Weekly News: May 16, 2022

Before there was SHML…

Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, across from Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, sits on grounds with a lengthy history that goes back well before the Priests of the Sacred Heart purchased it in 1929.

Most residents at SHML are lay people who live in two of the three wings of the senior apartment complex; the north wing is reserved for SCJs. One of those SCJs is Fr. John Czyzynski, who – as a student, educator, and provincial superior – has a lengthy history with the property. On Friday, May 13, he offered a presentation in the SHML dining room to share some historical background. Fr. John spoke about everything from the property’s geography (did you know that there is a spring-fed lake that runs under the Leo John Dehon Library at SHSST and on past SHML?), to the addition of a third floor on the original monastery building.

Talking about the old building, Fr. John noted that “in 1933 the SCJs literally ‘raised the roof’ and added the third story. They prayed that no storms would come during the construction because the building was totally exposed to the weather.

“Once the construction was done and the seminarians moved in, the students gave nicknames to various parts of the building. The main corridor on the third floor was called ’42nd Street.’  The shorter wing on the south side had walls that were so thin that it was called ‘Cardboard Alley.’ If anyone in that section sneezed, all of Cardboard Alley would call out ‘God Bless you!’

“At times bats got into the building.  This would be an occasion for SCJs and students to arm themselves with towels and tennis rackets to get rid of the bats.  The poor bats didn’t have a chance.”

Click here to read Fr. John’s full text and view more photos from the presentation.

General visitation continues

Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú, SCJ, Superior General, and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, Vicar General, continue their journey through the US Province for the General Visitation. After a week in the Milwaukee area, they spent the past few days in South Dakota, an area where Fr. Steve spent many years of ministry, most recently as executive director of St. Joseph’s Indian School. Fr. Carlos is pictured above during a visit to the school.

Today they head to Mississippi, and from May 20-22 they will be with SCJs in Texas before going to Canada for the Regional Visitation.

Fr. Snake Whisperer?

Over the weekend Fr. Carlos and Fr. Steve continued the General Visitation with a stop in Lower Brule, where the pastoral team is based. Fr. General met with SCJs there, joined them for dinner, and then had a brief tour of the area, including St. Mary’s Church. While walking along the Missouri River, children warned the SCJs of two snakes in the nearby rocks. Used to handling snakes in his homeland of Indonesia, Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, reached down and easily grabbed one of the bullsnakes, explaining that it is often mistaken for a rattlesnake but that it is nonvenomous. In fact, it is known to have actually attacked rattlesnakes.

After giving everyone a good look at the snake, Fr. Hendrik set it back down in the rocks. Another memory for the US Visitation photo album!

Photos from the General Visitation are being posted on the US Province Facebook page and Instagram.

“How can we serve you?”

Before they traveled to South Dakota last week, Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter met with Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, and the Provincial Council. It was a time not for checking off agenda items, but to simply have a dialogue.

“We are your servants,” said Fr. Carlos to the Council. “How can we better serve you?”

Among the topics discussed were missionary spirit and multiculturalism. Fr. Carlos noted that the US Province welcomes SCJs from around the world in community and ministry, but also hosts many international students in its ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

“Hales Corners – Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology – is one of the treasures of the congregation,” said Fr. Carlos. “But it is not only important to the congregation, it is important to the Church.”

Frs. Carlos and Steve are pictured above with the council. From left to right: Fr. Greg Schill, Dn. David Nagel, Br. Duane Lemke, Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, Fr. Vien Nguyen, Fr. Carlos Luis Suárez, Br. Frank Presto, Fr. Jack Kurps, and Fr. Rafael Querobin.

Appointments and assignments

During last week’s Provincial Council meeting, several assignments and personnel appointments were made. They include:

Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, was appointed as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Houston, as of June 1. Serving with him are SCJ Frs. Jerzy Mordalski and Fabio dos Santos; SCJ Frs. Richard Johnston and Tim Gray are both retired but also assist at the parish.

Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, was appointed as pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish, Franklin, as of July 1. Serving with him are Fr. Son Nguyen, SCJ, and Dn. Henry Nguyen, SCJ.

Fr. Terry Langley, SCJ, will serve as assistant to the Spiritual Director of the Province Development Office as of July 1.

Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec, SCJ, will return to SHSST following his sabbatical to serve as a formator.

Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, has been named local superior of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML as of June 16.

Fr. Duy Nguyen, SCJ, has been appointed as superior of the Sacred Heart Monastery Community as of June 1.

Fr. Jean Claude Mbassi, SCJ, was named treasurer of the South Dakota Community as of June 1.

Br. Frank Presto, SCJ, was named administrator of the St. Joseph’s Community as of today (May 16).


“Love is the deliberate act of valuing and caring.” wrote Fr. Joseph Thien Dinh, SCJ, in yesterday’s Dehonian Associates’ reflection on the readings of the Easter season. “During his earthly ministry, Jesus showed his love for others by healing the sick, raising the dead, serving the poor, and restoring people’s dignity. Most importantly, he chose the cross as the ultimate expression of his agape love — his total self-sacrificial love for us. In his address to the disciples, found in today’s gospel reading, Jesus asked his disciples to model his love by loving one another. To love is to know God. Thus, the disciples would be known by their love for one another. The early Christians in the first reading embraced the agape love with the help of Paul and Barnabas.

“Naturally, it is easier to love someone we like and agree with. But it can be daunting to love someone with whom we don’t see eye to eye. Today’s gospel invites us to re-orient our attitude toward ourselves and others. Despite the messiness of our lives, we are still very special to God. Jesus calls us his ‘friends.’ We are loved! His love encourages us to respond generously to his friendship and new commandment offer. But it won’t be easy. That’s why we still need to pray each day for the grace to love — at least trying — as Jesus did.”

Fr. Joseph is a member of the formation team at Sacred Heart Monastery. Click here to view his full text.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ, has been diagnosed with a tumor in his left eye. Physicians believe that it is melanoma and plan to surgically remove it. He will be receiving care through the University of Illinois-Chicago health system. A date for the procedure has not yet been set. Fr. Tony is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.

Livestream recordings

A reminder that all province livestream events are recorded and available for future viewing on the US Province YouTube Channel. Please click here to go directly to the livestream listing. Among the recordings: the diaconate ordination of Dn. Henry Nguyen, the Entrance to Novitiate ceremony, and Funeral Masses.

First baptism seemed providential

On Saturday, May 14, Dn. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, did his first baptism as a deacon. “I had the honor and privilege to baptize baby Liam at St. Martin of Tours,” said Dn. Henry. “With his parents, godmother, and extended family, we welcomed him into the Catholic family. As I was setting up for the baptism, I found out that baby Liam and I shared something in common: we share a birthdate, February 18, which made the baptism that much more special to me.

“I believe it was God’s providence that baby Liam was my first baptism.”

Dn. Henry is pictured below with the family.

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