Weekly News: May 14, 2012


“I have never felt more Catholic in my life”

These were the words expressed by Fr. Tim Gray, SCJ, reflecting on his recent trip to the Holy Land.

“I was completely overwhelmed by the churches, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem – the history and the people,” he wrote.  “In my travels I have seen churches that are 400 and 500 years old. In Jerusalem, those would be modern churches, built upon the ruins of churches 800 years old, which were built upon the ruins of churches 1,600 years old, built on top of Roman temples, which were built to try to obliterate the traces of Christianity in 165 AD.

“Somehow I had expected a Christian Disneyland, like colonial Williamsburg, in which everything would appear just as it did in Jesus’ day. Instead, we walked down into the basements of the present churches to see the earlier places where people have worshipped for thousands of years on the same spot… I realized that we are simply one more generation, one more century, coming to these holy places and leaving our marks behind.

“I have never felt more Catholic in my life… We Catholics feel the connection [to Jesus] through our bodies, which touch the same stones worn smooth by millions of others who have touched them through the centuries, who bring rosaries, cards, images, statues, to touch the holy places and be blessed and shared with family and friends… And as I stand in this history, it feels like a tree with roots planted in tradition, adding growth rings every year.”

Click here to read the rest of Fr. Tim’s reflection posted on the province blog.

Fr. Johnny with his English students at a park outside of Cagayan de Oro.

Taking a walk on the “Monkey Bridge”

Fr. Johnny on the Monkey Bridge.

Fr. Johnny Klingler, SCJ, also continues to post entries on the province blog from the Philippines, where he is teaching English. Yesterday, he wrote about Mother’s Day at the Kasanog Daughters Foundation, a shelter for abused women and girls, as well as a visit with his students to a park. Of the park visit he writes:

“We went on a field trip Friday morning to a beautiful park in the mountains which overlooks the city of Cagayan de Oro and the ocean. One of the things to do is to cross ‘The Monkey Bridge.’ It was quite an adventure. You walk on a swinging bridge by holding onto two cables with each hand and stepping on metal slates 9 inches by 1 1/2 inches with a distance of 1 foot to 1 1/2 foot between them. I had to climb a tree trunk to get to the first landing and from my perspective the walk looked rather short. However, when I got to the end of the first stage, I saw I had a long way to go. Thank God I didn’t fall as I finally came to the end, soaking in sweat. That evening the professed community went out for pizza, which is always a special treat.”

Click here to read the rest of his blog post.

Concentrated course helps prepare students for the Church’s growing Hispanic population

Learning a new language as an adult is difficult. Going back to school after many years in the workforce is challenging. Discerning a call to ministry at the same time?

Fr. Jim Walters at his desk during the semester break.

Very challenging!

Yet that is what many seminarians at Sacred Heart School of Theology do. Much of the student body consists of men who are pursing their vocation as an older adult. Most have been away from academic studies for years.

“We were concerned about students telling us that they did not have enough time to study Spanish during the school year,” said Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ. “Often, our students are required by their bishops or superiors to take Spanish. However, Spanish is not a part of the core curriculum. It is offered as a twice-a-week, two credit course. Our students feel pressure to put their energies into the core courses, the three-credit church and theology courses…

“We asked if there would be interest in a May session devoted to Spanish,” said Fr. Jim. There was, and so tomorrow, May 15, the first-ever intensive five-week Spanish session at SHST will begin on an experimental basis.

Ten students are registered for the inaugural program. Two are priests (including one SCJ on sabbatical from another country), six are seminarians, one is an SHST faculty member and one is a lay pastoral minister from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. At the end of the session students and teachers will evaluate the experience to help determine if the experiment will become a regular part of the academic calendar.

Click here to read more about the program

Welcome to Canada!

“Last Tuesday, four members of the Toronto community went to the airport to meet Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ, from Brazil,” wrote Fr. Jim Casper, SCJ.

Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ

“At 29, Fr. Willyans is now the youngest member of our Toronto community, and although ordained for only two-and-a-half years, he comes with a variety of experience in ministry. He expresses himself very well in English and has already begun the process of becoming familiar with the city. Since the archdiocese of Toronto is very much in need of Portuguese-speaking clergy, Fr. Willyans is planning to do ministry primarily among the Portuguese parishes. We are happy to have Fr. Willyans as part of our community here in Toronto and look forward to introducing him to the members of the region and to the Toronto church.”

Provincial’s time

Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, remains in the Milwaukee area through the month. May 30-31 he has council meetings.

Upcoming meetings and events:

May 15: Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, SHM/SHST (1 p.m.)
May 30-31: Provincial Council Meeting (budgets)
June 15: Feast of the Sacred Heart (11 a.m.)
June 28: Provincial Council Meeting (conference call re: formation)
July 3-4: Provincialate Offices closed for Independence Day.
July 9-12: Province Assembly, Hales Corners
July 16-21: General Conference, Neustadt, Germany
July 23-25: SCJ Major Superiors Meeting, Neustadt, Germany
October 12: Dedication of Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake

April 8-9: Mission Education Conference, St. Joseph’s Indian School
Week of June 3: Province Election Assembly.