Weekly News: June 17, 2024

The XXV General Chapter begins!

The General Chapter got underway in Rome this past weekend with a lighthearted social on Saturday evening (June 15), and on Sunday, the Opening Mass at the Pontifical French Seminary where Fr. Leo John Dehon studied. During his homily, Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, prayed that “God’s holy breath may hover over the trees and our home in these days. May it hover over each one of us, helping us to understand, as Jesus did with his disciples, explaining his word to them.”

Click here to read Fr. Carlos’ homily (English).

The Chapter includes 77 members, plus support staff. Representing North America are Frs. Vien Nguyen, Jack Kurps and Francis Vu Tran from the US and Frs. Gustave Lulendo and Willyans Prado Rapozo from Canada. Fr. Will was a member of the Planning Committee and will serve as spokesperson for the chapter. His first report has been posted on the general website. Click here to access it.

Visit the general website for news of the chapter, as well as other communication platforms:

General website

News will also be posted on the US Province Facebook page.

The communications team hosts live program on its YouTube channel (live) Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m. Rome time; 2:00 p.m. central (Chicago). Languages vary within each show, depending on the guests.

Pictured above are Frs. Jack Kurps, Stephen Huffstetter, Vien Nguyen and Francis Vu Tran during Saturday evening’s opening social.


Where is the “supreme authority” of the congregation found?

The focus of the June issue of As a Rule is No. 131, which speaks of the “supreme authority” of the congregation. In the day-to-day operations of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, this is found in the Superior General and his council. However, every six years that authority is found in the General Chapter.

“A General Chapter is extraordinary because it brings together members from all over the world, from diverse cultures, world views and experiences of church,” wrote Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general, in his AAR reflection (he is pictured above at the Chapter’s Opening Mass). “This year’s group ranges in age from 36 to 83. Chapters wrestle with the big questions of who we are, how we are doing, and who we want to become. How have we embodied our charism and spirituality? What is the quality of our witness amidst the pressing needs of our world?  The variety of perspectives reminds us that we are interconnected as part of a universal church and congregation, searching to answer these questions together.

“A Chapter looks to the past, evaluates the present, and discerns direction for the future. Then it elects leadership. But the job of fulfilling that vision and carrying it out in the everyday life of the Congregation belongs not only to the Superior General and Council but to every member… The general government responds to concerns and hopes through consultation for appointments and by creating policies to address changing needs. An essential goal is to increase collaboration and promote the spirit of Sint Unum, and of We, the Congregation. Again, that is the task of each and every SCJ.”

Click here to read Fr. Steve’s full reflection as well as that of Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ, who focused on the concept of “synodality.”


Fr. Wojciech  Adamczyk, SCJ, is transferred from the US Province to the Polish Province as of June 17, 2024.

Please remember

+Br. Antoine Touw, a member of the Cameroon Province, died June 14. Originally from the Netherlands, he died in Brussels, Belgium, on the way back to his country of origin for medical tests. He was born in 1937 and professed in 1956.

+Mark Vincent Faris, died on June 13, 2024, at the age of 86.  A former SCJ, he professed vows in 1968.  He was a talented artist and his work continues to be found in many SCJ locations, including three triptychs in the conference room at the Provincialate Offices. A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 21, at 11:00 a.m., at Mark’s former residence: Immanuel Senior Residence, 9800 S Campbell Ave, Evergreen Park IL 60805.  Lunch will follow. His cremains will be interred at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Elwood, IL.

With Deepest Gratitude

Fr. Mark Fortner, SCJ, writes: “On behalf of my entire family, I would like to express our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and support from SCJs and friends in the United States and abroad following the death of my brother, John.  It means a lot to us as we grieve his loss.”

Showered with gratitude

Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, was celebrated last Wednesday (June 12) by Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology faculty, staff and SCJs who held an informal picnic on the seminary patio. Filled with foods and traditions from Fr. Raúl’s Mexican roots, the celebration included the breaking of Cascarones – hollowed out, brightly colored egg shells that are filled with confetti. Fr. Raúl is pictured here receiving one from Kathy Harty, SHSST Research & Education Resources Librarian. Fr. Raúl will complete his term as president-rector this month to take up leadership duties with his religious community, the Society of the Divine Savior – The Salvatorians.

One last commitment…

Before assuming his duties as president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, is in Vietnam through the end of June, working with the combined final vows program of Asia. It includes four Indian SCJs, seven Indonesian SCJs, five Vietnamese SCJs, and one Filipino SCJ. They are pictured above at the house chapel in Ho Chi Minh City.

IHM alum visits 

Mike Shuler, a 1975 graduate of Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, visited Milwaukee with his wife, Sue, on his way home from an Alaskan cruise with fellow classmate John Moran and his wife, Terri.

“Sue and I traveled across the country taking in the views on the way to Milwaukee,” wrote Mike. “I had a really enjoyable time meeting up with Fr. Jim Walters, Fr. Terry Langley, Fr. Yvon Sheehy, Fr. Richard MacDonald, Br. Frank Presto, and Bishop Joe Potocnak. We had lots of great discussions of our time at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Lenox. I also met with Fr. Tony Russo, Fr. Tom Cassidy, and Fr. Bob Bossie. The building and rooms at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake are absolutely beautiful!

“It was the first time that I have been back to the area in over 50 years. My wife and I are deeply grateful for the love shown during our short time in Milwaukee…

“I’m not sure if the SCJs realize how our time with them as teenagers would form us for the rest of our lives.  It’s an amazing feeling knowing my friends from those four  years in the early 1970s. The SCJs built into each of us a sense of love for our brothers. For that alone, they should be proud!”

Mike shared several photos from his visit with IHM classmates and teachers, including the one above of Fr. Jim Walters, Fr. Yvon Sheehy and Fr. Terry Langley.

Bishop speaks at Canadian Sacred Heart celebration

“Every year, all of our members, with few exceptions, gather in Ottawa to celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart,” wrote Fr. Maurice Légaré, SCJ, of the Canadian Region. This year’s gathering started with responses to local community reflections that were a follow-up to last year’s regional chapter. “On Thursday, Bishop Yvan Mathieu, auxiliary bishop of Ottawa-Cornwall, presided the Eucharist. A former professor at St. Paul University, he knew several members of the region who had taught or studied at the university, including our Regional Superior, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, who was one of his students.”

During the event, Fr. Herman Falke, SCJ, was honored by the community. This year Fr. Herman turns 95 (August 31) and will commemorate his 75th anniversary of profession (September 8) and his 70th year of priesthood (September 19).

Schools in Collaboration

Last week, students and teachers from SCJ schools throughout North America were in Mississippi for the Schools in Collaboration summer experience. Among the schools represented this year: Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur (Quebec), Our Lady of Guadalupe (Houston), St. Joseph’s Indian School (South Dakota), Sacred Heart School (Southaven, MS) and Holy Family School (Holly Springs, MS). The photo below was taken after Mass in Walls, MS, where Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, was the main celebrant and Fr. Floribert Bulo Dhelo, SCJ, and Fr. Ari Saputra, SCJ, were concelebrants.

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