Weekly News: May 17, 2021

Graduation celebrations

Congratulations to Fr. Edgard Biankeu, SCJ, a member of the Cameroon Province, who graduated last week from Loyola University in Chicago with a master’s degree in Christian Spirituality with a focus on spiritual direction. He is pictured above, right.

“Young Cameroonians suffer much loss and trauma due to the ongoing social crises in our country,” said Fr. Edgard, talking about why he decided to pursue his studies. He hopes to work with young people, especially Dehonian students preparing for religious life and ministry, and offer them psychological and spiritual guidance to address trauma that they have experienced. His dream is to “create a spiritual center that can offer activities such as prayer, retreats, art, dance and storytelling to help people heal and discover God in their lives.”

Fr. Edgard will remain in the United States for the next year, completing a few educational tasks before returning to his home province.

Although his graduation was in August, 2020, Fr. Louis Mariano Fernandes, SCJ, recently completed his internship for his degree in Pastoral Counseling (he is pictured above, left). “The course consisted of the dynamics of personal, group, couple, and child counseling with multiple therapy orientations,” wrote Fr. Louis about the degree shortly after his graduation last year. “It was a study of basically varied therapeutical approaches towards mental health and behavioral problems.”

A member of the District of India, Fr. Louis expressed his gratitude to many for his studies, including the Provincial Council and members of the US Province. “I felt that I was loved, respected and cared for by my confreres here,” he wrote. “I remain grateful and indebted to the US Province for their generosity towards me.”

With his internship behind him, Fr. Louis is preparing for an anticipated assignment in Mississippi with the pastoral team.

Finally, congratulations to the graduates of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. As we noted last week, 17 students graduated from SHSST on May 7. Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, was the main presider at the ceremony. The graduates are pictured below. Click here to view more photos from commencement, and the dinner that followed.

Keep India in your prayers

“It is a very painful situation for the people of India and the country is in a helpless situation,” writes Fr. Rinu Jose, Indian district superior and Fr. Mahesh, district secretary, in a letter to fellow Dehonians about the impact of COVID-19 in India. “Yet, we fight the battle and relying on God’s providence. It is true that the death rates are increasing day by day and we are all in a fearful state to carry on our day-to-day activities. In fact, our Dehonians are not spared from this pandemic as many of our confreres are also affected. They had struggled like others to be admitted in the hospitals as there was lack of oxygen supply, beds and rooms. At the same time, the hospitals are also demanding to pay huge amounts to continue the medications.”

Fr. Rinu was among those who was hospitalized with COVID-19. There have been infections in most of the district’s communities. At the novitiate, four priests tested positive and ten novices. Two of the priests and one of the novices had to be hospitalized.

Click here to read the full letter written on May 14. Please continue to keep the people of India in your prayers.

“Why can’t priests marry?”

“Where does God come from?” “What can’t priests marry?” “What made you become a priest?” These are the questions asked by children in the second of our series “Ask a Dehonian.” This week’s video features students from Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS, St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston.

The respondents are Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ, and Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, from the novitiate. When asked about who or what influenced them to become priests, both joked that it started with a desire to get out of doing the dishes. After sharing more serious responses, they noted that they still ended up doing a lot of dishes during their years as ordained members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Click here or on the image above to view the video.

Divine Heart Seminary reunion

There will be an all-class reunion of students from Divine Heart Seminary on Saturday, September 25, 2021. It will take place at Bobak’s Signature Events, 6440 Double Eagle Drive, Woodridge, IL  60517. Mass will be at 4:30 pm, followed by cocktails. Dinner will be at 6:30 pm. The cost is $75 per person, which includes a sit-down dinner and a four-hour open bar.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hyatt Regency, 1400 Corporetum Dr., Lisle, IL,  60532, (630) 853-1234. A shuttle bus will be available to take guests to and from the banquet hall. The room cost will be $114 per night, which includes breakfast for two. When making reservations, indicate that you are with the reunion.

Keith George (class of 1975) writes that “This is the same location as last time in 2016.  Many of us booked rooms for Friday and Saturday night.  On Friday most of us met in the hotel bar and had an impromptu get together which turned out to be a good time! We encourage everyone to start contacting classmates in each of your classes to get the word out.”

Questions or concerns? You can contact Keith George at (630) 327-3721.

The Montreal community with Fr. Richard

Happy anniversary!

The Dehonian community in Montréal celebrated Fr. Richard Woodbury’s 50th anniversary of priesthood on May 14 (the actual date of the anniversary was yesterday, May 16). The SCJ is pictured above (center) with the Montréal SCJs.

Originally from Grenville, Québec, Fr. Richard is the tenth of 16 children. He said that it was an SCJ priest helping in Grenville who told him about the Dehonians’ minor seminary in Pointe-au-Chêne and invited him to “come and see”.

“At the end of my sixth year in grammar school, I did not follow his advice and went to the diocesan seminary,” he wrote. “I lasted for three days. I got homesick and came back to Grenville to complete grammar school. The next year, in 1958, I came to the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur. I felt at home from the very first day.” He eventually went on to teach and direct the school.

When asked about his vocation as a Dehonian, Fr. Richard wrote that “I do dream of becoming a true Dehonian, but I know I still have a long way to go. Each day I do my best to follow in Fr. Dehon’s footsteps, trying to develop and acquire the genius he had to understand the real needs of the society we live and work in order to find remedies to the different evils and ills which affect its people.”

Happy anniversary Fr. Richard!

Frater Hubert, Postulant Jonathan and Frater Truc at the SHM picnic

School year comes to an end

Much of the news that appears in province communications at this time of year is about school; and it would be an understatement to say that the past year has been a challenging one for teachers, administrators and students in the midst of the pandemic.

“The entire year has been challenging in many ways, but you have navigated it successfully with God’s grace and your cooperation with that grace,” wrote Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, to members of the SHSST staff.

It is also the sentiment expressed by Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, toward those who have made the past school year possible.

“To everyone who has worked hard to keep our province schools going in the midst of this pandemic, to ensure that our students and teachers have had safe learning environments, thank you from me and the Provincial Council,” said Fr. Ed. “I am sure that there is much work that I never see, people quietly just doing what needs to be done. Know that I have been praying for all of you during these difficult times and am grateful for your service in the name of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.”

Above is a photo from Saturday’s end-of-the-year picnic with the Sacred Heart Monastery Community. Click here to view more photos on the province Facebook page.

Below is pictured Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, leading a prayer at the start of a day of outdoor games with students at Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS. He, Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, and Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, joined the students for the day. Click here to view more photos.

Fr. Greg leads students in prayer

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