Weekly News: January 24, 2011

Students from St. Joseph's Indian School pose outside of The Children's Safe Place, a family advocacy center that these and other St. Joe's students recently assisted with a food drive.

Learning generosity close to home

St. Joseph’s Indian School places as much importance on the students’ need to learn about their Native America heritage as they do on learning the traditional “Three Rs.”

“Our staff works daily to help the students understand the importance of their cultural roots,” said Jona Ohm, a member of St. Joe’s staff.  “Through their Lakota Studies class, they have learned about generosity – wacantognaka – one of the four primary Lakota values, along with courage, wisdom and respect.”

Reading about generosity isn’t the same as actually being generous.  Throughout the year St. Joe’s students have the opportunity to put generosity into action.  Recently, student leaders sponsored a campus-wide food drive to provide much needed help for Wiconi Wawokiya, Inc. a domestic violence and child advocacy program on the Crow Creek Reservation.

Known informally as “Project Safe” and the “Children’s Safe Place;” the program keeps a small supply of food on hand to help needy families.  When Project Safe’s shelves were recently close to being empty, St. Joe’s students stepped in to help.  They spoke to their house parents about sharing from their own supplies, as well as with other staff at St. Joe’s.  Soon, the students had enough food to fill the shelves at Wiconi Wawokiya, Inc. “It was a real lesson in wacantognaka, or generosity,” said a St. Joe’s staff member.

Some students at St. Joe’s have benefited from programs offered by Project Safe and the Children’s Safe Place.  The food drive was a special way to give back to the program which has helped so many.

Please keep in prayer

Fr. Johnny Klingler has been diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia, a type of lymphoma.  It is an uncommon blood cancer that affects the marrow, blood and lymph tissue.  It is usually a slow-growing or low-grade chronic disease that is treatable but not curable.  Fr. Klingler said that it was revealed in a blood test that showed an elevated protein value which was affirmed by a bone marrow biopsy.

He will have four treatments within a month’s time of the drug Rituxan and continue such treatment every five months for the next two years.  If all goes as hoped, the cancer will show little growth.  “I am thankful that I will be able to continue with an active and full life,” he said, adding that he asks for prayers.

Please remember

Fr. Fernando Ferreira Pinto, a member of the North Brazilian Province, died January 19.  He was born in 1948, professed in 1977 and ordained in 1978.

Fr. Wilhelmus Johnnes Maria Porre, a member of the Flemish-Dutch Confederation, died January 22.  He was born in 1921, professed in 1941 and ordained in 1948.

SCJ bishop answers the question, “What is a saint?”

Bishop Joseph Potocnak

Bishop Joesph Potocnak had a letter to the editor published in the St. Petersburg Times last week.  The bishop wrote that “I would like to clarify a point in this Associated Press article about the coming beatification of Pope John Paul II.  The last sentence stated: ‘Veneration is the word commonly used to refer to that worship given to saints.’

“’Worship’ is incorrect.  Catholics worship God alone.  Catholics do not worship the saints.  Worship and veneration are not always substitutes for one another.  What we give the saints is reverential respect.  We do not pray to them; rather we ask them to intercede with God for us.

“The saints are our models, much as a benefactor or outstanding citizen or military hero is honored for his or her benefaction or outstanding act on behalf of a group of people or nation.

“The same must be understood about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We do not worship Mary; we venerate her as a model of faith and virtue, and because of her unique role in giving birth to Jesus Christ.

“Incorrect use of ‘worship’ with respect to Catholic practice leads to misunderstanding and ridicule of the Catholic Church and her members.”


Fr. Chuck Wonch has resigned his role as coordinator of Sacred Heart Monastery due to health reasons.  He is assigned to the Villa Maria.

A new community

Fr. Jim Brackin, coordinator of the Villa Maria community, facilitated a meeting last week for members of what will soon be a new SCJ retirement community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.

Although many of the SCJs who are currently members of the Villa Maria retirement community will be a part of the new retirement community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, “the community itself will still be new,” said Fr. Jim Brackin.  Coordinator of Villa Maria, he facilitated a meeting at the Provincial Conference Center last week for members of what will be the new community once the building is complete.

Besides the Villa Maria community, meeting participants included those who will join them in the new development, including Fr. Tom Cassidy, Fr. Tony Russo, Br. Lenny Zaworski and Br. Peter Mankins.  Chairs with the names of SCJs in residence at the Congregational Home were placed in the room to remind SCJs of the wider retirement community that will be based at the new development.

The initial meeting was a time for the group to talk about hopes and expectations for their community.  “It was very helpful,” said Fr. Mike Burke.  “We have to remember that just because things were done one way at Villa Maria isn’t a reason for them to be a certain way in the new community.  All members have to have input into our schedule and other specifics about living together as a community.”


Br. Ray Kozuch, province vocation director, has been named vice president of the Religious Brothers Conference.

SCJ Retreat

The first of several SCJ retreats to be held in different locations around the county will take place November 14-16 in Pinellas Park, Fl. Organized by Fr. Byron Haaland, the theme of the Florida retreat will be “This is how we understand reparation” based on No. 23 of the Rule of Life.

Those interested in joining the Pinellas Park community for the retreat should contact Br. Ben Humpfer.  His e-mail: broben3@juno.com


Fr. Brian Benoit
Email: bryan_scj@hotmail.com

Provincial’s time

Fr. Tom Cassidy had to watch his Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on a television in Arizona.  He is in Tucson for the January 23-27 CMSM retreat and conference.  On January 27 he goes to Rome to attend Fr. David Szatkowski’s doctoral defense.