant at the Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. PJ McGuire on March 1.

March 6-11 Fr. Ed will be in Pinellas Park, FL, to lead a three-day retreat (the retreat is March 8-10). March 14-15 he takes part in the Local Superiors Meeting in Hales Corners, and March 16 is the Provincial Council meeting. At the end of March he returns to Houston; he will be there March 30 – April 7.