Weekly News: March 2, 2015

Follow-up continues on the issues brought forth by SCJs at the 2013 North American Continental Conference
Follow-up continues on the issues surfaced at the 2013 North American Continental Conference

Follow-up on NACC mandate

February 24- 25, the North American Immigration Committee met at the Dehon Formation House in Chicago. The committee’s task is to “follow up on the mandate from the 2013 North American Continental Conference to begin the call to action on Immigration,” said Fr. Richard MacDonald.

Members of the committee include: Fr. Claude Bédard, Fr. John Czyzynski, Br. Duane Lemke, Fr. Richard MacDonald, Fr. Peter McKenna, Fr. Élie Muzungu Kasongo-Ngoy and Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec, as well as Mark Peters, Director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation for the US Province.

“It was so obvious at the North American Continental Conference that we SCJs see the inhumanities in our countries and that we cannot call ourselves ‘Dehonians’ if remain idle to them,” said Fr. Mac.

“The process is beginning and SCJs can expect to hear from the committee very soon,” he continued. “The membership in both Canada and the United States will be asked to participate in a process that calls us to share our experiences of working with immigrants and/or one’s own immigration story, and to listen to the stories around us. This first step is our effort to SEE, to absorb the reality in our hearts as a beginning. We will then advance to the next part of the process, which will be to JUDGE, to evaluate, to do some social analysis of what we know.

“With all of us journeying together we will strive to develop a Dehonian ACTION in response to what refugees and immigrants are experiencing. We promise this communication soon and we hope it will be part of your Lenten reflections and a way to celebrate the March 14 birthday of our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon.

“Thank you. Your stories will be gratefully received and will also form a vital part of shaping our collective Call to Action.”

Please remember

+Fr. Germano Toninato, a member of the Argentine Province, died on March 1. He was born in 1935, professed in 1953 and ordained in1963.

+Joseph Phuc Quang Pham, the grandfather of Frater Joseph Vu, died February 25. Mr. Pham had been struggling with health issues for some time. Frater Joseph reports that his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Claude Bédard of the Canadian Region was hospitalized last week with symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia, back pain and possible neurological problems. No significant medical issues were detected, though he is being treated for pain related to a broken vertebra in his back. Fr. Claude is now recovering at home.


Fr. Quang at a recent vocation gathering


Vocation office on the road

Staff from the province vocation office will at several youth events in the next few weeks, including:

RICE HIGH SCHOOL VOCATION EVENT on Friday, March 6. Br. Long Nguyen will represent the SCJs in Bloomfield Hills, MI, at the biannual event where religious and diocesan priests speak to the school’s juniors and seniors. The school has a history of nurturing vocations to religious life and the priesthood.

HERE I AM LORD NATIONAL VOCATION CONFERENCE takes place March 6-7 at St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles, IL. Br. Brian Tompkins from Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake will join Keith Burdick and Br. Long at this event. Founded in 2003, “Here I Am” shares information with young people about vocations to religious life and the priesthood, but also the vocations of marriage and single life. It is the largest parish-based vocations conference in the United States and includes speakers as well as musical performances.

THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CONFERENCE in Anaheim, CA, March 13-15 is a four-day event sponsored by the Los Angeles Office of Religious Education. Begun in 1968 as an institute for religious education teachers, RE Congress has grown to include people of all vocations and different faiths. Br. Long and Fr. Quang Nguyen will take part.

BENEDICTINE COLLEGE religious and diocesan vocation days in Atchison, KS, will be held March 27-28. It is an annual vocation event for religious and diocesan priests to evangelize and promote vocations; last year 30 communities and dioceses took part.  This will be the community’s first time at the event; the SCJs will be represented by Fr. Quang.

THE WISCONSIN CATHOLIC YOUTH RALLY takes place March 28 at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee. It is sponsored by WYRE (Wisconsin Youth Rosary Evangelization), a group centered in Pope John Paul II’s call for a “new evangelization.”  Br. Long will represent the SCJs.

March madness

Orange calculatorCollege playoffs are just around the corner, but the March madness that is referred to here concerns the annual province budget process. The deadline to submit FY16 budgets to the Provincial Treasurer’s office is March 27. With Holy Week and Easter soon after, there is not much time for members of the Province Finance Commission to examine the budgets prior to their meeting. Budgets need to be reviewed by the Provincial Council earlier than usual due to the timing of the General Chapter.

What that means is that “cooperation in the budget process and respect for the timelines is much appreciated,” said Dn. David Nagel, treasurer.

Questions? Contact John Kuxhause (414-427-4269) or Kevin Stanke (414-427-4270) for assistance. Please note that Dn. David will be in Rome for the General Finance Commission meeting March 9-11 (he leaves for Rome on March 4). However, he will have access to email.


FR. FRANCIS VU TRAN packed up his room in Rome and is now a member of the St. Joseph’s Community (4th floor) at Sacred Heat at Monastery Lake. He completed his coursework and research and is now writing his doctoral dissertation.

Bishop Joe Potocnak
Bishop Joe Potocnak

BISHOP JOSEPH POTOCNACK has also made a move. He is now a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL.

“I loved it in Holly Springs,” he wrote. “I felt that at my age I would never get attached to the folks there as much as I did. I hated to leave but I knew it was time to go. There is a huge VA medical center near our house in Pinellas Park that can attend to my medical concerns. I let the chaplains there know that I am also available to help if they need me.”

The bishop is settling quickly into Florida and has already played a few rounds of golf. He’ll be in the Milwaukee area March 7 for confirmation at St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin.

JPR news

Mark Peters, province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, notes that CMSM has put out a “high alert about growing US war plans.” Click here to learn about “Spring Rising,” a four-day anti-war protest and educational gathering in Washington, DC, March 18-21. Click here to access more information on the province JPR website about President Obama’s military authorization request.

Mark adds that there is also a new post on the JPR website about the “war on immigrants.” Click here to read it.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter is in Texas this week for a visitation.