Weekly News: June 22, 2015

Pope Francis greets a refugee during a visit last September to Jesuit Refugee Service Italy's Centro Astalli (Alessia Giuliani/Jesuit Refugee Service)
Pope Francis greets a refugee last year in Italy (Alessia Giuliani/Jesuit Refugee Service)


All people are deserving of respect and justice, and they have a basic right to enjoy, here on earth, the conditions which nourish their intellectual, moral, and spiritual life. They have a right to daily bread for themselves and their family. They have a right, equally and even more so, to humane treatment, to a sufficient degree of education and liberty, and to the opportunity to worship and serve God.

-Fr. Leo John Dehon, The Christian Social Manual


Celebrating and honoring stories of immigration

Saturday, June 20, was World Refugee Day, a day which “we honor the strength and resilience of the more than 50 million people around the world who have fled war, persecution and human rights abuses,” wrote John W. Ashe, president of the United Nations General Assembly.

The North American Committee on Immigration asks that this week SCJs remember in a special way the many displaced peoples of the world.

“At the same time we want to thank our brother SCJs in North America who have shared their own stories of immigration,” said Fr. Richard MacDonald. “So far we received approximately 70 stories from SCJs, plus another 14 from our collaborators in community and ministry…

“In 2013 you [SCJs] asked at the North American Continental Conference for a community response on immigration. With your continued interest and cooperation we are making that happen – together!”

Frater Joseph Vu, SCJ
Frater Joseph Vu, SCJ

Excerpts from several of the stories are now on the US Province website. They include those of Fr. Peter Sanders, Fr. Pat Lloyd, Fr. Jan de Jong, Fr. Steve Pujdak, Fr. Richard MacDonald, Fr. Paul Tennyson, Fr. Johnny Klingler, and that of Frater Joseph Vu, which appears below:

“My parents were part of the ‘boat people’ who were refugees after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. They were part of the last group of refugees because soon after 1985, the surrounding countries near Vietnam started to not accept any more refugees. My parents found their way to Chicago with only the clothes on their backs and it was a huge struggle for them. By the time I was born, my father was working three jobs. My mom took me with her to her day job, which helped make ends meet. As it is told to me, for the first year of my life I only saw my dad on the weekends when my mom would take me because he basically worked nonstop those three jobs. This story humbles me every time I think about it.”

Click here to read the rest of the excerpts.

The committee is compiling the stories into a book that they hope to have completed by the end of the summer.

YOU CAN STILL SHARE YOUR STORY! If you haven’t done so already, you can still submit your own immigration story. Click here to do so.

Questions? Members of the North American Immigration Committee include:

Questions about the project? Contact a member of the committee: Fr. Claude Bédard, Fr. John Czyzynski, Br. Duane Lemke, Fr. Richard MacDonald, Fr. Peter McKenna, Fr. Élie Muzungu Kasongo-Ngoy, Fr. Tony Russo, Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec, Fr. Tony Russo, and Mark Peters.


Speaking of immigrants, we welcome Br. Andy Gancarczyk, who officially becomes a member of the US Province this week. He “emigrated” from the Polish Province last year and is a part of the ministry team at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston.

Update and thanks

On Friday, June 19, Fr. Ed Kilianski had an infected toe removed during a procedure at Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. The procedure went well and he is expected to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow. The infection will be treated with oral antibiotics. Fr. Ed thanks people for their prayers during the past week.

Another thanks

Fr. Mark Fortner says that he wants “to thank all my fellow SCJs for their prayers and other signs of care and concern prior to, during, and since my heart surgery.” He added that recovery is slow, but going well.

Please remember

Former SCJ Eugene “Gene” Frankart, 68, of Fostoria, OH, died on June 9. After leaving the community he served for 20 years at St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota. Condolences can be sent to his sister, Dot Rushworth, at 4633 Woodhaven Dr., Zionsville, IN  46077. Click here to read the online obituary.

Summer in the archives

Frater Justin Krenke will join the province archive staff this summer, working with Fr. Wayne Jenkins.


Video of Fr. General’s first homily

Fr. Heiner Wilmer used English for his first homily as the newly elected superior general of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The occasion was the May 27 Mass of Thanksgiving at the General Chapter. Click on the link above to view the homily in its entirety.

Have you read it yet?

Pope Francis’ encyclical, LAUDATO SI’: ON THE CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME, was released last week. Vatican Radio reports that “At the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question: ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’. The answers he suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles.”

Click here to read the encyclical in English.

Click here to read the Vatican Radio summary of the document.

Corrections and updates

The direct line to the SCJ Community House in Chamberlain is 605-234-3325 or 605-234-3318 (the personnel directory currently lists the development office for St. Joseph’s Indian School).

Also, Fr. Anthony Kluckman notes that his office phone is 605-234-3436; he can be reached at home at 605-234-3325.

Jubilee RSVP

Have you responded to the Province Jubilee Celebration invitation yet? If not, please do so by Wednesday, June 24. You can call 414-427-4261 or email provadm@usprovince.org.

The liturgy will be at 4:30, July 6, followed by a reception and dinner at Sacred Heart Monastery.


Storm damage in Lower Brule
Storm damage in Lower Brule

Storms in South Dakota

An uprooted tree at St. Joe's
An uprooted tree at St. Joe’s

Although “it left a big mess” Fr. Christianus Hendrik reports that the community house and churches ministered to by the Lower Brule Pastoral Team escaped damage during violent storms over the weekend. “Trees fell, but none did damage to the churches or our house.” Unfortunately, many of the SCJs’ neighbors were not as lucky. Several homes suffered extensive damage and in Fort Thompson a parishioner (Wilford Wind) died when his trailer home was destroyed.

St. Joseph’s Indian School was also affected by the storm. Trees were uprooted and the power was out.

“Please keep those affected by the storm in your prayers,” said Fr. Hendrik.

Click here to read more about it.

UPDATE: Just as we hit the “publish” button for the Fridge Notes the electricity went out at the Provincialate Offices in Hales Corners. The South Dakota storm has quickly moved east!


Theo Karvelas, second from right, with fellow St. Martin students on retreat at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in spring.
Theo Karvelas, second from right, with fellow St. Martin students on retreat at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in spring.


Each year St. Martin of Tours School in Franklin, Wis., holds an essay contest in which they challenge eighth graders to write about what they have learned about Fr. Leo John Dehon and how they incorporate his spirituality in their own lives.  Contest winners earn a modest scholarship.

Fr. Yvon Sheehy, pastor of St. Martin’s, shared the winning essay for 2015 by Theo Karvelas. It concludes with the following:

“Fr. Léon Gustav Dehon is a great role model for us all. He gives great examples of many virtues that a good person should have. When his father tried to shy him away from priesthood, he continued on and pushed forward because he felt that God had called him to be a priest. Doing so takes a great amount of courage because any normal person may have just gone with the flow and tried to not stick it out. But not Fr. Leo Dehon. He always did what he thought was right and what he thought God wanted no matter what criticism or possible enemies he may make doing so. I believe that all of us should try and learn a thing or two from Fr. Leo Dehon because I am sure that if we all did the world would be a more open, accepting and joyful place.”