Weekly News: May 1, 2023

You never stop being a Dehonian, but…

You never stop being a Dehonian, but at some point, an SCJ will have the opportunity to retire. For two days last week, several SCJs looking at retirement within the next 10 years, along with representatives of the Provincial Council, took part in a workshop facilitated by Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick, MM. Br. Wayne is Managing Director of Senior Care and Transition Services for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and serves as the Assistant Regional Superior for the Maryknolls in the US. He has also been on his religious community’s General Council and served as secretary general.

Br. Wayne lives in a community with 110 retirees; at the workshop he shared his insights on caring for senior religious, as well as his experiences in helping men transition from full-time ministry to retirement.

Although he isn’t near retirement age himself, Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, a provincial councilor, said that “I have experience with this ministry and have benefited from this workshop. We covered topics which included healthy aging, and attitudes towards retirement. Br. Wayne urged us –– both those moving toward retirement and those living and working with them –– to focus on who we are as a person rather than what we do in ministry as a way of facilitating the transition to retirement. Br. Wayne said we should ask ourselves, ‘Who am I going to be when I retire?’”

The conference took place at the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Tucson, Arizona. Participants are pictured above.

Change in leadership at SHSM

On Friday, April 28, Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, announced to the staff of Sacred Heart Southern Missions that he was stepping down as CEO of the organization of which he has been a part  since the early 1980s. Fr. Jack was executive director from 1987 to 1993, and then again from 2000 until today.

Tim Courts

As of today, May 1, Tim Courts, Executive Director of Corporate Services for SHSM, becomes President and Chief Executive Officer of Sacred Heart Southern Missions.

“I have been a priest now for more than 45 years, and more than 36 of them have been here in northern Mississippi,” said Fr. Jack. “It has been very good and I hope to spend many more years here with Sacred Heart Southern Missions. But I have decided that it is time for new leadership.
I will continue to serve as the spiritual director, but I am stepping down as president and chief executive officer of Sacred Heart Southern Missions.”

Fr. Gregory Bezy, SCJ, led SHSM until his death in 1982. Fr. Jack had been vice president of SHSM under Fr. Gregory, but the role was primarily to serve as a second signature on legal documents. It wasn’t until after Fr. Gregory’s death that Fr. Jack began to learn about the organization from a corporate standpoint. When he was named executive director in 1987, he hired Sr. Maria Brocato, SCN, to serve as assistant executive director. Realizing the need to always plan for succession, Sr. Maria was well prepared to take on the executive director’s role when Fr. Jack was named province vocation director. With this in mind, Fr. Jack informed the SHSM Board of Directors last November of his desire to step down. The board approved of Fr. Jack’s suggestion of appointing Tim Courts as the next CEO and Fr. Jack began to prepare him for the role. “Since the board’s approval I have included Tim in every major decision of the organization,” said Fr. Jack, adding that informally, “Tim has been preparing for the role for years through his daily work.”

“I still have a lot of energy for SHSM and expect to be involved as spiritual director as long as I enjoy good health,” he continued. “SHSM is blessed with a dedicated staff. I look forward to continuing to be part of SHSM and I will assist Tim in any way he asks. With Tim, SHSM is in good hands. SHSM is in his blood.”

Tim Courts has a long history with SHSM, going back to his primary school days as a student at Sacred Heart School when it was based in Walls, MS. He has a bachelors degree in Business Administration, Management Information Systems at the University of Memphis, and held numerous roles at SHSM before leaving for several years to take on positions at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and later Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare while earning an MBA from the Executive MBA program at the University of Memphis. He is a licensed CPA in both Mississippi and Tennessee.

Fr. Jack (left) is pictured above with Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson and Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ during last Friday’s prayer service with SHSM staff. The change in SHSM leadership was announced during the service.

Please remember

+ Fr. Giuseppe Gruber, a member of the North Italian Province, died on April 22. He was born in 1933, professed in 1952 and ordained in 1961.

Towards an Economy for All

In December 2021, the members of the International Dehonian Theological Commission came together to choose a topic for the next congregational theological seminar. During their discussions they reflected on the fact that “almost everywhere in the world, people were starting to rethink the economy, and that means to think about what kind of economy could lead us towards a future for all,” said Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ, former director of the Centro Studi Dehoniani and current provincial superior of the German Province.

“Towards an Economy for All; Inclusive, Sustainable, Just” is the theme of the May 7-11 international Dehonian theological conference at ESIC University in Madrid. ESIC, an apostolate of the Spanish Province, is a university dedicated to marketing, the economy and finance. In collaboration with ESIC, scholars with diverse backgrounds from throughout the world will speak on the seminar’s topic as seen through the lenses of theology, the economy, sociology and other fields of research.

The presentations will be broadcast online. Click here for more information on the general website. Click here for the conference schedule. Representing the North American Dehonian Theological Commission will be Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ and Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ  from Canada and Fr. Ziggy Morawiec, SCJ and Fr. Francis Vu Tran, SCJ from the US Province.

Dehonian cultural exchange

On April 18, students from the Dehonians’ Colégio São Luiz de Brusque (Brazil) arrived in Quebec for a three-week sports exchange at the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur in Pointe-au-Chêne. They are accompanied by Fr. Aléssio da Rosa, SCJ, assistant director of the school, and their volleyball coach, Daniel Ricardo Pieper.

The Brazilian students are being hosted by families from Sacré-Coeur; in November, the Quebec students will visit the Brazilian campus and stay with host families from the Colégio São Luiz de Brusque. The visitors are pictured above on the steps of Maison Dehon in Montréal.

Now available on YouTube

Last week we noted that, Samson Tesfaye, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, shared his story of growing up in a traditional Orthodox childhood in Ethiopia. The presentation is now available on Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s YouTube site. Click here or on the image above to access it.

Happy Religious Brothers Day!

Religious Brothers Day is held annually on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of religious brothers. It is a day to celebrate and give thanks for the men who live the call to be a religious, such as a Dehonian, but who serve as non-ordained members.

“All its members are equal in the same profession of religious life, without any other distinction except that of ministries.” The quote is from No. 8 of the SCJ Rule of Life and refers to what makes an SCJ an SCJ: not his ministry or role in the community, but his profession of religious life.

In the United States, Dehonian brothers are in communities and ministries throughout the province. They include Br. Diego Diaz and Br. Andy Gancarczyk, both members of the Mississippi community serving with Sacred Heart Southern Missions (they are pictured below); Br. Ray Kozuch, who is currently Alfonso Pizano’s postulancy director; Br. Duane Lemke, a member of the Provincial Council and superior of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML; Br. Frank Presto, provincial secretary; Br. Brian Tompkins, assistant with our senior community at SHML; and brothers in retirement who represent a diverse background in ministries such as teaching, missionary service, social justice, farming, art, and internal ministry. Our retired SCJs include Br. Andy Lewandowski, Br. Matt Miles, Br. Frank Snider, Br. Leonard Zaworski and Br. Clay Diaz.

Happy Religious Brothers Day!

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