Weekly News: June 1, 2020

Churches reopen in Mississippi

Churches in Mississippi opened this weekend for the celebration of the feast of Pentecost. Safety guidelines – including face masks, distancing protocols, and hand sanitation stations – are in place for parishioners, priests and other ministers. To maintain capacity requirements, parishioners called to reserve space prior to the liturgy they were to attend. Livestreaming continues for those not in attendance. Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, is pictured above, distributing communion.

Parishes in Texas and South Dakota began in-person Masses several weeks earlier.

WHO WAS THAT MASKED VOLUNTEER? Br. Long with our masked students in Mississippi.

Students get to work in summer assignments

Last week, six students in province formation began their summer ministry program at Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Mississippi.

“On Wednesday, we were busy at the food pantry in Walls, helping to distribute goods to our clients,” said Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ. “Due to COVID-19, protocols have changed. Clients call to let us know they are outside. We then pack the boxes to deliver to the client’s cars. Safety is a priority for both SHSM and for those whom we serve. Yesterday (Thursday), we helped to distribute boxes of food at Christ the King parish parking lot. Alongside us were parish staff and volunteers. When the rain came, we just kept moving, learning firsthand the difference that SHSM makes in the lives of the many people who come to seek help.”

Jacob prepares a donation package

“I was incredibly touched by the big hearts of the people here at Sacred Heart Southern Missions,” added Jacob Smith. “My soul is edified by their love for the work they do and their eagerness to serve those caught in poverty and sorrow. I hope to learn much during my service this summer.”

Originally, Frater Henry was to be in Chile, beginning an intercultural year of pastoral ministry and Spanish-immersion. But COVID-19 called for an adjustment to those plans. As he waits for the Chilean border to reopen he starts his pastoral year in Mississippi.

Students in Mississippi include Jonathan Nguyen, Frater Henry Nguyen, Celsus Robert, Frater Hubert Liassidji, Frater John Huan Nguyen and Jacob Smith.

Daily meditations

During the month of June, the US Province Dehonian Associates Office will be sending (via email) daily one-minute mediations titled “Sketching in Nature the Work of the Sacred Heart, Meditations on the Heart of Jesus by Leo John Dehon, SCJ.” The meditations, from the founder’s writings, focus on how the natural world reflects the work of the Heart of Jesus. Everyone who currently receives Dehonian Spirituality and/or the Fridge Notes (weekly news of the US Province) will be AUTOMATICALLY SUBSCRIBED to the June e-blast. The first one went out this morning.

If you do not wish to receive the mailing, you can hit the “unsubscribe” button on the bottom of the “Sketching Nature” email.

Click here to add a subscriber.

Prayers to the Loving Heart of Jesus

To commemorate June, the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Prayers to the Loving Heart of Jesus, a contemporary devotional booklet, is now available in electronic format. The 24-page publication includes an Intercessory Novena to the Heart of Jesus, a Litany of the Heart of Jesus, and a Family Consecration to the Heart of Jesus and features images of the Heart of Jesus that either have been created by Dehonians or are prominently displayed in their chapels and residences around the world. It is produced by the Dehonian Associates Office of the US Province.

Click here to download a high resolution copy (9.3 MB). It can also be utilized online without downloading.

June webinars on Sacred Heart Spirituality

Br. Diego

An international group of religious men and women, including Dehonians from the United States and Argentina and lay persons from Chile, have organized a series of four webinars for June focused on deepening one’s spirituality of the Sacred Heart. They will be held in Spanish.

“We will explore Sacred Heart spirituality in a holistic way with contributions from psychology, anthropology, spirituality and lived experiences,” said Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, one of the series organizers and a co-presenter of two of the sessions. Br. Diego currently serves in Mississippi with Sacred Heart Southern Missions.

“Every day we experience the love that God has for us,” continued Br. Diego. “We want to communicate that love through different expressions, such as music, painting, poetry and contemplation. These webinars offer a place for people to come together to support one another as we focus on a particular aspect of the Sacred Heart.”

The webinars will be approximately one hour and will begin at 7:00 p.m. Central Time (8:00 p.m. in Argentina, 9:00 p.m. in Chile). Anyone with an interest in deepening his or her spirituality of the Heart of Jesus is welcome to take part. Webinar sponsors include the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians), the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, and the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer. As noted above, the language of the webinars will be Spanish.

Click here to learn more, including the Zoom access links.

A sad national milestone

Today, June 1, is being observed by the National Council of Churches, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and many faith-based organizations throughout North America as a National Day of Mourning and Lament for over 100,000 people who have died from Covid-19.

Click here to learn more.


Earlier this month Fr. Bob Tucker, SCJ, went through several days of testing at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL, to determine whether he should be put on a lung transplant list. Fr. Bob has been living with a significant respiratory impairment. He shares the following update:

“First of all I want to thank those who offered prayers and support. I have heard from the Loyola lung transplant team that I have been officially placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) lung transplant list. I am listed for a single lung transplant, preference is right lung, but it could also be the left lung.”

