Weekly News: June 26, 2023

For Independence Day, a prayer for healing

God the Father, origin of all that is divine, good beyond all that is good, fair beyond all that is fair, in you are calmness, peace and concord.

Heal what divides us from one another and bring us back into the unity of love, bearing some likeness to your divine nature.

Through the embrace of love and the bonds of godly affections, make us one in the Spirit by that peace of yours that makes all things peaceful.

We ask this through the grace, mercy and tenderness of your only begotten Son, Jesus our Lord.


(Prayer attributed to St. Dionysius of Alexandria; reprinted from This Day of God, the Community Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.)

PLEASE NOTE – The Provincial Offices will be closed July 3-4 for the Independence Day holiday. There will be no Fridge Notes next week; the next issue will be Monday, July 10.

Centennial and Chapter reminders

July will be a busy month in the US Province with Centennial celebrations and the Provincial Chapter. A few reminders about both:


The Provincial Chapter begins at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18. All delegates are asked to be in the Provincial Conference Center a few minutes prior to the start. Although the chapter itself may adapt its schedule, most days will go until approximately 4:30 p.m. at the Conference Center (with a midday break for lunch). Mass will be at 5:00 p.m. at Good Shepherd Chapel at SHML, followed by a social and dinner. The chapter is scheduled to conclude by noon on Friday, July 21.

All chapter delegates are responsible for making their own travel and lodging arrangements.


The three province celebrations are as follows:

Sunday, July 16 – Benefactors and SCJ alumni are invited to this celebration. It will take place at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology beginning with Mass of 10:30 a.m. followed by appetizers and lunch. A Commemoration Service will be held at the mausoleum at 2:00 p.m. Cookies, coffee and soft drinks will be available in the SHSST dining room after. The mausoleum service is expected to be about 15 minutes.

Monday, July 17 – This is considered the “Family Celebration.” Joining SCJs will be employees, major superiors of other religious communities in the area, and friends of the community. PLEASE NOTE that SCJs are welcome to invite friends and family. However, we need to know how much food to plan for. If you are inviting guests, please let Mary Gorski know how many ASAP. Click here or call 414-427-4266. Mass on July 17 will be at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology at 4:30 p.m. This will be followed by a social and dinner.

July 30, Lower Brule – The South Dakota community will host a Centennial Celebration at the birthplace of Dehonian ministry in the United States. The day (Sunday, July 30) will begin with a smudging ceremony at 10:00 a.m., followed by a procession to Mass. Bishop Peter Muhich of Rapid City will be the main celebrant and Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ, provincial superior of the German Province, will be the homilist. All SCJs are invited to attend the Lower Brule celebration. HOWEVER, if you plan to do so you are asked to RSVP to Nancy Grzesiak at the Provincial Offices: provadm@usprovince.org, 414-427-4261.

Attendees are responsible for making their own travel and lodging arrangements. Options in South Dakota include the Golden Buffalo in Lower Brule (ask for the Centennial discount), as well as several major hotels in the Chamberlain-Oacoma area including Arrowhead Resort at Cedar ShoreBaymont Inn and Suites OacomaQuality Inn, and AmericaninnFr. Greg Schill, SCJ, notes that there are also several rooms available for SCJs in one of the student homes. These rooms have shared bathrooms. If you would like to reserve one, contact Fr. Greg. If you have any questions regarding the celebration in South Dakota, please contact Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ.

Cookout, July 29, Chamberlain – The South Dakota community is hosting a cookout for SCJs in South Dakota for the July 30 celebration. The BBQ will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 29. If you plan to attend, please contact Fr. Greg Schill.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Centennial.

Continuing the discussions from Madrid, looking ahead

From June 20-21, several members of the North American Theological Commission met in Hales Corners to update the commission’s statutes, review roles (Fr. Joseph Mukuna, SCJ, will now serve in an expanded secretary’s position on the commission; Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, continues as president), reflect on the international Dehonian theological conference “Towards an Economy for All; Inclusive, Sustainable, Just” that took place in Madrid last month, and discuss possibilities for the commission’s future work and focus.

