Weekly News: March 4, 2024

Happy anniversary Fr. Jan!

On Thursday, March 7, the local community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake will celebrate the 60th anniversary of priesthood ordination of Fr. Jan de Jong, SCJ, during the community’s 8:30 a.m. Mass. Anyone is welcome to attend the liturgy.

“I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Ouder Amstel, not far from Amsterdam, the Netherlands,” wrote Fr. Jan in a “Twenty Questions” interview several years ago. “I am the oldest of the family of 12 children as well as the first grandchild of the de Jong family. My mother was a calm, caring, and regal person. On Sundays she prepared a festive meal for the whole family. My father was a dedicated farmer, proud of all his children. He loved to ice skate and taught us all the art of ice skating. When I was 12, I felt a vocation to the priesthood and began my studies at the minor seminary of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Bergen op Zoom in the southern part of the Netherlands.

Fr. Jan made his first profession in the Dutch Province. Ordained in 1964, he did his seminary studies in Holland and earned a doctorate in moral theology from the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome and a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also in Rome.

In 1969 he came to the US Province to put those degrees to work, first on the faculty of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology and later, as a chaplain and CPE director at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, and Hermann Hospital and Methodist Hospital (both in Houston). From 1996-1999 he was novice master for the US Province before returning to SHSST to teach moral theology and systematic studies. In 2008 he was named president-rector of the seminary. He served in the role until his retirement in 2012.

Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, will be offering a livestream of the Jubilee Mass. You can tune in at the following link:

No Fridge Notes next week

There will be no Fridge Notes published next week; the next issue will be on Monday, March 18. As always, news items are welcome at any time for the Fridge Notes, or other province communications. Please send photos, text and story ideas to Mary Gorski.

Please remember

Suzanne Bédard, the sister of Fr. Claude Bédard, SCJ, died February 27.  She was 85, and had been in palliative care in the hospital following a stroke. Fr. Claude was a member of the Dehonian community in Montréal at the time of his death in 2022.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Tim Gray, SCJ, is receiving medical care for significant back pain. He is currently staying in the rectory at Our Lady of Guadalupe, where the SCJ community is helping him. Mary Balistreri, director of Province Healthcare Services, is assisting him in seeking options for care and treatment. Please keep him in prayer.

What is happening when?

RETIREMENT WORSKHOP FOR SCJs – A retirement workshop is scheduled next week, March 11-12 at the community house in Pinellas Park, FL. Led by Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick, MM., it will be similar to the previous workshop held for seniors at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. Any SCJ is welcome to attend. For more information, contact Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ.

REMEMBERING THE FOUNDER – Next Thursday, March 14, marks the 181st anniversary of the birthday of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. At Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, will be the main celebrant at the 7:30 a.m. Mass, beginning the day of remembrance. In the evening, Sacred Heart Monastery will host the Reception of Ministries for the following:

Frater Jacob Smith, SCJ: Lector
Frater Thuan Nguyen, SCJ: Acolyte
Frater Truc Tran, SCJ: Acolyte
Frater Michael Wodarczyk, SCJ: Acolyte

The ceremony will take place in St. Joseph’s Chapel at 5:00 p.m., followed by a social and dinner in the SCJ recreation room. If you plan to attend, RSVP to Fr. Joseph Thien Dinh, SCJ, by email or phone.

LENTEN HOURS OF RECOLLECTION – Two Lenten Hours of Recollection have been scheduled; the first is for SCJs on March 14 (anniversary of Fr. Dehon’s birth) and the next day, March 15, will be the hour for employees and other collaborators. Both begin at 10:30 a.m. (Central). As with the previous Hours of Recollection, they will take place on Zoom. A link for SCJs is available on the Members page of the province website. It will also be sent by email on the morning of the Zoom. 

Click here for the link to the March 15 Hour of Reflection for employees and other collaborators.

Leading the hour is Dr. David Richo. He is a psychologist, teacher, workshop leader, and writer based in San Francisco, and the author of approximately 30 books including The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to Our Spiritual Life; Wholeness & Holiness: How to be Sane, Spiritual, and Saintly; When Love Meets Fear: Becoming Defense-less and Resource-fullPlease click here for more information about him.

The title of Dr. Richo’s presentation: “Calling and Charism: Being Sacred Heart in the World.”

RETREAT FOR SCJs IN ACTIVE MINISTRY – The retreat for those in active ministry (along with students in formation) is from May 13-16, 2024. The retreat will start with a social and dinner on Monday evening, May 13, and will end at noon on Thursday, May 16, at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. It will be led by Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, and will focus on the theme of synodality. SCJs and students were sent an email last week and asked to RSVP to Mary Gorski by April 17. If you have questions, please contact Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, retreat organizer.

ORDINATION SCHEDULED – Dn. Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, will be ordained to the priesthood at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston. Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson will be the ordaining bishop. More information will soon be made available.

NORTH AMERICAN CONFERENCE – The combined conference on the threats of climate change and nuclear weapons will be October 7-10, 2024, at the Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch, MS. It will begin with dinner Monday evening and conclude with dinner on Thursday, October 10. Formal invitations with registration and hotel information will be sent later this spring.

Welcome to Wisconsin

Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, has spent most of his life as an SCJ priest in Chicago. During the past five years, he lived in a retirement community to  assist his brother who was in nursing care in the same facility. Paul Bossie died in October and now Fr. Bob is now leaving Chicago and joining the SCJ community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.

Writing to friends about the move, Fr. Bob noted his lengthy history with the Windy City: “I moved to Chicago with my religious community in 1971 and attended Loyola University for my last year of undergraduate studies. After that, I did graduate theological studies at Hyde Park’s Catholic Theological Union for four years, was ordained a Catholic priest in 1975 and did a year’s internship at St. Bernard’s parish (Now St Benedict the African) which had a big impact on my life and ministry…

“From 1976 to 1983, I worked in my community’s formation program in Roger’s Park and the lower east side of Chicago. In 1979, I was invited to join the staff of the 8th Day Center for Justice on their two-month long immersion experience in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru which also had a profound impact on my life. Upon my return to the US, I realized that I could go back to business as usual but, if I didn’t integrate this experience into my daily life, my relationship with God would be a charade.

“Thereafter, I began to train myself to see the world through the eyes of a poor woman and her children whom I met briefly in Peru. They became icons for me. Each time I hesitated in my direction, I asked myself what my actions would do to give them greater control over their own life and destiny.”

For 32 years Fr. Bob worked full-time at the 8th Day Center. For many of those years he continued to be active with the province formation community when it was based in Chicago.

Welcome to Wisconsin Fr. Bob!

SHSST receives grant

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology recently received a $5,000 grant from The Catholic Community Foundation to provide formators and high school students in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee opportunities to engage with SHSST faculty and liturgical resources.

The Fall 2024 grant project includes attending SHSST’s Intercultural Mass, and a talk by a SCJ with a Q & A lunch. Participates will learn about the many ministries clergy and religious are involved in throughout the world. Additionally, a retreat offering a chance to renew and inspire high school formators will be conducted.

Click here to learn more about The Catholic Community Foundation.

Don’t forget to spring ahead!

Daylight Saving time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10. Don’t forget to move your clocks forward and change the batteries on smoke detectors.

Continued stories

Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ, shares a children’s version of the story of the “Blind Men and the Elephant” with a Lenten reflection. Click here or on the image above to view it.

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