Fr. Bob is with the community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. Please continue to keep him in prayer.

Please remember

Fr. Andrzej Woźniak, a member of the Polish Province, died on May 28. He was born in 1963, professed in 1983 and ordained in 1990.

Fr. Frank (standing, second from right), was celebrated by members of the Houston community, including summer ministry students at OLG: Frater Paul Phong Hoang and Michael Wodarczyk

Moving to Sacred Heart Monastery

Yesterday, May 31, the Dehonian community in Houston held an informal send-off for Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ. After 27 years of ministry in Texas, he is moving to Sacred Heart Monastery in Hales Corners. His new address:

Sacred Heart Monastery
P.O. Box 566 (USPS only; use Franklin street address for packages)
Hales Corners, WI 53130

Personnel Directory updates

Updated PDFs of the North American Personnel Directory are available for download from the Members’ section of the US Province website. Both low and high resolution PDFs are available. The low-resolution PDF is appropriate for smart phones and other mobile devices. The Members section is accessible from the “MEMBERS” link in the red banner at the top of the US Province website. A password is required to access the personnel directory.

Note that the online version of the directory is generally updated as soon as new information is available. Updated PDFs are posted approximately once a month.

Click here to send an update or get assistance in accessing the directory.

New SCJ News available

Click here to download the Summer 2020 issue of the SCJ News. Click here to access the SCJ News archives. The printed edition of the SCJ News will be in the mail in early June.

Fr. John

Honoring those who have died by committing ourselves to peace

“It’s all right to celebrate this day with fireworks and parades and decorating grave sites, but it seems to me that the best way to honor those who have died in wars is to dedicate ourselves to eliminating future wars.” The quote is from Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, during the Memorial Day liturgy at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. Due to social distancing guidelines, the Mass was closed to the public. We posted his words on the province website.

“We at times sing a song that says: ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.’ As we gather for our Eucharist on this Memorial Day, we ask God to help us move those words from our lips to our hearts. We ask God to touch all of our hearts that we may deal more gently with ourselves and with one another. We ask God to guide the citizens of this nation and of all nations, that we would choose leaders who want to negotiate the differences we have rather than resort to threats of war.

“As Priests of the Sacred Heart we say we are prophets of love and servants of reconciliation and we work and pray for the establishment of the reign of the Sacred Heart in souls and societies. That reign of the Sacred Heart certainly entails our living with one another in peace and sharing the good things of the earth which God has given us. We need to pray for the reign of God’s love to come about, but we also need to work, to do what we can to make that a reality.”

Click here to read his full text.

Rome slowly opens

A masked Fr. Steve at St. Peter’s

“After two months of staying at home, the city of Rome has begun to open,” wrote Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general. “As of May 11, we no longer had to carry legal documents allowing us to leave our homes, and a few more businesses, such as book and clothing stores, could open. People are cautious. For my first outing to a doctor’s appointment, there were only two of us riding the bus. Masks are mandatory, and instead of the normal 50 seats, to keep social distance, only nine were available for seating…

“May is normally one of the busiest months for tourism in Rome. On a regular Saturday, the security line for St. Peter’s Basilica has 500-1,000 people or more. This Saturday, the square was basically empty. New protocols required a quick scan of my temperature before I could enter the security line. The pavement was marked with yellow stripes each two meters apart to maintain social distance…

“Within the Generalate we have been able to maintain regular times of prayer, though we are spaced further apart in the chapel. Because all our students are now attending their courses online, the commute to their computer doesn’t take nearly as long as a bus ride to the Pontifical Universities. That allows us a little extra shut-eye, starting our day in chapel at 7:00 a.m. instead of 6:30. Members of the General Administration are also doing more of our work online. Fr. Vincent [a member of the General Council] is still in Indonesia, awaiting the opening of Rome’s airports to foreign citizens. Rather than meeting around the council table, we see each other on our computer screens as we try to attend to the needs of the Congregation in these trying times.”

Click here to read Fr. Steve’s full text.

Also, a belated happy birthday to Fr. Steve! The community in Rome had a bit of fun honoring him yesterday in the dining room where they hung a poster of him dressed as Captain America.

Fr. Steve next to the “Captain America” version of him

June birthdays

Those celebrating birthdays this month include:  Fr. Vincent Suparman and Novice Truc Tran (June 5), Fr. Louis Marie Kayamba Butari (June 6), Fr. Ed Griesemer (June 9), Fr. Roger Phaneuf (June 12), Fr. Yvon Sheehy (June 18), Fr. Nick Brown (June 22), Fr. Paul Tennyson (June 23), Br. Matt Miles and Fr. Francis Vu Tran (June 26), and Fr. J. Claude Bédard (June 28)

Jubilee celebration rescheduled

The Province Jubilee Celebration has been rescheduled to September 18, 2020. Liturgy will be at 4:30 p.m. followed by a reception and dinner at Sacred Heart Monastery. As with all events scheduled during the pandemic, plans may need to be adjusted.

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