Weekly News: July 24, 2023

“Welcoming the Spirit… preparing for our future”

“Wherever the future will lead us we know that the Spirit never ceases to work among us,” said Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, provincial superior, in his opening remarks of the 17th US Provincial Chapter.

“Welcoming the Spirit… preparing for our future,” was the theme of the Chapter, held at the Provincial Conference Center, July 18-21, 2023. Sr. Cathy Bertrand, SSND, was the facilitator.

A Provincial Chapter takes place approximately every six years in preparation for a General Chapter. It is a time to discuss future directions for the province, review proposed modifications to the Provincial Directory (Rule of Life), spend time together in prayer, and to select delegates and alternates to the General Chapter. This year’s Chapter began in a spirit of celebration following the July 16-17 Centennial gatherings at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, and ended in a moment of pause and reflection as members of the province remembered Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ, on the one-year anniversary of his disappearance. On the last morning of the Chapter, business was set aside as Fr. Anthony’s fellow SCJs remembered and celebrated him with cherished stories, going back to the earliest of his seminary days.

Increasingly, Dehonian Spirituality is recognized as a gift to the whole Church, not just to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The impact of Fr. Leo John Dehon’s charism grows in the lives of the many people impacted by it. As a preface to Chapter discussions, facilitated dialogues – first with members of the Dehonian Associates and then with four long-term employees of the province – allowed SCJs to hear firsthand how Dehonian Spirituality is lived beyond the professed members of the community.

On the second day of the Chapter, delegates heard facilitated dialogues from two groups: four SCJs originally from entities outside of the US Province who then came to the United States for long-term ministry, and four SCJs who have spent their entire vowed lives as members of the US Province. [Pictured at the top of the page is the first panel: SCJs Fr. Andrzej Sudol, Fr. Jean Claude Mbassi, Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, and Fr. Rafael Querobin]

There were a few humorous stories of newly arrived SCJs from warmer climates trying to navigate their first Midwestern winter, but there were also stories of great challenge, of an international SCJ’s confusion and sometimes frustration in trying to understand and serve in a culture, and sometimes a ministry, that was foreign to him.

At the end of the two days of dialogues with panelists, in small groups and with the larger assembly, Chapter delegates approved a Direction Statement to address many of the topics raised during the discussions.

On the last full day of the Chapter delegates reviewed the Chapter Finance Committee report, the State of the Province Report, and updates to the Provincial Directory. One of the final orders of business was the election of delegates from the US Province to next year’s General Chapter. Those elected to represent the US Province: Fr. Jack Kurps (1st delegate), Fr. Francis Vu Tran (2nd delegate), Fr. Hendrik Ardianto (1st alternate), and Fr. Quang Nguyen (2nd alternate). Fr. Vien Nguyen, provincial superior, will attend as an ex officio member. The General Chapter will take place in Rome from June 16 through July 5, 2024.

Fr. Quang, Fr. Ardi, Fr. Vien, Fr. Jack and Fr. Francis


Article about the Chapter on the province website (which includes all of the links below)

Photos from the Chapter

Direction Statement approved by Chapter delegates

Fr. Vien Nguyen’s closing homily


SCJ Fraters Jacob Smith, Michael Wodarczyk, Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong and Hung Pham renewed their vows on July 19th. The four students served as tellers at the Chapter. They are pictured above (in the order listed) with Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ.

Click here to view photos.

Please remember

+ Fr. Giacomo Mismetti, a member of the North Italian Province, died on July 17. He was born in 1955, professed in 1975 and ordained in 1981.

+ Fr. Nestor Adolfo Eckert, a member of the South Brazilian Province, died on July 20. He was born in 1952, professed in 1973 and ordained in 1979.

The bishop-elect

A new Dehonian bishop!

On July 19th the Holy Father appointed Fr. Ronilton Souza de Araújo, SCJ, as bishop of the diocese of São Raimundo Nonato, Piauí State, Brazil. He will succeed Bishop Eduardo Zielski.

