Weekly News: March 20, 2023

Founder’s Day in Mississippi

Last Tuesday, Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, celebrated a Mass for Dehonian Associates to commemorate the 180th birthday of Fr. Leo John Dehon. Our thanks to Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, for the photo above of Fr. Jack with Associates after the Mass.

Click here to view more pictures on the province Facebook page.

Reflecting on Fr. Dehon’s writings on the anniversary of his birth

Fr. James Schroeder, SCJ, was the homilist for the March 14th Mass with the Sacred Heart Community at SHML. Members of his community encouraged him to share his text with others. Fr. Jim writes that he “used mostly what was a translation I did of Fr. Dehon’s reflection on the Annunciation in his Year of the Sacred Heart.”

Fr. Jim began with a quote from Fr. Dehon’s Notes on the History of My Life: “I was born March 14, 1843.  It was a Tuesday of the second week of Lent.”

“However, ” said Fr. Jim, “he immediately jumps to his birth in the Church, his baptism on March 24, noting the importance that it was on the First Vespers of the Feast of the Annunciation.  He wrote, ‘The Ecce Venio of the Heart of Jesus has protected me and blessed my entrance into the Christian life.’  He believed that the Lord wanted him to see in that, the care of His Providence, in light of his vocation as a Priest-Victim of the Heart of Jesus with an attitude of oblation.”

Fr. Jim continued, saying that “In his Year of the Sacred Heart, Dehon offers us an important reflection: ‘Ecce Venio, Ecce Ancilla Domini:  these words trace in us our rule of life.  In these words are found the vocation of those vowed to the Sacred Heart, with their purpose, their duties, their promises.  This sentiment, this disposition, these words spoken and felt suffice in all situations, in all events, for the present and for the future.'”

Click here to read Fr. Jim’s full homily.

Cyclone tears through Dehonian community in Mozambique

“He was called ‘Freddy,’ as if he bore the name of an old dear friend, one from whom we would expect a visit,” wrote Fr. Sandro Capoferri, SCJ. “And he did arrive. But he was not an old friend; instead, he was a tropical cyclone!”

Fr. Sandro

Fr. Sandro, an alumnus of our ECS program at SHSST, is provincial superior of Mozambique. He wrote about the devastation of Cyclone Freddy in a recent post on the general website. The vicious storm came to Mozambique twice; first in the south end of the country in late February, and then on the night of March 11 when it hit north of the city of Quelimane where Dehonians have two communities. Fr. Sandro wrote that at least 21,000 families were impacted by the storm that destroyed 6,600 houses, damaged another 9,800, and flooded many other buildings, including 39 medical facilities and 519 schools. Crops have been destroyed, electricity is out and drinking water is contaminated. “Cholera has already made its appearance,” wrote Fr. Sandro.

The roof of the provincial house remained undamaged, but much of the roof of the adjacent hall was torn off; heavy rain did damage inside of the hall. The formation community suffered more damage; the building which houses the common rooms lost its roof and the chapel is significantly damaged. Thankfully, none of the students nor SCJs was harmed.

“Despite all of this, in Quelimane we celebrated the memory of Fr. Dehon’s birth, thanking him for the protection that we received on the night of the cyclone as none of us was harmed,” wrote Fr. Sandro.

Click here to read more in the original Italian.

Budget reminder

A reminder: all province budgets (individual, community and corporate) are due to the Provincial Treasurer’s Office on April 10. If you have questions about budget preparation, please contact a member of the Treasurer’s Office: Dn. David Nagel, SCJ, Kevin Stanke or Chris Lambert.

“How good are you at being stewards of the treasury of the earth?”

“Once we accept this great privilege and responsibility to function in the world as an image of God, then in a certain sense, all of creation is dependent on our faithfulness. If we are faithful, nature will thrive as it is meant to thrive. If we are unfaithful it will diminish, disappear, destroyed by pollution. We must be faithful to our privilege and responsibility to represent God in the natural world.”

The quote is from Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, who led an online Lenten Hour of Recollection with SCJs on March 13. Her topic? Laudato Sí: On Care for our Common Home, Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical.

