Weekly News: June 3, 2024

Congratulations FATHER Paul!

“Our community – the Dehonians – makes space for people from all different walks of life. Let us not be discouraged by a person, an incident, a thing that hurt or bothered us. The love of Christ and our charism are what unite us. There are still people in the world searching for the Truth, hungry for Christ, and wanting to be loved. Despite our personal human weaknesses, God continues to call us to serve His Church and people… Take courage and cooperate with his grace, respond to his invitation.”

The quote is from Fr. Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, reflecting on his discernment to be a Dehonian priest. He was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston.

Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson, MS, was the ordaining bishop. During Fr. Paul’s words of thanks at the end of the ordination, we learned that he and the bishop first met over a bowl of cereal in the kitchen of the Dehonian community house in Nesbit, MS.

“Who was this guy eating in our kitchen?” thought Fr. Paul when he saw the bishop.  The ministries of Sacred Heart Southern Missions fall within the Diocese of Jackson. When the bishop travels to the northern portion of that diocese, he often stays with the SCJ community, where he regularly starts his day with a bowl of cereal.

When he met the bishop, Fr. Paul was in Mississippi as a student. Years later he would return to serve as a deacon and now as a priest in the diocese of Jackson.

The man in the kitchen would one day travel to Houston to ordain Fr. Paul.

Click here to read more about Fr. Paul and his ordination.

Click here to view photos from the ceremony (some of these are also on the province Facebook page).

Click here to view photos from Fr. Paul’s first Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Lavang parish in Houston (also on the province Facebook page)

And click here or on the image below to view a recording of the livestream of the ordination.

Please remember

+ Rita Margaret Murray, the mother of Fr. Greg Murray, SCJ (Canadian Region), died on May 27 at the age of 100. The funeral takes place today, June 3, at the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in Charlottetown, PE. Click here to view her obituary.

+ John Fortner, the brother of Fr. Mark Fortner, SCJ, died May 28 of a heart attack.  Mass of Christian Burial will be on June 5 at St. John the Baptist Gildehaus, Villa Ridge, MO, with burial in church’s cemetery.

You are invited!

The Canadian Region and US Province are hosting a Dehonian Conference from October 7-10 on the “Dual Threats of Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons,” write conference organizers. “The aim of the conference is, in the spirit of Laudato Sí, to deepen our understanding of these existential threats, promote a transformation of heart and mind, and develop a collaborative Dehonian response.” As a start towards this, you are encouraged to view the brief video above, produced by National Geographic. Click here or on the image to see it.

The conference, to be held at the Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch, MS, will be a mix of videos, presentations, reflective dialogue and prayer. Presenters include Sr. Kathleen Storms, SSND, co-founder of the SSND Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry (now Living Earth Center) in Mankato, MN, and Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, the author of the pastoral letter, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament.”

Click here to read a LETTER from the conference organizing committee.

Click here for the conference INVITATION.

AND click here for a REGISTRATION FORM. Please note, the PDF of the form that was sent to SCJs and others last week did not allow for users to type in registration information. This form has “filable” entry lines for name, address, etc.

Recently published

Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ (pictured above with Fr. Paul Phong Hoang at Saturday’s ordination reception), recently had two book reviews published:

Nguyen, Vien. Review of The Apostle Paul and the Empire: Paul’s Implicit and Explicit Criticism of Rome by Christoph Heilig. Review of Biblical Literature 05/10/24

Nguyen, Vien. Review of Wisdom of Solomon by Mark Giszczak. Homiletics and Pastoral Review June 2024.

“Since the Wisdom of Solomon is canonical in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions but not in the Protestant tradition, and since it has not been given much attention by biblical scholars, this monograph by Giszczak is a welcome contribution to the Wisdom of Solomon studies,” writes Fr. Vien in his review of Wisdom of Solomon. “Its reliability and readability stand out, making it accessible to many readers. Although the commentary is aimed at lay readers and college students, Giszczak maintains critical, scholarly depth. He judiciously pays close attention to historical and literary details to help readers understand the subject more deeply. Under each studied passage, readers will find cross-references to Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Lectionary when applicable. Interspersed throughout the book are sidebars to provide additional historical and theological information to help readers better understand the biblical background and how historians, saints, and church fathers understood and interpreted the specific texts.”

Click here to read the full review online.

Another in a series…

Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, shares another in a series of stories from Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ. This month’s is titled “Little Heros.” Click here or on the image above to view it.

Click here to access all of the videos in the series.

“Make your own opportunities”

On May 24, 17 graduating students were honored at St. Joseph’s Indian School. A 2017 alumna of the school, Danielle Arpan, RN, BSN, gave the commencement address. Arpan attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, taking her final year in Rapid City at SDSU’s College of Nursing’s Native American Nursing Education Center (NANEC). She works at Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC), which serves Native Americans from more than 300 tribes from around the country.

“If there’s not a seat at the table for you, make your own table,” she told the graduates. “If there’s a lack of opportunity, make your own opportunities. If you see a lack of something, fill that empty space with something not only you, but those after you can benefit from. Leave things better than how you found them.”

The school honored Arpan with the Distinguished Alum of the year award. The graduates are pictured below with Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ.

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