Weekly News: March 15, 2021

Celebrating Fr. Dehon and Dehonian vocations

Yesterday, March 14, was the 178th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). Communities and ministries throughout the world commemorated the day with celebrations and prayer. Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Houston held special Founder’s Day Masses in both English and Spanish. Click here to view the English (Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, was the main presider, Fr. Richard Johnston, SCJ, was concelebrant) and click here to view the Spanish (Fr. Wojciech Adamczyk, SCJ, was celebrant).

Sacred Heart Monastery also celebrated a special Founder’s Day Mass, followed by a luncheon. The community is pictured above after the celebration. Click here to view more photos on the province Facebook page.

In Pinellas Park, FL, Fr. Pat Lloyd, SCJ, was the main celebrant and homilist at the community’s Founder’s Day liturgy. Concelebrating with him were SCJs Bishop Joe Potocnak, Fr. Tom Lind and Fr. Vincent Suparman, who shared a photo from the Mass (below):

“In such unstable times, what can this anniversary bring us?” wrote Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general, in his letter to the Dehonian family. “It is difficult to answer without stopping to think about what happened in the life and times of Fr. Dehon. He too knew a lot about fatal unforeseen events and adversity. He suffered devastating events, such as the conflict of war that ravaged Europe. He became involved in the tensions of a society that was industrializing and generated a very neglected working class. He faced policies, both in France and in other countries, that created difficulties for the Church’s task, and especially for religious life. He was not unaware of the epidemics that fatally plagued large regions of the world. And if we look closely at his own life, he personally knew more than a few tribulations…

“However, despite everything, he did not lose perspective: ‘Every year has its own portion,’ wrote the founder. ‘One must always know how to say fiat!.’ Far from taking refuge in a resigned fatalism, Fr. Dehon assumed everything that happened was a path of conversion and an abandonment to the will of God. With a disposition that matured by intimacy, prayer, and shared discernment, and with his attentive gaze on the world, Fr. Dehon sought to respond to God’s invitation to participate in His own holiness: ‘Yes, holiness is a simple fiat, a simple disposition of the will according to the will of God. What could be easier? For who cannot love such a kind and good will? The soul that sees the will of God in all things, both in the most desolate and in the easiest, receives everything with joy and equal respect.’”

Click here to read Fr. Carlos Luis’ full letter.

40 Voices

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, vicar general, gave the Founder’s Day message for the “40 Voices” project. Each day during Lent the General Communications’ Office has been posting a brief video reflection on its YouTube site and Facebook page. The videos, in a variety of languages, represent SCJ entities from around the world. Click here or on the image above to view Fr. Steve’s reflection from yesterday.


Br. Matt Miles, SCJ, no longer uses email. His phone number and mailing address are in the province directory.

Br. Clay Diaz, SCJ, is now with an assisted living community; his new contact information is also in the directory.

Frater Long Nguyen, SCJ, moves from Mississippi to join the Lower Brule Pastoral Team this week.

“God is crazy about us!”

Today we publish the first in a series of “Heart to Heart” conversations: dialogues about faith, spirituality and current events. The interviewer is Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, who talks with Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, about Fr. John’s personal experience of spirituality.

“As I have come to know him, I have always been inspired by his spirituality,” said Fr. Vien.

Fr. John entered the minor seminary at 14 and has been with the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) ever since, serving as an educator, spiritual director, novice master and as provincial superior of the US Province.

“I invite you to join me in learning why Fr. John believes that ‘God is crazy about us!’” said Fr. Vien, introducing the interview.

Click here or on the image above to view the video.

Fr. Carlos Luis (center) in Cameroon

Fr. General visits Cameroon

Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez, SCJ, is making his first significant trip as superior general since the pandemic began last year. He is in Cameroon until April 13 for the general visitation of the province. Fr. Jean Marie Signié, SCJ, provincial superior, was interviewed by the general website in anticipation of the visitation. Click here to see a video of the interview; it is in French. A summary in English appears below the video.

