“The Heart of Jesus, the love of Jesus, is the whole of the Gospel. Jesus teaches his apostles the prayer of his Heart, the Our Father, which will be our prayer until the end of the world. He recommends abandonment to them, which is the trust of a loving heart: ‘Do not be anxious,’ he tells them, ‘your Father loves you; he will always care for you.’ Pray to him and you will be heard.”
Fr. Leo John Dehon, SCJ, Studies on the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Happy Feast Day!
Friday, June 19, is feast of the Sacred Heart. Although Sacred Heart Monastery will not be hosting its annual public feast-day Mass, members of the community at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, including faculty and staff, will be sharing a Mass together on Friday. Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, president-rector, will be the main celebrant.
The SCJ community in Mississippi is hosting its annual feast-day Mass at Christ the King Church in Southaven. Seating is limited due to social distancing requirements and is by reservation only. On the feast day, Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, will receive the vow renewals of Frater Henry Nguyen, SCJ, and Hubert Liassidji, SCJ, who are doing summer ministry with Sacred Heart Southern Missions.
The two SCJ communities at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake will join for a feast-day Mass; Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, will preside. Other local communities will gather for small, feast-day celebrations. In Canada, Dehonians in Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal will have a Holy Hour together via Zoom.
Feast-day reflections from the General Council
“The solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus comes preceded by months that have left a cluster of suffering, worries and uncertainty,” writes Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, in the general administration’s letter for feast of the Sacred Heart. “In communities and families this unexpected period has allowed us more personal time to pray, think and become more aware of the weaknesses and strengths of our time. This was also done by Fr. Dehon during his prolonged confinement during World War I and throughout his life. For this reason ‘he was aware of social evils; he had carefully studied their human causes, both individual and social’ (Cst 4). His testimony urges us not to stay on the surface of events and, even less, to remain indifferent.
“All of us have given more thought to the adversities that harm life, be it this pandemic that we are now experiencing or so many other situations with which we have unfortunately grown familiar (hunger, racism, violence, the drama of those who are forced to emigrate, and a long list of others). We have to react. Not doing so would be inhumane and it would not be Christian: ‘Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded,’ wrote Pope Francis. There is no doubt: our world still needs love and reparation.”
Dehonian Espirit de Coeur
Mike Shuler, an alumnus of the former Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary (Lenox), will become coordinator of the Dehonian Espirit de Coeur following David Schimmel’s retirement in October. David will work with him during the next few months to prepare for the transition. This is a volunteer position that focuses on maintaining contact among the alumni of SCJ seminaries.
Celebrating the life of George Floyd
Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, and Frater Paul Hoang, SCJ, were among the clergy and religious who took part in the George Floyd Candlelight Vigil last week at Jack Yates High School in Houston. Floyd was an alumnus of the school.
“As Dehonians, we are called to be present in these moments, sharing our fraternity and solidarity,” said Fr. Rafael, who is an associate pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston. Frater Paul is an SCJ seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology doing summer ministry at OLG.
SCJ publishes book
The digital edition of Acompañar, Arte o tarea del corazón: Una propuesta de cómo acompañar en el camino (Accompanying: art or task of the heart: a proposal of how to accompany along the path), written by Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, is now available from Amazon. It is written in Spanish.
Br. Diego says that the book takes a holistic approach to spiritual direction and pastoral counseling using references to current practices integrated with Sacred Heart spirituality. Though it is intended for those who do spiritual direction, “it can be a good resource for anyone seeking personal growth,” he said.
He emphasized that accompaniment is a call to listen, a ministry to listen. Br. Diego was inspired to write the book by listening to others, hearing their stories. It developed while he was in Hales Corners, studying at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “It is filled with ‘Wisconsin wind,’” he said, referring to the thoughts and ideas shared with him while he was an ECS student (English and Cultural Studies).
Click here to access the book on Amazon. It is free to download.
+Dr. Charles Fox, a friend to many SCJs, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, died June 11 of a massive heart attack. He had visited Sacred Heart Monastery several times. Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, will preside at the funeral.