Fr. Ronilton was born on March 23, 1967, in Ituiutaba, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. A member of the Brazil São Paulo Province (BSP), he made his first vows on February 25, 1995 and was ordained December 7, 2002. After ordination he was assigned to the community in Santa Luzia, state of Maranhão. Later, he was assigned to formation at the São Judas Tadeu Seminary in Terra Boa, State of Paraná.

From 2010-2015, he was superior of the Brazil São Luís District (BSL), and then from  2015-2021, he was superior of the Brazil São Paulo Province. At time of his appointment he was doing parish ministry in the Amazon region.

Centennial celebrations

Last Monday, July 17, was the second of three province Centennial celebrations. As was the previous day’s gathering, Monday’s celebration was at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology / Sacred Heart Monastery. While Sunday’s focus was primarily a moment to say “thanks” to the province’s many benefactors, as well as reconnect with some of our alumni, Monday was the “family” celebration when SCJs gathered with coworkers, collaborators, family, and fellow area religious communities.

During the evening meal several people spoke of their experience of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, including Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ. His reflection was not as a fellow SCJ, but instead, from the perspective of someone who grew up with the community that he would one day join.

“These men knew where the love of Christ needed to be experienced, and they did their best to reflect that. Eucharist on Sunday was intimately tied to acts of love from Monday through Saturday. Eucharist was not about their collar, title, pomp, or circumstance. Eucharist was about loving people in concrete ways, knowing that they needed to be loved all week long.”

“Over the years, I am happy that the Heart of Christ led me to become part of their lives, to wear the hat that they wore. I find challenge and joy in the Dehonian words of love and reconciliation I once heard as a teen: ‘Being a Christian means: here comes everybody.’ God’s love is expansive. Like them, I want to experience the Real Presence of Christ’s love in my life, and feel impelled to reflect it concretely in people’s lives, where they are.”

Click here to read Br. Duane’s full text.

Click here to view photos from the evening.

And now, South Dakota!

Next Sunday, July 30th, the South Dakota community will host a Centennial Celebration at the birthplace of Dehonian ministry in the United States. The day will begin with a smudging ceremony at 10:00 a.m., followed by a procession to Mass. Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ, provincial superior of the German Province, will be the homilist.

SCJs are invited to a BBQ at the community house in Chamberlain on Saturday, July 29; a reminder was sent to North American SCJs this morning via email. If you plan to attend, please let Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, know.

No Fridge Notes next week

There will be no Fridge Notes published next week, July 31. Please check the province Facebook page for photos from the South Dakota celebrations. A reminder, you do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the province’s FB page.

You can also view photos from the celebrations, as well as other province events, on the province photo site. Click here to access it.

The next issue of Fridge Notes will be published on Monday, August 7.

Click here to view previous issues of Fridge Notes on the province website.

Click here to submit news items and photos.

August birthdays

Those celebrating birthdays in August include Fr. Steve Pujdak on Aug. 2, Br. Bernard Taube on Aug. 8, Br. Ray Kozuch on Aug. 22, Br. Frank Presto and Br. Frank Snider on Aug. 28, and Fr. Herman Falke on Aug. 31. Happy birthday!

Jubilee reminder

The Province Jubilee Celebrations will take place on Saturday, August 12. This year’s jubilarians include Fr. Jim Schroeder (60 years), Fr. Guy Blair (50 years), Fr. Francis Vu Tran (25 years) and Fr. Mark Mastin (20 years). Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas celebrates his 10th anniversary. He professed vows in the US Province, but is currently ministering in Ecuador.

The Jubilee Mass will begin at 4:00 p.m. at the main chapel at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology / Sacred Heart Monastery. A social and dinner will follow.

Dehonians are asked to RSVP to 414-425-6910 or by email at provadm@usprovince.org by August 1Click here to download the invitation.

Chapter delegates wear the Centennial shirts donated by benefactor Tim Feeney of Pro Knitwear

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