Weekly News: January 16, 2023

Remembering the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So often the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., echo the writings of Fr. Leo John Dehon. Both write of forgiveness and reconciliation. The quote above is from Dr. King’s book Strength to Love: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

In The Year with the Sacred Heart, Fr. Leo John Dehon also writes of forgiveness: “The soul in which peace resides knows to forgive an offense, not to raise a hurtful word, let pass a behavior that offends, and sacrifice oneself in silence.  In his family or his community, this soul is an angel of peace, reconciliation, and union.”

The Provincial Offices are closed today for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday. One of the first things on the agenda on Tuesday at the Provincialate: a Zoom visit of the Canadian and US councils, bringing back a tradition that was set aside during the first years of the pandemic.

Getting ready for WYD

Our Dehonian group of young people from northern Mississippi going to World Youth Day in August held their fourth preparatory meeting last week. The gatherings have been a time for spiritual reflection, games, and business (fundraising efforts to help defray costs of the WYD trip to Portugal). Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ, is leading not only the Mississippi group, but all Dehonian youth from the US Province taking part in WYD23. Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, has been assisting with group preparations.

The Dehonians general website has been sharing information about the upcoming WYD, as well as memories from past gatherings. Click here to access the information.

Lenten Hours of Recollection set

During Advent, the province hosted two, online Hours of Recollection. Plans have been finalized for two more reflections during Lent.

The first will be for SCJs on Tuesday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m. (Central). The Zoom link will be sent to SCJs via email.

The second Lenten Hour of Reflection is for employees and other collaborators on Thursday, March 23, also at 10:00 a.m. (Central). Click here for the Zoom link.

Sr. Dianne Bergant will lead both sessions. A Sister of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac, WI, she served on the faculty of Catholic Theological Union from 1978 to 2014, where she had many SCJs as students. Her curriculum vitae is lengthy, including service as President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (2000-2001) and as the Rev. Robert J. Randall Distinguished Professor of Christian Culture, Providence College, Providence, RI (2009-2010).

Bringing God’s Word to Life

Just after the New Year’s holiday, over 70 people from around the country came to Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology to take part in the seminary’s fifth annual Preaching Conference.

“There is a hunger to be a good preacher,” said Dn. Steve Kramer (pictured above). “Every priest and deacon wants to be effective at sharing God’s Word. This conference allows homilists to gain additional skills to bring God’s Word alive.”

Dn. Steve is Director of Homiletics at SHSST, and is recognized nationally as a speaker on preaching, as well as for his columns in The Deacon magazine. He is also the force behind what has become known as a well-regarded national preaching symposium.

The topic for this year’s conference: “ΑΩ, The Beginning and the End: Constructing Effective Introductions and Conclusions to Homilies.” Speakers included Fr. Carl Gregorich on “The Significance of Good Introductions and Conclusions in a Homily,” Fr. Dan Dorau addressing “How to Engage Your Congregation by Starting your Homily Talking About Yourself,” Dcn. Rick Valencia speaking on how to “Bring to Life the Words of the Gospel,” Dcn. Steve Kramer on “Major Characteristics of Effective Introductions and Conclusions,” and the Dehonians’ own Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, whose topic was “Taking Off and Landing: Using Imagery to Help Effectively Fly Our Homilies.”

The annual Preaching Conference is one of several continuing education programs offered by SHSST to help people thrive in their ministries. From June 5-9, the seminary will offer a week-long “New Pastor’s Toolbox.” Click here to learn more.

Mississippi dialogues

Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, shares a few photos from Thursday’s meeting of the North American Migration Committee with the Dehonian community in Mississippi. Fr. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, a member of the committee writes:

“The committee hosted a day of recollection in Mississippi last Thursday that coincided with a meeting of the local liaison (a representative from each local community). The meeting with the local liaison took place on Zoom due to travel. Each representative was asked about the migration issue in their local communities. After the meeting with the local liaison, we had Mass at the Mississippi community house. The focus was on  how we are called to have compassion for migrants and refugees as Jesus was moved with compassion for the lepers. After supper, the community got together with NAMC representatives and spoke about migration concerns;  Fr. Peter McKenna led the discussion.”

We continue to remember, and pray

Next Saturday, January 21, will mark six months since the disappearance of Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ. He was last seen on security footage as he left Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake pre-dawn. Police, in collaboration with a wide variety of investigative organizations, have done in-depth searches of not only Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake and its surrounding property, but the wider area as well. Trained dog teams, scuba divers, drones and sonar have been used multiple times. Information about Fr. Anthony has been shared with authorities across the country. Yet we are still left with the pain and frustration of not knowing what happened to Fr. Anthony, where he may have gone and why. As noted previously, Fr. Anthony suffered from significant memory concerns.

We are grateful for the many, many signs of support. Each day we hear of prayers said for Fr. Anthony.

We continue to live with the unknown, while we also continue to keep Fr. Anthony close to our hearts in prayer.

Together we pray:

Loving God, you call all things into being
and bring order out of chaos.

Help us who are searching for Fr. Anthony
to recognize your will in these difficult times.

Be with Fr. Anthony whom you called to service
and open the hearts of our brothers and sisters
to help us find him.

Grant us also willing hearts to be strong in hope,
that our prayers and thoughts
may guide Fr. Anthony home.

We bring Fr. Anthony to you, Lord,
entrusting him to the mercy of the Heart of Jesus.

If you have any information that you think may be relevant in the search for Fr. Anthony please contact the Franklin Police Department at: 414-425-2522.

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