Weekly News: June 27, 2022

“Often, we face challenges in ministry, in community or in our personal lives.  We must thank God for the blessings God has given us. We also must be grateful for the journey God has taken us on during our lives. We must even thank God for the opportunity to suffer. Each moment has led us closer to Jesus and our desire for intimacy with the Heart of Christ. Without gratitude, we will be stuck, unable to move toward the great things God has in store for us. Once we get to a place of thanksgiving we can live enthusiastically in the present and look forward to what is to come in this life and the next.”

-Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ

Fr. Ed Kilianski, former provincial superior, dies

Fr. Ed

Yesterday, June 26, Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, former provincial superior of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, died. He was 67.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Fr. Ed was elected to his first term as provincial superior in 2015. He professed vows in 1975 and was ordained in 1983. Fr. Ed said that he felt called to the priesthood for as long as he could remember.

There is an often-told story of him as a child when he let his parents know that not only did he want to be a priest, but perhaps he was pope material as well.

“When I was seven years old Pope John XXIII died and on the radio they said that he wanted to be a priest when he was 11 years old,” said Fr. Ed.  “I said to my mom and dad that, ‘I’m only seven and I want to be a priest, does that mean that someday I’ll be the pope?’

“They laughed as everyone does when I tell the story but somehow, I knew that one day I would be a priest.”

Fr. Ed served in vocation ministry, as province justice and peace director and in parochial ministry. Before his election as provincial superior, he was the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston. Fr. Ed succeeded Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, in a special election held following Fr. Steve’s own election as a member of the General Council in Rome.

During Fr. Ed’s two terms as provincial superior, he suffered from a number of health complications; at the end of 2021 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

He is pictured at the top of the page with Frater Paul (Phong) Hoang, SCJ, and Dn. Henry Nguyen, SCJ following their first profession of vows. Fr. Ed often said that being a part of an SCJ’s advancement through formation was one of his favorite parts of being provincial superior.

Funeral arrangements for Fr. Ed are pending.

CLICK HERE to read more on the province website.

CLICK HERE to read a letter of condolence from the Superior General, Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú, SCJ.

Also, please remember…

Vincent Russo, the brother of Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ, died on June 18; he was 76. Click here to read the obituary.

Reflections for the Feast of the Sacred Heart

What do you think of when you hear the word HEART?” asks Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, in his video reflection for the feast of the Sacred Heart. “In the Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a symbol of God’s love for us, and so the feast of the Sacred Heart is a celebration of a love story… how are WE going to tell OUR part of this love story?”

CLICK HERE or on the image above to view Fr. Vien’s one-minute video message.

Besides the video message above, Fr. Vien also sent feast-day greetings to SCJs, and coworkers and other collaborators:

“We, the Priests of the Sacred Heart, are grateful for your participation in our mission of spreading the devotion and love of the Sacred Heart in souls and societies and of responding to God’s infinite love by being attentive – with open hearts – to the pain and sorrow of others,” wrote Fr. Vien to those who join the SCJs in prayer and ministry. “As we celebrate this patronal feast, we are reminded that our love for God in the Sacred Heart unites us with Jesus and one another and enables us to return love with love.”

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to coworkers and collaborators.

In his letter to members of the community, Fr. Vien shared the responses of several students from SCJ schools to the question: “What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Sacred Heart?’”

“When I hear the words ‘Sacred Heart,’ I think of Jesus and His heart of kindness which He wants every person in the world to have,” wrote Sydney Nathan, who recently graduated from Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS. “I go to a school named Sacred Heart, where I learn to practice three things: knowledge, respect, and integrity. Jesus helped the less fortunate, knew how to solve each problem before him, and treated all, even those who hated him, with kindness and respect. At school, we learn to stay true to ourselves and others, help others with work or feelings, and be kind to each other, just like Jesus. I’m at the end of my time here at Sacred Heart. When I move to high school, I’ll remember these three things and have a heart like Jesus.”

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to SCJs.

Fr. Carlos

Message from the General Administration

In his 2022 letter for the Feast of the Sacred Heart Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, wrote about the need to not only exercise to maintain physical health, but to also “train” our hearts to be in good spiritual shape.

“Prayer, just like healthy exercise, weakens arrogance and strengthens trusting abandon,” writes Fr. Carlos. “In prayer the disciple prepares himself in the most disarming way possible for what the Father wishes to happen in his life, in his community and in everything he does. Nothing else! For this reason, when we stop to contemplate the Heart of the Savior, we are invited to celebrate his life forged in weakness and in the renunciation of any other power than that of being son, brother and servant of all. It is in Him that we recognize the genuine model of availability in love, without conditions, at the service of the Kingdom.”

CLICK HERE to read Fr. General’s letter in full.

Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Province Development Office and Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake hosted a feast-day Mass in the Good Shepherd Chapel at SHML. Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, was the main celebrant and homilist.

“One of the greatest joys that a person can experience is to know that they are loved in return by the one they love,” said Fr. John in his homily. “And one of the greatest sorrows is to know that the love they have for another is not returned.  That is true for us human beings and it is true for God as well.  To me that truth helps us to understand true devotion to the Sacred Heart.  When I was a seminarian studying theology I learned that God is a perfect being, complete in God’s Self, that God doesn’t need anything and is not affected by anything, that God does not change.   But as I reflected on the scriptures, I saw that the God presented there does feel things and is affected by the actions of the persons God created, by us.  Furthermore, that is why Jesus became one of us so we could better understand God’s love for us and be moved to return that love…

“The best way we can continue to honor the heart of Christ and practice devotion to the Sacred Heart is to live what it really means to make reparation.  We ask God to help us keep our hearts open to welcome the Holy Spirit who awakens us to God’s love for us as we see it in Jesus so that we can be moved to return that love.”

CLICK HERE to read Fr. John’s full homily.

Bishop Kopacz joins in Mississippi celebrations

Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson joined SCJs, Dehonian Associates and other members of the Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ family at the Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart at Christ the King Church in Southaven, MS. During the celebration, SCJs and lay associates renewed their commitments. The bishop is pictured above with SCJs and associates.

Frs. Carlos and Steve with the Canadian administration

Canadian visitation

Following their visitation of the US Province, Frs. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú and Stephen Huffstetter headed north for a visitation of the Canadian Region May 26 to June 5. They visited each of the three communities, as well as Sacred Heart Seminary in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge (formerly Pointe-au-Chêne), which is now housing Ukrainian refugees in the section once used as a boarding school. Frs. Carlos and Steve were also able to join the community at funeral services for Fr. Claude Bédard, SCJ.

CLICK HERE to read more on the congregational website.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in July include: Fr. Bill Marrevee on July 5, Fr. Johanes Yuliwan Maslim and Frater 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!!

Happy Independence Day!

Of course, also celebrating a birthday in July is the United States of America on July 4. The Provincial Offices will be closed next Monday for the holiday and there will be no Fridge Notes. The next Fridge Notes will be published on July 11.

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