Weekly news: January 10, 2011

Vocation Awareness Week

January 9-15 is National Vocation Awareness Week in the United States.  Many brothers, priests, sisters and others in Church ministry state that it was a simple invitation from another that helped them to begin their vocation journey.

Do you know of someone who might have a call to religious life or ordained ministry?   Contact Vocation Central to learn how you can make the invitation.  The vocation office is also a vital resource of educational materials on the sacraments, prayers, and Church teachings.  Contact the office at 800-609-5559 or vocationcentral@wi.rr.com.

To see a list of publications available from the office click here.

Please Remember

Br. Eventius Albertus Leonardus Benschop, a member of the Flemish Dutch Confederation, died January 9.  He was born in 1923 and ordained in 1945.

A new semester

The Christmas break ended early for some students at the Dehon Formation community in Chicago.  Fraters Fernando Orozco Cardona and Joseph Vu Pham were back in the classroom at Catholic Theological Union on January 3 for the three-week “J-Term.”  Students do an intensive study of one course during the term, doing a semester’s work in just three weeks.

“It is only one class but there is a lot of work,” said Frater Joseph.  “You have to do a whole semester’s work in one month’s time.  That’s the same amount of reading, tests and papers as a regular class but in one fourth of the time.”

Frater Fernando is studying canon law during the J-Term and he says that the course is a pleasant surprise.  “When I registered I thought it would be boring, but it is NOT!” he said.  “Canon law isn’t just about laws and rules but about ministry.  Canon law is very pastoral and helps us to serve people better.”

Somewhere in the heavens Frs. Frank Aresta, Jack Nitzki,  and John O’Connor are smiling.   [All three SCJs served as canon lawyers with the U.S. Province]

Juan Carlo Charum Monzon, Justin Krenke, and Anthony Nguyen return to undergraduate studies in a week.  Justin says that he is “looking forward to philosophy, especially logic and argument.”  He adds that he loves to debate.

And while Anthony had fun with family over the holidays, he said that “sitting around over Christmas break gets old; I’m looking forward to doing some work again.”

The SCJs and candidates aren’t the only ones from the formation community going to school this semester.  Cheryl Plaxico, the community’s cook (more formally known as the “food services director”) is taking a professional course in baking at the Chicago French School of Baking.  Although she graduated from a culinary arts program, Cheryl says that baking has always been a personal favorite and she regretted never taking the time to study it in depth.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Raymondville

Celebrating SCJ ministry in the Rio Grande Valley

On Saturday, January 15, there will be a celebration of the SCJs’ 42 years of ministry in Willacy and Hidalgo Counties in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  ”The people want to say thanks to the SCJs even though they wish we could continue ministry into the future,” wrote Fr. Richard MacDonald, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Raymondville.  The celebration will take place at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at OLG.  Fr. Tom Cassidy, provincial superior, will be among the concelebrants.

The Diocese of Brownsville is scheduled to assume ministry of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as the other Valley parishes for which the SCJs have responsibility, on February 2.

The Priests of the Sacred Heart first came to Willacy County in 1968; Fr. Peter Mastrobuono was the first SCJ to minister in the area.  During their years in the Rio Grande Valley the SCJs served in the communities of Raymondville, San Perlita, Lasara, Hargill, Lyford, Sebastian, and Santa Monica, as well as Brownsville.

Bronze statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego are being placed at OLG, Raymondville, by the people of Willacy County and Hargill to express their appreciation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Death and Dying

Fr. Wayne Jenkins, province archivist, and Dn. Mark Filips, a seminarian at Sacred Heart School of Theology, will be two of the panelists at a presentation titled “Death and Dying: Ritual, Practice and Belief,” sponsored by the Catholic–Jewish Conference of Milwaukee.

The panel discussion will take place Sunday, January 23 from 2 – 4:30 p.m. at Lumen Christi Parish, 2700 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, Wis.

The discussion will focus on Catholic and Jewish attitudes, beliefs and practices related to death and dying. 

Calendar updates

January 11-12:  Provincial Council meeting
January 15:  Celebration of SCJ ministry in the Rio Grande Valley (OLG Raymondville)
February 17-18:  Provincial Council meeting
March 29-30:  Provincial Council meeting
May 9-11:  Provincial Council meeting (budgets)
May 23-24:  North American councils meeting (Chicago)
Week of July 11:  Province Assembly, Hales Corners, Wis.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Tom Cassidy has council meetings January 11-12.  January 14-18 he will be in the Rio Grande Valley (as noted above, the celebration of the SCJs’ presence in Willacy County takes place on January 15).  January 23-27 he will be in Tucson for the CMSM retreat and conference, and on January 27 he goes to Rome to attend Fr. David Szatkowski’s doctoral defense.