The visitation will be on Tuesday, June 16, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Harlingen, starting at 9:00 a.m. with a Funeral Mass to follow at 10:00 a.m.
Click here to view the obituary.
A call to action
World Refugee Day, an annual United Nations’ event, is this Saturday, June 20. The 2020 theme is “Every Action Counts.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent anti-racism protests have shown us how desperately we need to fight for a more inclusive and equal world: a world where no one is left behind,” write UN organizers. “It has never been clearer that all of us have a role to play in order to bring about change. Everyone can make a difference. This is at the heart of UNHCR’s World Refugee Day campaign. This year, we aim to remind the world that everyone, including refugees, can contribute to society and Every Action Counts in the effort to create a more just, inclusive, and equal world.”
Click here to access a variety of virtual events hosted by the UN Refugee Agency, including “Global Nomads,” an all-day showing of films in a variety of languages that give a face to the refugee crisis and focus on the stories behind the numbers. Other virtual events include an online exhibition titled “Beyond Differences,” as well as concerts and a Zoom exercise class.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food”
Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ summer food program in northern Mississippi got underway this month with two locations (Walls and Holly Springs). The daily program offers free, nutritious meals and snacks to children 0-18. Many of the children served by SHSM qualify for free or reduced cost lunches during the school year. Programs such as this are critical for families who struggle to provide two or more meals each day during the summer for themselves and their children. COVID-19 has compounded the situation, especially in the case of parents who have seen their wages cut or even lost their jobs.
Previously, the program was a sit-down dinner. This year, to maintain safety procedures, all meals and snacks are prepared to go.
Reminder: Daily meditations posted
“Nothing better represents the work of life and salvation of the Sacred Heart than these springs and rivers which are like the blood and veins of the earth. The grace of the Sacred Heart flows like rivers and carries fertility and life everywhere.” The quotation is from Fr. Leo John Dehon in Studies on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Chapter One. It was today’s meditation from “Sketching in Nature, the Work of the Sacred Heart.”
As noted previously, during the month of June the US Province Dehonian Associates Offices is sending (via email) daily one-minute meditations from the founder’s writings that focus on how the natural world reflects the work of the Heart of Jesus.
The daily reflections are being posted on the US website a week at a time; the full month of reflections will be available the week of June 29. Click here to access them.
Click here to be added to the daily e-blast.
Congratulations to Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, who recently had a review published in the Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology. The bibliographic information and link to the review:
Cuéntame: Narrative in the Ecclesial Present, by Natalia Imperatori-Lee. In Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology, http://repository.usfca.edu/jhlt vol. 22, n. 1 (June 2020).
Travel in the time of COVID-19
India has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Much of the country is under travel restrictions. Br. Thambi Joseph, SCJ, shares some of the challenges he and fellow Dehonians recently faced, trying to get home to Andhra Pradesh. He writes:
“Two days before we started our journey, we learned of the new rules for our fifth lockdown in India. We no longer needed an e-pass to enter our state, but states still had the authority as to whether to accept federal rules. We brought along a copy of the latest rules of the central government, assuming that we would be allowed to enter our destination of Andhra Pradesh.
“At 4:15 a.m. we left our house in Chennai with a car full of luggage. We prayed the rosary together, praying for an easy border crossing from Tamil Nadu. An hour later we reached the border. The officer asked for our e-pass.
“We said nervously “Sir, we don’t have any e-pass.” He asked us where we were going and we told him Andhra Pradesh. After seeing our state ID cards he allowed us to continue. But we only got about 500 meters. At the border of Andhra there was a wall of 15 policemen. We approached them and were told to stop our vehicle along the side of the road. Once again we were asked for our e-pass. We told the officer that we did not have an e-pass because the central government said that they were no longer needed to enter one’s own state. Unfortunately, Andhra Pradesh had not adopted these new rules.
“Although the policemen were very polite with us, we were stuck between the two states. We could not enter Andhra and we could not go back to Tamil Nadu.”
Eventually, the carload of SCJs did make it to their destination. Click here to read the full story on the province blog.