Weekly News: May 2, 2016

Fr. Francis leads prayer with students in Vietnam
Fr. Francis leads prayer with students in Vietnam

Returning to Vietnam as a missionary

For the past five years Fr. Francis Vu Tran has been doing graduate studies in scripture, first earning a licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, and since then, working on his doctorate. He returned to the United States last year to finish writing his thesis and hoped that he would soon be putting his studies to work teaching.

“It was my desire from the beginning to teach at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology,” said Fr. Francis. “I want to be a part of the SCJ presence there.”

But as the old saying goes, God writes straight with crooked lines. Or as John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

Instead of SHSST, Fr. Francis is heading to Vietnam.

“My religious life has always been full of surprises,” said Fr. Francis. “When Fr. General talked to me about serving in the Vietnamese District it was just one more surprise”…

“Missionary.” That is the word that Fr. Francis uses when he talks about ministry in Vietnam. He doesn’t view it as going “home” to minister. Home to Fr. Francis is the US Province. He is happy to serve in the land of his birth and hopes that he can make a contribution, but he also hopes to return to the United States with teaching experience, along with his doctorate in scripture.

“Our congregation calls us more and more to have a missionary spirit, and a spirit of internationality,” said Fr. Francis. “This is an opportunity for me to live my vocation as an SCJ missionary.”

Click here to read the full article on the province website.


Last week we noted that Fr. Bob Bossie was to undergo a surgical procedure on May 2 to remove a cancerous lesion on his right ear. Due to the fact that his surgeon had a baby a little earlier than planned Fr. Bob’s procedure was rescheduled to May 12.

Please remember

Richard Schlachter, the brother-in-law of Fr. Richard MacDonald, died April 29. He was the husband of Fr. Mac’s sister, Liz.

Brian Jenkins, the brother of Fr. Wayne Jenkins, died on April 25. He was 67. Mr. Jenkins had been in nursing care for several years with complications from diabetes.

Daily works of mercy

Dorothy Duke
Dorothy Duke

“I have been an employee of the Sacred Heart Southern Missions Thrift Store for 16 years,” wrote Dorothy Duke in the latest edition of Dehonian Spirituality. “Daily we are able to fulfill one of the corporal works of mercy, as we offer clothing and household goods nominally priced or at no charge, to those in need. This service is much needed, and makes a substantial difference in the lives of those living in poverty.

“Through the years I have waited on many customers and been blessed to have served them. One such person is Annette. Four generations of her family have patronized the Thrift Store for the past forty-plus years. Struggling to make ends meet, our Thrift Store has played a significant role in helping the family deal with their financial challenges.

“I met Annette in 1992 at the Coleman Crawford housing project. Annette spoke at a community meeting, encouraging residents to improve themselves. After hearing her speak I was certain I wanted to get to know her personally. Oddly, it turned out that Annette was my nephew’s school bus driver. I saw her as I sent him off to school one morning. As fate would have it, she came into the Thrift Store soon thereafter and we became friends.

“Annette has always had a big heart and broad shoulders. She cared for her infirmed, elderly parents and raised her four sons while balancing her job with Head Start and extended church duties…

“More than considering myself an employee through my job at the Thrift Store, I feel like I am personally an instrument of God’s mercy extending much needed help and compassion to those who are unable to clothe themselves or unable to furnish their dwellings.”

Click here to read Dorothy’s full reflection in the April 29 issue of Dehonian Spirituality. Click here to subscribe to the weekly e-publication of prayers and reflections based in the Dehonian charism. The next issue (May 6) focuses on the theme of communications in celebration of World Communications Day on May 8.

Members of the General Finance Commission talk about their work

Our own Dn. David Nagel, treasurer of the US Province, is featured in a video from the recent meeting of the General Finance Commission in Rome. In the video members of the commission discuss not only their work, but also the role of finance in the life of a religious congregation.

To view it, click on the image above or go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWIATA0CQyA&feature=share

New edition of the Dehon Study Center newsletter available

The latest edition of the Dehon Study Center (Centro Studi Dehoniani) newsletter is online. Among the items in this month’s issue is an interview with Fr. Rafael Gonçalves da Costa about his experiences in reading the writings of Dehon. The interview is filled with comments and insight gained from many years dedicated to the study of the founder. The newsletter also includes a conference given by Fr. Stefan Tertünte (director of the Dehon Study Center) entitled “Faith and Mercy in Fr. Dehon,” information from the visit of 16 members of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) to the Study Center, and news from the website www.dehondocs.it/international.

Click here to read the newsletter. It is produced in both Italian and English; the English text follows the Italian in the second half of the publication.

Updates from Pinellas Park

Br. Gabe, Fr. Frank and Fr. Tom at the ballpark
Br. Gabe, Fr. Frank and Fr. Tom at the ballpark

Fr. Greg Speck, superior of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, writes with a few updates:

Fr. Tom Lind is joining the Pinellas Community. He is expected to arrive on Monday, May 2; Fr. Leonard Elder will accompany Fr. Tom on the road trip from Mississippi.

Br. Gabe Kersting, Fr. Tom Burns, Fr. Frank Burshnick and I went to the Phillies versus Detroit minor league baseball game in Clearwater. The game was followed by a fantastic 15-minute fireworks display.

Fr. Paul Grizzelle Reid is preparing for his final exams in Spanish, which are on Monday, May 2 [today!]. He has been taking college piano and Spanish courses since last September and is enrolled again for coursework in the fall.

Bishop Joe Potocnak ministers every Monday and Friday at the Bay Pines VA.”

What Fr. Greg failed to add was that a small alligator was caught in the pond on the community house property last week! Also, renovations of the guest rooms are just about complete.

One more reminder

If you plan to attend the all-class, all-faculty reunion of Divine Heart Seminary (Donaldson, IN) be sure to contact either Keith George (krg907@hotmail.com) or Mike Whalen (michael.whalen3@comcast.net) by May 11.

There is a Facebook page with more information. Click here to view it. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to see the page.

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Ed Kilianski starts the week with the meeting of the North American administrations at the US Provincial Offices. May 3-4 Fr. Ed has Provincial Council meetings, and on May 6 he will take part in graduation exercises at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. May 12 he has meetings at the Province Development Office, and the week of May 22-27 Fr. Ed will be on retreat.

Closing shot

As noted at the end of Fr. Greg’s update on the Pinellas Park Community, a small alligator was captured in the pond in front of the house. Fr. Greg snapped the photo below before the gator was taken to a new home.