Weekly News: March 5, 2018

The Dehonian charism in education

Bridget Martin, principal of Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS, is a member of Dehonians’ International Education Committee (pictured above). The committee met in Rome, February 23-24. Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, general councilor and former US provincial superior, is the General Council’s liaison to the committee. Another familiar face on the committee is Fr. Donatus Kusmartono of Indonesia, who studied in the United States.

During the meeting, Bridget gave a presentation on Schools in Collaboration, which has been an  opportunity for students and faculty to learn about other cultures while gaining a greater understanding of the common Dehonian mission.

Bridget was also one of several visitors to Rome impacted by the city’s out-of-the-ordinary snowfall. She spent several hours in the airport last Monday, only to find out that her flight was cancelled. One more night in Rome, and a rescheduled flight the next day.

Commemorating the 175th anniversary of the birth of our founder

Fr. Leo John Dehon

On March 14, 2018, we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. It is an important moment to reflect not just on the man himself, but on how the gift of his charism invites us to “interpret the realities of today,” wrote Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, superior general.

“Many of our contemporaries lead a life on the margins, exiled in and outside of their homeland,” he continued, writing for the General Council on the occasion of Fr. Dehon’s birth. “We think of refugees fleeing their countries or regions because of difficult conditions caused by wars or natural disasters; we think of prisoners, victims of injustices of all kinds whose rights are violated; we think also of sinners afflicted by the weight of their sins…

“Turning our eyes towards our God, who, in Jesus Christ, shows his wounded heart and enters into solidarity with all the suffering, we can find a spiritual answer for the afflicted, excluded and rejected people of our time…

“Dear members of the Dehonian Family, let us nurture our compassion to the Heart of Jesus to make our love for every wounded person possible, urgent and fruitful.”

Click here to download the March 14th letter in full.

Prayer requests

– Fr. Leonard Elder (Mississippi) had a heart attack yesterday, March 4. He had a coronary angioplasty and stent, but the stent failed, and he had another cardiac event later in the day. This required a second surgery and he is now in ICU. Once he has stabilized, doctors will attempt to address the issues that caused the episodes.

– Fr. Richard MacDonald (Texas) is recovering well from heart valve replacement surgery, which took place last week Wednesday.

– Fr. Rein van Leeuwen (Montréal) was hospitalized last week following a stroke. He is to go to an assisted care facility following his hospitalization.

– Fr. Robert Tucker (Chicago) was briefly hospitalized for observation and evaluation of respiratory concerns. He is currently using portable oxygen.

– Reina Rojas (Colombia), the mother of Frater Juancho Castañeda Rojas, has been hospitalized in ICU with a liver condition.

Please remember

+ Fr. Mario Marroni, a member of the South Italian Province, died February 28. He was born in 1932, professed in 1950 and ordained in 1959.


Fr. Antonio talks about the implementation of the Mission Statement logo in Spain

The continuing task of communication

In January, 2017, the Priests of the Sacred Heart held its first Media Experts Meeting, a gathering in Rome of Dehonian communication professionals from around the world. One of the offshoots from that meeting was the development of the International Communications Commission (ICC).

The ICC first met in March, 2017, and has had three meetings since, most recently, February 27-28.

Much of the early focus of the ICC was on the new Mission Statement adopted by the General Council last year. The “Open Heart and Mind” logo, referencing the Dehonian Mission Statement, quickly spread throughout the congregation, finding its way onto tee shirts, websites, banners, publications and benefactor materials.

Mary Gorski of the US Province

In just a few months it has become a significant “brand image” for the Dehonians; a way for people to quickly identify the congregation. Now that the image is becoming well established, the ICC hopes to do more to help people know what is behind it: the Mission Statement itself.

The commission is also working on the specific communication tools of the congregation, such as a new website with an enhanced password-protected Members section that will allow for easy access to membership information from a smartphone or other mobile device.

However, the major focus of the most recent ICC session was on the next Dehonian Media Experts Meeting, scheduled for May 23-25, 2018.

Click here to read more about the February 27-28 ICC meeting.

Members of the commission: Fr. Radek Warenda, SCJ (general communications director), Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ (director of the Centro Studi Dehoniani), Mary Gorski (communications director of the US Province), Fr. Antonio Rufete Cabrera, SCJ (responsible for communications in the Spanish Province) and Fr. Pedro Iglesias Curto, SCJ (secretary general). Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño Martín, vicar general, is the General Council liaison to the commission.

Calendar items from Canada

The Regional Council in Canada met last week and finalized a few dates for the region’s 2018 calendar. Members of the region will gather in Ottawa June 6-7 in anticipation of the feast of the Sacred Heart (the feast day itself is celebrated in local communities so those in parish ministry can be home for the weekend).

The 2018 regional assembly will be September 17-20 at Providence House in Kingston (Ontario). On Wednesday, September 19, the region will celebrate the following jubilees: Fr. Paul Tennyson (25 years in vows), Frs. Aegi Warsito and Yuliwan Maslim (25 years of priesthood ordination), and Frs. Jim Casper and John van den Hengel (60 years in vows).

In July, Fr. Luca Zottoli (general treasurer) and his assistant, Aldo Ivaldi, will tour Canada. The council and Regional Finance Committee will meet with them July 6 in Montréal. They will visit with all three of the regional communities, and tour Niagara Falls, before leaving on July 12.


The Holy Father has appointed Bishop. Gaetano Di Pierro, SCJ, bishop of the diocese of Moramanga (Madagascar), as a bishop of the diocese of Farafangana (Madagascar).

Provincial’s calendar

Fr. Ed Kilianski returns from a weekend in Houston just in time for Provincial Council meetings March 6-7. From March 11-19 he will be in Pinellas Park, FL, for a visitation; March 24 – April 2 he will be in Mississippi for a visitation and for Holy Week. April 9 is the meeting of North American administrations followed by US council meetings April 10-11.

Closing shot

From February 24-25 the Spanish Province hosted its first Dehonian Family meeting. Approximately 220 people from Spain and Portugal came together in Fray Luis de León College in Madrid

“Father Dehon would be proud of this meeting”, said Fr. José Luis Munilla, SCJ, provincial superior of Spain, who went on to note that the charism of Fr. Dehon is for people of many backgrounds, ages and origins. Those at the meeting came together “in diversity, ready to share, to make themselves open and available to each other, to overcome differences together, to witness that precisely in diversity we can allow ourselves to be penetrated by the love of Christ and enrich ourselves with the gifts that each brings. This love, this sharing, this exchange, makes us a true ‘Family.’”

A few participants at the gathering – SCJ and lay (including an ESL alumnus) – are pictured below.