Weekly News: March 6, 2017

Frater Juancho with new-found friends in Rio de Janeiro

Getting out of the sacristy to embrace new cultures

Frater Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas is halfway through a ministerial year in Brazil. On the province website he writes about his experience of interculturality, reflecting on the importance of getting out of the sacristy where “we experience the greatness of the hearts of the people we serve… their culture, their traditions, and we grow together with them as people of God.”

“Recently I went to Rio de Janeiro where we have two parishes: Sacred Heart of Jesus and Bom [Good] Jesus Da Penha,” wrote Frater Juancho. “The parishes represent two different realities. Sacred Heart of Jesus is located in a middle-to-upper-class neighborhood while Bom Jesus Da Penha is in a very poor and dangerous neighborhood. Both, however, had amazing people among the parishioners and all the people who work there. They are very welcoming and are active in their parishes.

“I was impressed by the work in our parish of  Bom Jesus because it is a very active community. Many activities there are directed by our Lay Dehonians with the help of priests. But I have to say that it was also the first place where I did not feel secure physically and I was afraid for my safety. I was told that the neighborhood was very dangerous and that at any moment there could be a confrontation between police and drug dealers…

“However, I received a very important lesson. I could see how the people did not live in fear. And even the brutal reality of their situation did not keep them from having a smile on their faces or stop them from attending Mass and participating actively in the parish. All those smiles, positive attitude, and faith from people in the parish helped me to realize that I was blocking myself from having a very nice experience because of my own fear. I was blinded to the beauty of the ministry because of the fear of being in a dangerous neighborhood.”

Click here to read Frater Juancho’s full reflection.

Called to live gratefully

Fr. John Czyzynski

“I cannot help but recall the way Fr. Mike Crosby, OFM Cap, speaks about our vow of poverty,” wrote Fr. John Czyzynski in the March 3 issue of Dehonian Spirituality. “He defines poverty as ‘the inability to have access to the resources one needs for their livelihood.’ If you accept that definition, and I most certainly do, then it follows that we religious are not poor. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, the marvelous work of the folks in our development offices and the good stewardship of those who manage our funds, we are not poor.

“We have the resources we need for our livelihood. Add to that the fact of the tremendous educational experiences that are part of our formation, and it is obvious that we have access to the resources we need for our livelihood.

“What our vow of poverty calls us to is to live gratefully, to use well the gifts we have received, and to share with others the blessings we have received.

“[Being] a member of our Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation Commission makes me add another dimension to how I believe we are called to live out our vow of poverty. Because we, as religious, have this access to resources, I believe part of being faithful to living out our vow of poverty calls us to work at helping others who are poor, who do not have this access to the resources they need to be able to attain that.”

Click here to read Fr. John’s full reflection in the March 3 edition of Dehonian Spirituality. Dehonian Spirituality is sent by email most Fridays. Click here to subscribe.

Please remember

Fr. Germain Gravejat, a member of the Franco-European Province, died February 26. He was born in 1932, professed in 1953 and ordained in 1960.

Commemorating the founder

Fr. Heiner

“The celebration of life, of all life, is always an opportunity to fix the eye and the heart on what is important,” writes Fr. Heiner Wilmer, superior general, in his letter celebrating the anniversary of Fr. Leo John Dehon’s birth (March 14, 1843). “Each life contains a story and is a school. We learn from both. To turn our eyes and heart to those who are part of our daily life, and to those who came before us, is a healthy and necessary exercise to discover part of a body that develops, that moves, which has a past, a present and a future. At the same time, it is an exercise which calls for humility and attention because it means accepting that we need inspiration and encouragement, instruction and counsel, in order to keep alive on our journey, with all the challenges and uncertainties confronting us in our time and space.

“The anniversary of the birth of Fr. John Leo Dehon is a welcome moment because we continue to fix our eyes, our heart and our journey on the service of the Gospel. We thank God for the gift of his life, given and shared in a restless search for union with the Lord. His witness and his work, rooted in the contemplation of the love of the Father, in a commitment to Church and society of his time, are open areas for us of solid teaching and friendly advice. This is so true that we can say that Fr. Dehon continues among us the works of spiritual mercy, to teach those who do not know and to advise those who are in need.”

Click here to read the full letter.

Lenten Spirituality of the Heart presentations

As was done last year, the Leo Dehon Library at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology will host a series of “Spirituality of the Heart” presentations during Lent. They will be held Tuesdays from 10:15 – 10:30 a.m. at the library. The first presenter will be Fr. Charles Brown on March 14.

Save the date!

Fr. Thi Pham, chairperson of the Province Assembly Planning Committee, reminds SCJs that the 2017 assembly will take place June 5-9 in Hales Corners, starting with the province jubilee celebration on Monday evening at 4 p.m. Invitations will be in the mail soon.

Budget reminder

The Provincial Treasurer’s office reminds budget preparers that March 31 is the due date for getting 2017-18 budgets to the office. Community treasurers should note that the SCJ Medical amount is increasing to $1,255 per SCJ per month, and that SCJ retirement contributions increase to $400 per SCJ per month.

Narratives are expected for budget items that fluctuate by plus or minus 10% from the previous year or are in excess of $7,500.

Questions? Contact Kevin Stanke, John Kuxhause or Dn. David Nagel.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Ed Kilianski starts the week with the Dehon Formation Community in Chicago for a visitation. He will preside at the ceremony for entrance to postulancy at 4:45 pm.

Fr. Ed will take part in the Local Superiors meeting and workshop on March 13-14 (beginning with dinner and an evening program on March 13 and continuing for a full day on March 14), and the Provincial Council meeting on March 15. March 17-21 he will be in California, where he will meet with Fr. Vien Nguyen, who is completing his doctoral studies.

Closing shot

Students at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday on Thursday, March 2. The anniversary of the writer’s birth in 1904 is also the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day.