Weekly News: May 15, 2023

A life-long commitment

Congratulations to Frater Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, who made his perpetual profession of vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) last Thursday, May 11. The ceremony took place at Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, provincial superior, received Frater Paul’s vows. Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, was Fra. Paul’s final vows director.

Fra. Paul, who turned 31 just two days before his perpetual profession, is originally from Ha Tien, Kien Giang, Vietnam. “It is a culturally diverse town of Cambodian, Chinese, and Vietnamese heritage,” he said. “Looking back, going from where I was to where I am now is nothing short of a miracle. I believe that God had a plan for me and was involved throughout my journey. I am forever grateful for the SCJs and our culturally diverse community.”

“I was attracted to the SCJs’ simplicity, diversity and community life,” said Fra. Paul when he professed his first vows in 2018. He did his pastoral year in Lower Brule, SD, and has been involved in a variety of other province ministries. Fra. Paul is scheduled to complete his M.Div. at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in December, 2023.

“I’ve found my life’s meaning ultimately in Christ, in service, and self-denial,” said Fra. Paul. “I want to live these principles through the Dehonian charism and way of life. This is why I requested to make final vows.”

Click here to read more on the province website.

Click here to view photos from the ceremony.

Discussing models of ownership, economies

As noted last week, the international Dehonian seminar “Towards an Economy for All; Inclusive, Sustainable, Just,” was held May 7-11 at ESIC University in Madrid. During the week, representatives from each of the continental Dehonian Theological Commissions delivered a presentation related to the theme. Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ, presented the North American paper, which focused on Aboriginal people’s relationship to the earth.

“For the Aboriginal peoples this land was given them by the Creator, and they were given the task to safeguard the land: Mother Earth,” said Fr. John. “Even prior to the arrival of the settlers, the Aboriginal peoples did not own the land. It was a gift from the Creator. For them the relationship to the land is their most important relationship. As Jeanette Armstrong of the Okanagan Nation says: ‘In the Okanagan, our understanding of the land is that it is not just that we’re part of the land, it’s not just that we’re part of the vast system that operates on the land, but that the land is us. In our language, the word for our bodies contains the word for land.’”

Click here to read Fr. John’s full text.

Final message

Following the week’s presentations and discussions, participants at “Towards an Economy for All” released a final message in which they asked, “Is an inclusive economic model possible?

“This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges… It is possible to soothe consciences through aid and, at the same time, build walls to defend our own against possible threats from outside. It is common to talk about human rights and, at the same time, to tribalize citizenship and residence permits to people coming from poorer countries. Inclusion is not an easy task. Tribalism is a great temptation to defend our goods. This is a great challenge: to recognize, know, love, and work on behalf of those who are different. It is an epochal challenge, which goes against the current, and requires leaving the tribal space, de-absolutizing private property, and betting on the Commons open to the different other, who must cease to be a stranger to become a brother and sister.”

Click here to read the full message.

Video recordings, written reports and photos from the conference are available on the general website. Click here to access the site.

Provincial Chapter preparations

Chapter delegates are reminded that their next pre-chapter meeting is on Tuesday, June 13, from 9:00 a.m. to noon (central) via Zoom. A link will be sent to delegates closer to the date of the meeting.

All members of the province are reminded that they have been asked to reflect on four questions individually and as a community in preparation for the State of the Province. The questions were sent to SCJs in a letter from Fr. Vien Nguyen on April 20. Click here to access it.

Each community is asked to submit a written response to the four questions NO LATER than June 1. The responses will be assembled into a report that will be sent to chapter delegates to review at the June 13 pre-chapter meeting.

Individual SCJs are welcome to share responses as well. ALL responses are to be sent to Fr. Vien electronically via email.

Recently published

Congratulations to Fr. Vien Nguyen, who recently had two reviews published:

Review of Beyond the Crossroads: Religious Life in the 21st Century by Amy Hereford, CSJ. Review for Religious Life 2, no. 2 (Summer 2022): 210-212.

Review of Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study Year C by Mahri Leonard-Fleckman. Homiletics and Pastoral Review (March 2023). https://www.hprweb.com/2023/02/book-reviews-march-2023/

Fr. Vien has been published in a wide variety of theological and professional publications, including the Review of Biblical Literature, Journal of Biblical Theology, and The American Journal of Biblical Theology.


On May 6, during the evening Mass at Queen of Peace Church in Olive Branch, MS, Fr. Hendrik Ardianto, SCJ, was presented with the “Clergy of the Year Award” by the Knights of Columbus Mississippi District. Fr. Ardi is pictured below with Leonard Temple, District Marshal, who presented the award. Congratulations Fr. Ardi!

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