Weekly News: May 20, 2024

A Dehonian Pentecost

“I found this retreat to be a ‘Pentecost’ experience.  Sr. Diane Bergant’s presentations were like a steady wind filling the conference room (with no hot air!).”

The comment is from Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, one of 25 participants in last week’s retreat for those in active ministry. The theme was “synodality,” and it was led by Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, professor emerita in Old Testament Studies at Catholic Theological Union (just one of many listings on her curriculum vitae).

We asked several of the participants to reflect on the experience.

“It was a wonderful retreat,” wrote Frater Hung Pham, SCJ. “Sr. Dianne helped me to understand how to live in synodality with people, but especially with the SCJ community. One of the purposes of synodality is to establish the reign of God on earth, echoing the words of Fr. Dehon: ‘Adveniat Regnum Tuum’, thy kingdom come. Nothing is more important than bringing the love of God to people.”

Sr. Dianne

“Coming from a French tradition where people sometimes talk a lot without concision, I loved Sr. Dianne’s presentations,” wrote Fr. Floribert Bulo Dhelo, a Congolese SCJ preparing for ministry in the US Province. “Her presentations were with words that were short, clear, and extremely consistent. She defined synodality as a process, a journeying together. This means clearly for me that synodality is not just an ideological concept but a practical possibility. However, we need to make the decision to start or to continue this journey.”

“The retreat reminded me that there is only one mission: to make known God’s name and the one he sends to save the world,” wrote Fr. Joseph Mukuna, SCJ. These four days of retreat were not just a learning period but a transformative experience. They helped me to understand synodality as a ‘Dehonian Pentecost.’ Just as the original Pentecost was a turning point for the Apostles, this retreat on synodality was a call for RENEWAL, a search for new ways of being an SCJ and doing mission. It was an invitation to live out the Spirit, to ‘get out of the sacristy,’ and work for the transformation of the world.”

Click here to read more.

Click here to view a few photos from the last day.

Memorial Day

The Provincial Offices will be closed next Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day. There will be no Fridge Notes. The next issue will be published on June 3. Click here to submit news items and photos.

Philippine choir debut in SD

Yesterday,  May 19, a newly formed Filipino choir made its debut at St. Joseph’s Church in Fort Thompson, SD. The choir was organized by Sisters Eulogia (Yollie) Cases Nobabos and Clary Joy Tagaylo Palasan, members of the Theresian Missionaries of Mary (TMM), a diocesan women’s religious community in the Philippines. The sisters came to South Dakota last fall to collaborate in ministry with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team. They are pictured here with the choir, Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ, and Dn. Steve McLaughlin.

Conference planning underway

Today, members of the planning committee for the joint conference of the US Province and Canadian Region on the dual threats of climate change and nuclear weapons are meeting in Mississippi. “In the spirit of Laudato Sí, the conference seeks to deepen our understanding of these existential threats, promote a transformation of heart and mind on these issues and develop a Dehonian response,” write organizers.

The conference is scheduled for October 7-10, 2024, at the Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch, MS (where the committee is meeting today).

Invitations are expected to go out within the next week. Participants are to include SCJs, coworkers and other collaborators. The committee is pictured above at the start of this morning’s meeting.

Paul Phong Hoang ordination livestream

A reminder that the priesthood ordination of Dn. Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, will be livestreamed (thank you Br. Andy Gancarczyk!) beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 1. We welcome you to join us for the livestream. Click here to bookmark the link.

The ceremony will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Houston; Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson, MS, will be the ordaining bishop.

Keep in prayer

Please keep the people of Houston in your prayers as they work to recover from the extensive damage caused by storms last week. Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to be without power – the church and the school. Most of the OLG staff and families are also without power in their homes, and the school remains closed.

Please remember

We recently learned that Fr. Otto Bucher, a former faculty member and administrator at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, died on Easter morning. Click here to view his obituary.

June birthdays 

Those celebrating birthdays in June include: Fr. Vincent Suparman and Frater Truc Tran on June 5, Fr. Louis Marie Kayamba Butari on June 6, Fr. Ed Griesemer on June 9, Fr. Roger Phaneuf on June 12, Fr. Yvon Sheehy on June 18, Fr, Nick Brown on June 22, Fr. Paul Tennyson on June 23, and Br. Matt Miles and Fr. Francis Vu Tran on June 26. Happy birthday!!

Monica Misey


As we noted in March, Monica Misey has been hired as Province Director of Dehonian Associates. Previously, she was Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Today is her first day on the other side of the driveway; her office is in the vocation wing of the Provincialate. She is pictured above, unpacking boxes.

“It has been said that our Dehonian charism is God’s gift to the Congregation and the Church, and that it needs to be celebrated and shared not only among members of the Congregation but with other clergy, religious, and the laity,” wrote Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, in a letter to SCJs this morning. “In founding the Congregation, Fr. Dehon was aware of the importance of the involvement of the clergy, religious, and the laity working together in furthering the Reign of the Sacred Heart. The same year that he founded the Congregation, he also founded the ‘Reparatory Association of the Sacred Heart,’ which was open to all. This association later became known as the ‘Association of the Sacred Heart in Souls and in Society,’ with a double mission of living the spirit of love, oblation, and reparation and building the Kingdom of God in souls and in society. According to Bishop Virginio Bressanelli, the Association grew grew significantly, with 20,000 members in 1912…

“With Ms. Monica Misey stepping into her new role today as director of the Dehonian Associates for the US Province, I hope that she can help us share Fr. Dehon’s charism beyond our religious community and advance the Reign of the Sacred Heart.”

Click here to read Fr. Vien’s full letter.

You can reach Monica at mmisey@usprovince.org

Suicide prevention

In 2021, South Dakota had the fifth highest suicide rate in the United States. It is the tenth leading cause of death in the state and the highest cause of death for people age 10-19. In the video below, Fr. Jean Claude Mbassi, SCJ, a member the Lower Brule Pastoral Team, talks about how the team collaborates with others to try to address the issue and save lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call, text or email: 988

Click here or on the image below to view the brief video.

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