Sr. Dianne emphasized that people must live out their faithfulness dependent on one another.

“With all of our diversity we need each other desperately to survive and to thrive. We need different cultures, points of view, genders, all of the diversity for true unity. Unity presumes diversity.  Without diversity, there is just uniformity.”

Concluding her presentation, Sr. Dianne left SCJs with a question to reflect on as they prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Dehonian presence in the United States:

“How good are you at being stewards of the treasury of the earth?” asked Sr. Dianne. “What kind of stewards are you as individuals? How is your local community a good steward of the earth?

“What kind of stewards of the earth are you as a congregation?”

Click here to read more on the province website.

Scholasticate attacked in Congo

As Dehonians around the world prepared to celebrate the birth of the founder, the Dehon Scholasticate in Kisangani was attacked by a group of armed intruders the night of March 12 and into the early hours of March 13.

Fr. Jean-Paul Bungamane, SCJ, writes: “They looted and tortured the two fathers (Jonas and myself) as well as the scholastics, injuring two of them. The intervention of the police was very late due to the length of the operation. The main target was the parish priest and the treasurer of the community. They systematically looted different rooms of the confreres as you will see in the pictures”.

SEE MORE on the general website, and please keep the safety of our SCJs and students in the Congolese Province in your prayers.

Please remember

+Fr. Gerardus Zwaard, a member of the Dutch Region, died on March 14. He was born in 1938, professed his first vows in 1958 and was ordained priest in 1965.

+Br. Johannes Cornelius de Beijer, also a member of the Dutch Region, died on March 15. He was born in 1934, professed in 1954 and made his perpetual vows in 1957.

Preparations begin for 2024

The Preparatory Committee for the 2024 General Chapter had its first in-person meeting in Rome from March 2-8. Joining them for much of the meeting were members of the general administration.

The 40th anniversary of the Constitutions and the Centenary of the founder’s death are the backdrop of the commission’s work in preparing the Instrumentum Laboris for the XXV General Chapter. The General Chapter theme: “Called to be one in a transforming world ‘That they may believe’ (Jn 17: 21).”

Members of the Preparatory Commission include Fr. Eugenio Tárua, SCJ (MOZ), Fr. Juan José Arnaiz Ecker, SCJ (ESP). Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ (CAN), and Fr. Yudistiro Adifitrityassanto, SCJ (INA). They are pictured above with members of the general administration during their first planning meeting in Rome.

Reminder: SCJs are invited but need to RSVP

On Tuesday, March 21, SCJ Fraters Michael Wodarczyk, Thuan Nguyen and Truc Tran will receive the Ministry of Lector and Frater Hung Pham, SCJ, will receive the Ministry of Acolyte during 5:00 p.m. Mass in St. Joseph Chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery. All SCJs are welcome to join the SHM community at the Mass; a social and dinner will follow. If you plan to attend, click here to RSVP to Fr. Joseph Thien Dinh, SCJ. The community needs to have a head count to ensure that there is enough space and enough food for all visitors.

Congratulations and happy retirement!

On March 8, the commmunity at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology celebrated Dr. John Gallam Day. Dr. Gallam, professor of philosophy, is retiring at the end of this year after 50 years with Sacred Heart. During an evening reception at the seminary, which also celebrated two seminarians receiving the ministry of lector, Dr. Gallam received the Heart of Christ Award. The award is given by the SHSST Board of Directors to recognize an outstanding contribution by a collaborator who supports Sacred Heart’s vision “To Conform Our World to the Heart of Christ”.

Congratulations Dr. Gallam!

Happy Founder’s Day from Ecuador!

Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ, sends greetings from Quito, Ecuador, where he has ministered for several years. Originally from Colombia, Fr. Juancho did his formation in the US Province and initially served at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston before joining Dehonians ministering in Ecuador. Fr. Juancho writes:

“Hola from our parish of Santa Maria de la Argelia in Quito, Ecuador. We celebrate the life and legacy of our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon on the 180th anniversary of his birth. Represented in this photo are several countries united in one heart, united by Fr. Dehon. We are from Ecuador, Spain, Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia.”

Fr. Juancho is second from the left in the back row (beard).

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