Weekly News: January 29, 2024

World Day of Consecrated Life

This Friday, February 2, is World Day of Consecrated Life; the date was chosen by Pope John Paul II to correspond with the Feast of the Presentation. Many parishes will commemorate the day during the February 3-4 liturgies.

“The religious state is a state of perfection, or at least a state striving for perfection,” wrote Fr. Leo John Dehon in the Spiritual Directory. “Our Lord points out the conditions: namely, to leave family and live in chastity, to renounce one’s possessions and live in poverty, and to obey our Lord or his representative.  Our Lord calls those he destines to this state by a special and personal vocation…Religious profession is, therefore, an honor; but it is also a serious act which should be prepared for and reflected upon, because it imposes duties and responsibilities.  To make profession is to consecrate one’s self to God without partition or reserve, and to contract the obligation of following Jesus Christ by the practice of the evangelical counsels.”

Let us pray for those who live the call to Consecrated Life, and for those discerning God’s call to be a religious:

you have provided us
with priests, brothers, and sisters
throughout the history of your Church
to serve the poor,
to preach the Gospel,
and to journey with us
in our celebrations, our successes, and our losses.
Make us sensitive to the call to religious life
in our own hearts
and give us the courage to join you
in your ministry of love.
When we sense the call in others,
may we pray for them,
encourage them, and honor them.
May your kingdom come.
May your will be done.

[Prayer by Br. Ray Kozuch, SCJ]

Fr. Joseph Mukuna

Defense date set!

Please keep Fr. Joseph Mukuna, SCJ, in your prayers. He will do the oral defense of his doctoral dissertation on Wednesday, February 7, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (Central). The title of his dissertation: “Reading the Prologue of John’s Gospel as Midrash with a View to Examining a Local Parting of the Ways.” Fr. Joseph is a member of the Dehonians’ Congolese Province who has done his doctoral studies in the US. He is also a member of the North American Theological Committee.

Anyone is welcome to be present at his defense. It will take place at Loyola’s Cuneo Hall, Rm. 410, or you may attend via Zoom. The Zoom link is https://luc.zoom.us/j/84026657761

For those preparing community budgets…

Kevin Stanke from the Provincial Treasurer’s Office reminds all community budget preparers that the SCJ retirement contribution has gone up from $400 to $500 a month for each active SCJ in the community. If you have questions regarding this, or any budget-prep concern, contact Kevin, Chris Lambert or Dn. David Nagel, SCJ.

February birthdays

Those celebrating birthdays in February include Dn. David Nagel on Feb. 6, Fr. Duy Nguyen on Feb. 17, Fr. Henry Nguyen and Fr. Quang Nguyen on Feb. 18, Fr. Greg Murray on Feb. 19, Fr. Hygin Nlandu Ngaka and Fr. Mark Mastin on Feb. 21, and Fr. Peter Sanders on Feb. 28. Happy birthday!

The power of presence and prayer

As previously noted, Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ, and Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, have been working together to record a variety of stories for inspiration and reflection. They fall under the heading “Bit of Wisdom.” Last week Br. Andy released the fifth video in the series. In it, Fr. Tony shares a story that reminds viewers of the lasting impact of being present and praying for a person in the midst of challenge. Click here or on the image above to view it.

Catholic Schools Week (with an international twist!)

This week is Catholic Schools Week, with the continuing theme “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community.” The theme is a perfect one to describe the continuing exchange experience that unites two of our Dehonian schools: Sacred Heart in Southaven, MS, and São Luiz in Brusque, Brazil. For three weeks in January Brazilian students studied with and simply spent time getting to know their American counterparts at Sacred Heart.

Among the new experiences for the Brazilian students? SNOW! Mississippi’s unusual snowstorm allowed many of the students to see snow for the first time. Back home in Brusque, it is summer, so family and friends were experiencing 90-degree temperatures while the visiting students in Mississippi were throwing snowballs!

After receiving blessings and prayers for safe travels and success in the new school year, the Brazilian students are now headed back home.

This is the second student exchange for the two schools. In June, students from Sacred Heart will once again go to Brusque.

Closing photo

During his years as a general councilor and now vicar general, Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, has traveled to many places around the world in which the Priests of the Sacred Heart minister. He is pictured here during his recent visit to India for the district chapter and a tour of the Dehonian mission in Odisha.

Fr. Steve’s second term on the General Council comes to an end this summer following the General Chapter. Reflecting on what it means to be a Dehonian, he writes:

“Our charism is best expressed as love and reparation. I am grateful for the many blessings that God has given me. I want others to feel that same kind of love but realize there are so many things that make life difficult and get in the way. Reparation acknowledges the sin and suffering in the world. Trusting in God, and working with others in community, we commit ourselves to promote God’s justice, love, and reign in human hearts and societies.”

Click here to subscribe to the weekly news (Fridge Notes) via email