Weekly News: July 13, 2020

Dehonian seminar moves from Cameroon to the internet

Saturday, July 11, was the opening the Dehonian International Theological Seminar “Sint Unum: Challenges and Perspectives Today”. Originally, the gathering of the continental theological commissions was to have taken place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but COVID–19 turned the international gathering into an online conference.

“The General Government told us not to simply cancel the seminar, but to ‘find new a way of coming together,'” said Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ, director of the Centro Studi Dehoniani, in his introduction.

“Connected together – all 23 of us, each in our own room or office – met at 3:00 p.m. Rome time, which meant 8:00 a.m. Milwaukee time,” said Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, chairperson of the North American Theological Commission. “Fr. General opened the seminar with a brief consideration of why he suggested the topic of ‘Sint Unum’. He wanted the seminar to throw some light on these ‘worrying nationalisms, racial and religious issues, tribalism, ethnicism, racism, caste systems, etc., that affect (and hurt) our communities and new generations.’”

The online conference

The first conference was presented by Prof. Augustin Germain Messomo Ateba, the dean of the Catholic University of Yaoundé.  His topic: “Sin and Our Social Relationships Today.” He began with a biblical-theological approach to the concept of sin, characterized by human conscience and freedom, and its consequences for human relationships. “The faults and sins of this world have their deep source in the deviations from the faith and hope that we put in man and the meaning that we give to human brotherhood,” he said.

After the presentations, continental commissions are to meet virtually to discuss what they heard and to later share feedback with the rest of the participants.

“It is our hope that by using this technique we can enter into a good discussion and, in the end, arrive at a concluding statement,” said Fr. John. “It is all a fairly new way of meeting, but as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.”

The seminar includes representatives from the five continents in which Dehonians are located. Members of the North American Theological Commission are pictured at the top of the page: Fr. Gustave Lulendo (Canada), Fr. John van den Hengel (Canada), Fr. Ziggy Morawiec (USA), and Fr. Charles Brown (USA). They were scheduled to deliver their presentation today (July 13).

The new general communications committee is working with others to post information about the seminar on the DehoniansWorldwide Facebook page and on the general website. Click here to access the seminar’s direct link on the website.

Click on the image below to view an interview with Fr. Artur Sanecki, SCJ, a member of the General Council and President of the International Dehonian Theological Commission. He speaks about the seminar, which runs through July 19.


Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ, transfers to the Mississippi community in Nesbit as of July 14.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Bob Tucker, SCJ, continues his recovery from lung transplant surgery on July 1. Yesterday, for the first time, he was able to breathe for a little while without ventilator support. This is a critical step toward independent breathing. Therapy sessions are working toward movement of his arms and legs and sitting or standing at the bedside for brief moments. Fr. Bob’s lab work is good, there are no infections. “The nurses always pass along our prayers and love to Fr. Bob,” said Mary Balistreri, province director of healthcare.

Please remember

Fr. Ladis Jadowski, a member of the Franco-European Province, died on July 1. He was born in 1959, professed in 1980, and ordained in 1986.

Fr. Miguel Moreno, a member of the Brazil – Sao Paulo Province, died July 8. He was born in 1929, professed in 1952 and ordained in 1957.

Brian McCullough, a former SCJ, died on July 4 at the age of 73. The family asks that memorials be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The Akta Museum is open!

Akta Lakota Museum is open

With enhanced cleaning and other safety measures, the Akta Lakota Museum on the campus of St. Joseph’s Indian School is now open to the public. Click here to read about what is being done to keep visitors and staff safe in the midst of COVID-19.

Did you cash that check?

The staff at the Provincial Treasurer’s Office asks house treasurers and others who receive checks from the province to please cash or deposit them within five days of receipt. This saves staff time in trying to determine whether an uncashed check has been lost or simply not received. Questions? Contact Kevin Stanke at 414-333-8750 or provtreas3@usprovince.org.

Getting to know Dehonians one question at a time

“As I age, I have the sense that our Dehonian identity has much to do with an attitude of loving surrender in the encounter with all that life brings us,” wrote Fr. Jim Casper, SCJ, in his response to the 20 QUESTIONS project (he is pictured above). “I know that our community has an identity among the parishioners of the churches in which we minister, but I find it difficult, as they do, to put that into words. I think being a Dehonian means accepting the life we are given, with the understanding that it is a gift from a God who, as the founder said with Paul, ‘loved me and gave himself for me.” Click here to read the rest of Fr. Jim’s responses.

20 QUESTIONS is an informal Q&A in which SCJs and those with whom they minister and collaborate share a bit about themselves through a list of 20 questions. All receive the same questions and are invited to answer as many as they like. Excerpts from a few other recent responses:

“What would people be surprised to learn about me?” wrote Fr. Chuck Wonch, SCJ. “Probably that I am a ‘second career’ priest with two grown children and five grandchildren, and that I graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering focusing on production and labor efficacy from Jackson State University.  Also, I worked for 15 years in the Electric Transformer industry and 15 years at a nuclear power plant.Read more.

“I was born in Grenville, Québec, on July 19, 1944, and am the tenth of 16 children (one died after three days),” wrote Fr. Richard Woodbury, SCJ. “Both my mother, a Catholic, and my father, an Anglican, were born in Grenville. We were raised in a climate of faith and love, and great respect for each other and for all people around us. As far as I can remember, I always wanted to become a priest, influenced that I was by the parish priest we had in Grenville who was a very holy person, very dedicated and especially attentive to the poor people of the area. Our family was among them. There are many persons whom I admire, but I certainly have a special admiration for someone who has inspired me for years now, that is Mgr. Oscar Romero. He has helped me to understand that the Gospel cannot simply be a book that you read and then put aside, but it has to become a way of life that calls you to deep conversion which leads you to live like Christ did.” Read more.

“I had no idea what the Dehonians were despite driving past Sacred Heart twice a day for 16 years!” wrote Kelly Kornacki, VP of Intercultural Preparation for Ministry at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “It wasn’t until after I began my job that I learned of their charism and all the amazing work they do. Now, I consider myself a Dehonian through my work with international students, helping them to improve their English in order to strengthen their missions. Also, the interculturality of the Dehonians has become a part of my daily life. My bucket list of places to travel continually grows due to students I meet at SHSST. I don’t have a specific person whom I most admire, but as a group it is those who have the courage to stand up for the poor and marginalized, or as my pastor puts it, ‘The lost, the last, the least, and the lonely.’” Read more.

“I love meditation, which came about naturally, and evolving, over the past several years,” wrote Frater Long Nguyen, SCJ. “It is a tool to cope with challenges. It is finding connections with body, mind, spirit and God. I was born on July 15, 1979, in Port Arthur, TX and grew up in Thibodaux, LA. My parents were immigrants from Vietnam. I am content with staying local and content with quiet places to simply walk, sit, think or drink coffee. I am good at being grateful and finding joy in small things. I purchased a Xaphoon earlier in the summer which caused me to rediscover a prior skill. I was in the school band in the fifth grade, playing alto saxophone. During this quarantine, I have found joy in playing music. As a child, I wanted to be a paramedic.” Read more.

Click here to access all of the 20 QUESTIONS responses.

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