Weekly News: June 6, 2016

MS feast day group
SCJs in Mississippi gather for a photo after the Sacred Heart liturgy: Br. Clay Diaz, Fr. Leonard Elder, Fr. Jack Kurps, Fr. Greg Schill, Fr. David Szatkowski, Fr. Thi Pham and Fr. Bob Tucker.

Feast day celebrations

Last Friday SCJs around the province celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart Monastery and the Province Development Office teamed up to host their annual gathering for benefactors, including a presentation on Sacred Heart images by David Schimmel (director of Dehonian Associates), Eucharist and a luncheon. In Mississippi, SCJs hosted a feast-day Mass at Christ the King church in Southaven.

Click here to view more photos from the Sacred Heart Mass at Sacred Heart Monastery / Seminary and School of Theology.

Click here to read Fr. Tom Cassidy’s blog post about celebrating the feast day in the Philippines.

Next step: writing… lots of writing!

Fr. Vien Nguyen
Fr. Vien Nguyen

In May, Fr. Vien Nguyen received his Master’s Degree in Theology and his S.T.L. (Licentiate of Sacred Theology) from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley. He actually completed the comprehensive exams and coursework for the degrees over a year ago; it was a necessary stepping stone toward his doctorate in Biblical Studies. During the past year he did his doctoral coursework, including studies in Hebrew, Greek and German. Fr. Vien is now preparing to write his doctoral dissertation.

During a recent visit to the Provincial Offices Fr. Vien talked about his four years of studies. “It was all leading up to what I am about to undertake,” he said, “writing my dissertation.”

This month he is working on his proposal, which he hopes is approved in the next few weeks. Although he has already started to pull some of his thoughts together, the official writing process begins in September. He anticipates taking 12-18 months to complete his dissertation. The focus of his doctoral work will be about people on the fringes of society, how people are separated by ethnicity, gender and space. Much of his reflection will be based in the Gospel of Luke.

Fr. Vien will remain in Berkeley while writing his dissertation. “I miss being with the community but it makes sense for me to stay there until I complete the writing,” he said. “The resources that I need are there.”


"It was all grace!" said Frater James Nguyen about the youth retreat that he and seminarian Henry Nguyen helped lead in Toronto.
“It was all grace!” said Frater James Nguyen about the youth retreat that he and seminarian Henry Nguyen helped lead in Toronto.

“It was all grace!”

Frater James Nguyen and candidate Henry Nguyen were in Toronto in late May to take part in the annual youth and young adult retreat with the Indonesian Catholic community of Toronto.

“We laughed, cried, prayed, played and ate together,” wrote James. “The place we stayed at, The Valley of the Mother of God in Orangeville, ON, belongs to our Coptic Orthodox sisters and brothers.  It began a dialogue of what it means to be a young Catholic today having friends who are not of the same religion or church…

“I am grateful to our confreres in Toronto who always graciously show me what it means to be hospitable and pastoral. I had a wonderful weekend with an awesome group of people. In the end it was all grace!”

Click here to read reflections by James and Henry, as well as see more photos from the retreat.

45 years later…

Mary Jane (center) after being honored at a school assembly
Mary Jane (center) after being honored at a school assembly

When she came to St. Joseph’s Indian School 45 years ago, Mary Jane Alexander didn’t even have a teaching certificate. She saw a magazine advertisement for the school and decided to apply.

“I wanted to work with children and was particularly interested in the fact that it was a school for Native Americans,” she said.

Two weeks after she sent back the one-page application and a photo she received a call from Fr. Tom Lind.

“You’re hired; when can you come out?” said Fr. Tom.

Mary Jane’s first job was as a teacher’s aid, working with third and fourth grade students. She also helped in the dorms as needed. After a few years as a volunteer, Mary Jane was asked to temporarily fill in for a teacher who had left the school. “I ended up teaching the entire year and continued in the classroom [fourth grade] for several years while taking college courses at Mitchell [Dakota Wesleyan University] in the summer.”

Mary Jane eventually earned her teaching degree and taught fourth grade for 20 years. She later went on to earn her degree in administration and become principal of the school. Since 2003, she had been the alumni liaison.

“Through my work with the SCJs I’ve become a more prayerful, accepting and giving person,” said Mary Jane. “St. Joe’s has given me the opportunity to become a better person than I was 45 years ago, to fulfill my dream of working with children and now adults and families. What I have given to them is in no way what I have gotten from them in return.”

At the end of the school year, Mary Jane retired from St. Joseph’s. Click here to read more about her.

Mission Education 2016

Mission Education will be held Oct 10-11 in northern Mississippi

The organizing group of the 2016 Dehonian Mission Education Conference has been busy! The conference is scheduled for Monday through Tuesday, October 10-11, in Mississippi. The theme of this year’s conference is “Mercy in Mission” incorporating ideas from both the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the recent General Chapter.

Fr. Jack Kurps, one of the conference organizers, writes that the theme will help participants “reflect on the ways that we, inspired by the rich charism of Fr. Leo John Dehon, are agents of God’s mercy as we respond to the needs of those we serve.

“The conference will include a variety of sessions and formats. There will be ample opportunities to pray, learn, reflect and discuss. An experience of the food, music and culture of the area will be included.”

Dehonian Mission Education Conferences are for SCJs and people who work in collaboration with the community. Some scholarship money for transportation is available through the Provincial Treasurer’s Office. Contact Dn. David Nagel for information on how to apply for the scholarships.

Car insurance

Kevin Stanke of the Province Treasurer’s Office notes that the new automobile insurance cards for SCJs are being mailed this week. In most cases, the cards will be sent in a packet to the local superior. SCJs who live outside of a community house will receive their cards individually.

The new insurance card is effective for one year as of June 15. SCJs are asked to keep their old cards until the new ones take effect.

If an SCJ has not received his new insurance card by the end of next week (June 17) he should contact Kevin at 414-427-4270.

Please remember

+Jim Neceda, a Lenox alumnus (1971) who professed temporary vows, died May 26 in Florida.

+George Keenan, another Lenox alum (1972), died on May 30. He was 61.

+Fr. Aloys Maria Huppertz, a member of the German Province, died May 30. He was born in 1915, professed in 1937 and ordained in 1942.

+Fr. Vigilio Uez of the North Italian Province, died May 24. He was born in 1924, professed in 1943 and ordained in 1951.

More video clips available

Mark Peters, JPR director for the US Province, has posted more video clips from the March 30 Panel Discussion on Immigration. They are now grouped by topics, such as the US border, the Middle East refugee crisis, and possibilities for response.  There are also video clips of questions by Fr. Jan de Jong, Fr. Tony Russo and Fr. Jim SchroederClick here to access the videos and other resources on immigration.

Where are they now?

Former SCJ David Jackson is now on the Board of Contributors for the McCallen Monitor in Texas. Click here to read the biographies of David and other contributing opinion piece writers.

Assembly week

Members of the US Province will be gathered in Hales Corners this week for their assembly. The theme: “The Dehonian Charism and the Year of Mercy.” The week kicks off tonight with the celebration of province jubilees. Be sure to check the province Facebook page for pictures and news items during the week.