“Expectations are high,” states Fr. Jean Marie in the English summary. “The confreres are waiting for Father General to arrive and touch the realities of this province, which is a young province. His stay will last about five weeks so that he will have time to touch our realities, to speak sincerely with each confrere. It also comes at a time when we are in the process of consultation for a new provincial administration. We all hope that this visit will be a time for Father General to listen… to bring the joys and hopes of this young province to the rest of the congregation.”

Click here to access the full summary.

Please remember

+ Fr. João de Deus Costa Jorge, SCJ, a member of the Portuguese Province, died on March 11. He was born in 1958, professed in 1979, and ordained in 1987.

+ Fr. Celson Altenhofen, SCJ, a member of the Brazil – Sao Paulo Province, died on March 12. He was born in 1950, professed in 1970, and ordained in 1975.

National Youth Dialogue

Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, encourages SCJs to read a report titled “National Dialogue,” which summarizes the results of conversations about youth and young adult ministry. Br. Diego writes:

Read the final report

“I recently received this report from the ‘National Dialogue.’ In their opening letter the co-chairs of the project write that ‘These conversations have brought us to the moment where we talk about the journey. In one sense this report ends the journey of the National Dialogue, while in another sense, it begins a journey that examines the discoveries and discerns meanings for the future of ministry on behalf of our young people.’

“I like the idea that we are on a journey because it means that we can always take a new path on the way to our destination. In this case, the destination is our young people. What path do we take to minister to them and with them? In particular, I appreciated the following text found on page 128 [English]:

“‘A generation ago, it could be argued that youth ministry could operate effectively without the support of young adult or college campus ministries, or predominantly English speaking outreach efforts could work well without the wisdom of Hispanic/Latino communities. This is no longer the case, as a growing belief contends that young people benefit from a more seamless approach or ‘handoff’ from one ministry to the next, and from a collaborative approach across cultures and communities.’

“In our province we often talk about the importance of youth and young adult ministry. This is an important document that I invite all SCJs to read and to share with others.”

Click here to access the report in English; click here for Spanish.

Blood Brothers: Jews and Christians as sibling rivals

Join the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies for its spring 2021 public lecture featuring Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Ph.D., Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies and Director of the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC. His topic will be “Blood Brothers: Jews and Christians as Sibling Rivals.”

The lecture will be held via Zoom on March 21 at 3:00 pm. (central). Click here to register for the free webinar. Questions? Click here to email Bonnie Shafrin, center director.

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies is based at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

Lenten reflections

Fr. Jerzy (“George”) Mordalski, SCJ, and Fr. Dominic Peluse, SCJ, are the most recent SCJs to share reflections for the Lenten e-blast, “Preparing for the Resurrection.” The mailings are sent twice a week during Lent and Holy Week.

Fr. George

“Christ came into the world to provide a life for people,” wrote Fr. George about the readings for March 10. “He emphasized the most significant and most important law: the love of God and other people. Based on this, he solved all the problems that the old covenant could not solve. In this sense, we should also understand Matthew’s words that Christ did not come to abolish the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill it.

“The novelty of his action was that he gave to everything his divine life. He illuminates the Law with kindness and love. In his actions and life, he showed that the Law of Love is organically inscribed in the human heart, and based on it, everyone presents his or her human dignity.

“Christ continually reminds us of God’s law: it is the law of love.”

Click here to read Fr. George’s full reflection.

Fr. Dominic

“In the Gospel, the Pharisee – Nicodemus – comes to Jesus at night,” wrote Fr. Dominic about yesterday’s readings. “There we find the scripture passage seen at almost every sporting event: John 3:16. ‘For God so loved the world.’

“But Jesus added: ‘You are the light of the world – your light must shine before people so that they will see the good things you do and praise your father in heaven.’ It reminds me of the song in the musical Godspell with the line, ‘The biggest candlestick in the world ain’t no good without a wick.’ You are that wick, that light.

“We might want to ask ourselves: how are we to be that light? Do we need to speak in tongues, hold snakes in our hands, cure the sick or raise the dead? Probably not. Instead, we must feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. We must comfort the sorrowing and visit the sick. We are the light by simply being there for someone who is in need, offering the ministry of our time.”

Click here to read Fr. Dominic’s full reflection.

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