Weekly News: March 6, 2023

Remembering Fr. Peter Mankins

Br. Peter Mankins, SCJ, died Saturday, March 4, at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Franklin, WI. He had been anointed shortly before his death. Br. Peter was 93, professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) in 1963 and made his perpetual profession in 1967.

As soon as news of Br. Peter’s death became public, dozens of people shared memories of his impact on their lives.

Br. Peter at 92

“I was saddened to hear of Br. Peter’s passing. We became friends with Br. Peter while he was at Immaculate Heart Seminary in Lenox, MA,” wrote Marie Gormalley of Pittsfield, MA. “My dad, Mario Tristany, worked as a chef one day a week at the seminary. This enabled the sisters there to have a day off. Quite often Br. Peter and others would visit our home. They were like extended family. No matter when we saw Br. Peter he was always smiling. He was a kind and humble person with an inviting memorable smile. My prayers and sympathy to all of his brothers and friends and family.”

A Chicago native, Br. Peter’s first assignment was at Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, IN. It became a stepping stone to a lifetime devoted to formation ministry. Br. Peter served at the province’s seminaries in Massachusetts and was on the formation team with the province’s undergraduate program when it was located in San Antonio. His last full-time assignment was with the combined formation program in his hometown of Chicago where he worked with candidates and as assistant novice master. He was also responsible for the community’s bookkeeping. He was a retired member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML at the time of his death.

“I am so saddened to hear of Br. Pete’s passing,” wrote David Klause, who studied for several years in the province formation program. “He was a such a kind and gentle soul. I have very fond memories of Br. Pete at the Formation House in San Antonio.”

“Br. Pete was my hero and friend in Lanesboro,” wrote Ronnie Farmer, an alumnus of Lanesboro. “Heaven gained a good man!”

“He was my first formation director and always a model for religious life,” wrote Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, who now serves on the pastoral team in northern Mississippi.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS for Br. Peter Mankins will take place at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, 7330 S. Lovers Lane Road, Franklin, WI. The wake will be on Friday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. and the Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. (Central).

Paying tribute to an SCJ missionary

During his visit to Indonesia last week, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, had the opportunity to visit the gravesite of Fr. Tom Fix, SCJ. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Fr. Tom spent most of his years of ministry in Indonesia and India. He died of cancer in 2012.

“The Lord arranges things,” said Fr. Tom during his last visit to the United States. “The Sacred Heart has been such a blessing to me, watching out for me, always, throughout my life. Always, I am happy to give back for the many blessings I have received.”

Fr. Vien is pictured with Fr. Andreas Suparman, SCJ, provincial superior of Indonesia.

SCJs are invited

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.

Vocation director on the road!

Fr. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, our recently appointed vocation director, shares a few photos from his weekend in Houston. He writes:

“This weekend took me to Houston to participate in the Vocation Youth Rally (VYR) sponsored by the Vietnamese Organization for Youth Catholic Enrichment (VOYCE) hosted at St. Mary’s Seminary. Over 200 young people were in attendance and 15 religious orders (including the Dehonians!) were represented. The event included keynote speakers, sports competitions (youth vs. representatives from the religious communities; BTW, those of us in religious vows won!), Adoration, and Mass. VYR offers young people an opportunity to learn more about vocations to the priesthood and religious life and about the many different religious communities that serve the Church.”

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

Hours of Recollection for Lent

A reminder that the first of two online Lenten Hours of Recollection will be next Monday, March 13, at 10:00 a.m. (Central). This first session is for SCJs; a link will be sent to members via email this week (it is also available in the Members section of the province website). The gathering is also a moment for SCJs to remember Fr. Leo John Dehon; March 14 will be the 180th anniversary of the founder’s birth.

The second Lenten Hour of Reflection is for employees and other collaborators on Thursday, March 23, also at 10:00 a.m. (Central). Click here for the Zoom link.

Sr. Dianne Bergant will lead both sessions. A Sister of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac, WI, she served on the faculty of Catholic Theological Union from 1978 to 2014, where she had many SCJs as students. Her curriculum vitae is lengthy, including service as President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (2000-2001) and as the Rev. Robert J. Randall Distinguished Professor of Christian Culture, Providence College, Providence, RI (2009-2010).

First Friday at OLG

During Lent, students at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston gather weekly to pray the Stations of the Cross. Last week the second through eighth-grade students prayed together and then learned about First Friday Adoration in their religion classes.

First Friday at SHM

Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, was the prayer leader and presenter for First Friday at Sacred Heart Monastery last week. His focus was on the issues surrounding homelessness. Fr. Guy has devoted many years of ministry to the homeless, including in the Diocese of Green Bay, where he established an emergency homeless shelter, and more recently in San Antonio.

As a Rule

The March issue of As a Rule went out via email last week Wednesday. It featured reflections by Steve Koepke (left), Director of Donor Relations at Sacred Heart Southern Missions, and Br. Frank Presto, SCJ, provincial superior of the US Province. The topic: “suffering.”

“Life has thrown its share of difficulties my way –  the loss of children due to miscarriages, challenging times endured by my wife and children, the ‘loss’ of my Mom due to severe dementia,” wrote Steve. “Nothing hits me so hard as when I sit down with her and she doesn’t even know who I am. In all these moments I certainly try and remember the love of the Sacred Heart. I try and see suffering as a way of growing in my faith and relationship with God. What better way for God to show His love for us than by being there in our most trying moments?”

Focusing on the mystery of suffering, Br. Frank wrote that “Suffering is as real as is joy. Both exist simultaneously yet I cannot explain either. I live in the moments of occurrence, sharing the experiences with others, seeking answers and offering compassion. Is this the ‘mysterious communion?’ [Rule of Life No. 24] The questions remain, and I continue to seek answers.”

Click here to access this month’s and previous issues of As a Rule.

Job openings

There are several employment opportunities at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Sometimes the best referrals come from people within an organization. Click here to take a look; if you know of someone who might be a good fit for one of the positions, please share the information.

Happy birthday!

Our closing photo is of Fr. Ziggy Morawiec, SCJ, celebrating his 58th birthday with the Sacred Heart Community last Friday. Also, our apologies to Fr. Jim Schroeder, SCJ, whose birthday on March 30 was missed in our listings in last week’s Fridge Notes. Click here to access the North American online calendar which lists birthdays and other significant moments. The calendar is also available in the Members section of the US Province website.

Click here to subscribe to the weekly news (Fridge Notes) via email