Weekly News: May 13, 2019

The voice of Sacred Heart retires!

The SHSST kitchen prepared Marlene’s favorite lunch for her last day: onion rings and frozen yogurt. She is pictured with Dn. David.

After 37 years, Marlene Zepecki retired from Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. For SCJs and many others she has literally been the voice of Sacred Heart, answering the phone at the reception desk, tracking down information, and making arrangements for everyone from bishops to students. When asked what she is going to do in her retirement she said: “I’m going to Disney!” One of the first things on her retirement calendar is a visit to Florida and Disney World with her grandchildren. THANK YOU for your many years of service Marlene, and many blessings to you in your retirement.

Click here to view a few photos from her retirement celebration on Friday. They are also available on the US Province Facebook page.

Reflections on the Litany of the Sacred Heart

Sent by email each day of June, the Dehonian Associates Office will offer a one-minute meditation on the invocations from the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These reflections come from the writings of Fr. Leo John Dehon.

All subscribers to the Dehonian Spirituality mailing will be added to the Sacred Heart reflections.

Please click here to add other subscribers.

Frater Huan with SCJs after his vow renewal


Congratulations to Frater Huan Duy Pham, SCJ, who renewed his vows on Saturday. A seminarian for the District of Vietnam, he professed his first vows in 2017. On May 2, he was one of three seminarians who received the Minister of Lector from Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniú, SCJ, superior general. Frater Huan renewed his vows in the chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery surrounded by members of the SCJ community. Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, US provincial superior, received the vows. More photos from the ceremony are available on the US Province Facebook page. Our thanks to Fr. Albertus Joni for sending them!

Fr. Joni in Sumatra

Why am I an SCJ?

Yesterday, May 12, was World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In the days leading up to it we shared the reflections of several SCJs on their own vocations; these appeared on the US Province Facebook page. Among them:

“I am an SCJ because I believe God called me to help him out in saving the world and trying to make it a better place for everyone,” wrote Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ. “For me it has been a great adventure way beyond my wildest dreams.”

Br. Ray Kozuch, SCJ, wrote that “My initial call to the SCJs was the message of Love and Reparation. I believe that has been the driving force throughout my vocation and continues to call me to be attentive to those who most need a sense of value and to pray for and offer Adoration before the Eucharist for those who do not know God for so many reasons. Daily attention to whatever ministry I was assigned allowed me a special sense of accomplishing the call to love God and neighbor, to love and repair.”

Br. Diego, Fr. Frank and Br. Ray

“Why am I an SCJ?” wrote Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ. “It is because I feel called to share with others the great Love of God. Compassion and reparation are important to me. We SCJs, we Dehonians, believe that love is capable of transforming people. That is for me a great motivation in my social service ministry.”

For Fr. Albertus Joni, SCJ, it was the Dehonians’ commitment to the poor that called him to the community. “Born and raised in Southern Sumatra, Indonesia, I experienced how Dehonians before me are truly committed to the poor and the needy,” he wrote. “I fell in love with their never-ending spirit ‘to go and to spread the Good News to all people.’

“Prior to my arriving at Milwaukee, I served as a young missionary in the Sumatran jungle. In some parts of this area, we had no electricity or proper access to clean water. Roads are all muddy and I could only use a motorbike to reach the small numbers of Catholics dispersed in 24 sub-parishes. Most of the Catholics in that area are poor migrant workers in the local palm oil industry with an income of less than $3 a day. In that challenging mission, I found the real value of being a Dehonian priest: we, Dehonians, must serve the people of God with our whole heart, our whole love. I am proud to be a brother for the poor and the needy! I am proud to be a Dehonian!”

Click here to view the full texts on the province Facebook page. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to access the page.

For information about discerning a vocation with the Priests of the Sacred Heart click here to email our vocation office or call 800-609-5559.

Frogs in Vietnam

Fr. Tom

After two semesters of assisting with the formation program at Sacred Heart Monastery, Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, is back in Asia, spending his first month in Vietnam. There, he will help the district’s students with accent modification, working to add a bit of a Midwestern twang to the Vietnamese English.

“This morning I had my first class with a group of 11 candidates,” wrote Fr. Tom. “These are young men preparing for an English proficiency exam at a nearby Jesuit school.” Fr. Tom leads two hours of classes in the morning, following prayer, breakfast and chores. Among the chores? Frog husbandry.

“The community paid about $30 for 2,000 frogs,” wrote Fr. Tom about the new project. “In approximately three months from their arrival the frogs are ready to eat. I don’t think that these frogs would be the kind we sometimes find in American restaurants served as frog legs. Vietnamese eat more than the legs.

“The community’s biggest challenge so far is keeping the frogs from eating each other in the frog pen. So far they are down by 201 frogs.”

After a month in Vietnam, Fr. Tom will go to India. He will remain in Asia until the end of October.

Keep in prayer

Jack Cominoli, a former student with the SCJ community in Chicago, is being treated for Leukemia. Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, wrote that “Jack contacted me to say that he is doing better but still faces an uphill battle: a bone-marrow procedure and a four-week hospital stay, followed by three months of in-house restrictions after the procedure.”

If you would like to contact Jack, you can do so at:

16 Dell St.
Turners Falls, MA.  01376

Closing shot

Happy birthday to Bishop Joseph Potocnak, SCJ, who turns 86 today! Now retired, he served as bishop of De Aar, South Africa, from 1992 – 2009. He is a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, where he remains active in ministry, especially at the local Veteran’s Center. In 2017, he was honored by the VA with a Certificate of Appreciation for “volunteering and giving our organization the most precious thing that you will ever own – your time and talent,” wrote the chief of chaplain services.”

“With me, being here [Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL] is like being in paradise,” wrote Bishop Joe. “Everything suits me: the regular daily Eucharist and prayer schedule, plus visiting the old boys at the VA.”

Happy birthday Bishop!

Bishop Joe celebrating Mass at Sacred Heart Monastery

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