“As with all of the continental theological commissions, the North American group takes direction from the congregation’s international commission,” said Fr. John. “However, each continental commission also tries to address specific issues and needs in the entities its members represent.”

One of those specific needs is to help SCJs, Dehonian Associates and coworkers in North America access materials that are already available, including published articles written by members of the commission. The commission also plans to share more in-depth reflections on topics addressed at the Madrid conference, as well as look at ways in which the commission can collaborate with others to offer spiritual reflections in a Dehonian context. This could include days of recollection and/or spiritual or theological presentations integrated into the larger gatherings of each entity.

SCJ members of the North American Theological Commission: Fr. Charles Brown, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec, Fr. Joseph Mukuna, Fr. Francis Vu Tran, and Fr. John van den Hengel, as well as Fr. Guy Bertrand Wabo and Frater Paul Phong Hoang who are associate members.

The commission’s next in-person meeting is in January, 2023, after the meeting of the International Dehonian Theological Commission.

Mississippi students in Brazil

Students at Dehonian schools in North and South America have been taking part in several student exchange programs, allowing students and staff to get a sense of their counterparts to the north and south. In January, students from São Luiz school in Brusque, Brazil, spent a week at Sacred Heart School in Southaven. This month, students from Sacred Heart are in Brazil. In the southern hemisphere it is autumn, so classes are in session. The students from Mississippi have been taking part in classes (they are popular in the English classes!), doing presentations and connecting with former and future exchange students.

There are over 40 Dehonian schools around the world. In April, students from São Luiz also visited Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur in Pointe-au-Chêne, Quebec. In November, students from Quebec will spend time with their counterparts in Brazil.

SCJ Schools in Collaboration hopes to expand its student exchange program in the years ahead.

July birthdays

Those celebrating birthdays in July include the United States of America on July 4, Fr. Bill Marrevee on July 5, Fr. Johanes Yuliwan Maslim and Fra. Long Nguyen on July 15, Fr. Richard Woodbury and Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo on July 19, Fr. Petrus Murwanto on July 21, Fr. Dominic Peluse on July 22, Fr. Vien Nguyen on July 27, and Fr. Peter McKenna on July 29. Happy birthday!!

Christian and Native American traditions together

St. Joseph’s Indian School has a unique way of incorporating both Christian and Native American traditions into daily activities. Two of these practices are the use of holy water and Lakota smudging. Both traditions have important spiritual significance and are valued in their respective cultures.

Using holy water is a common practice in the Catholic Church, used for blessings and purification. The sprinkling of holy water represents the washing away of sin and the welcoming of the Holy Spirit. The blessed water is a symbol of Christ’s saving grace.

Lakota smudging is a Native American tradition used for spiritual cleansing and connection with the Creator. Smudging involves the burning of sacred herbs such as sage, sweet grass, and cedar to purify a space or a person’s aura and bring back a sense of balance.

Despite being from different cultures, both holy water and Lakota smudging share a belief in the importance of spiritual purification and connection with a higher power. St. Joseph’s recognizes and respects both traditions, and has incorporated them into daily or weekly routines.

CLICK HERE to read more on St. Joseph’s blog.

Feast-day homily available

As we noted last week,  Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson was the presider and homilist at a feast-day Mass at Christ the King Church in Southaven, MS. The celebration was also a commemoration of the Centennial of Dehonian ministry in the United States.

“I stand with the Bishops of Jackson since 1942 when Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow invited the Priests of the Sacred Heart to expand their mission and ministries in the United States to northern Mississippi,” said the bishop. “This was a fortuitous moment in the history of the Diocese of Natchez.  For the past 80 years the SCJs have witnessed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through worship, through education, and through social action on behalf of justice and the common good which is evident in the array of ministries that continue to rebuild God’s kingdom of justice and love.”

CLICK HERE to view the full text.

Closing photo

Pictured below is this year’s First Communion class at St. Martin of Tours in Franklin, WI, with Dn. Chuck and Fr. Andrzej.

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