“They and their ministry have not been forgotten”
In our closing photo in the Fridge Notes last week we wrote that Frs. Stephen Huffstetter, Charles Brown and Leonard Elder are going to the Democratic Republic of Congo this week. They will take part in the Congolese Province’s 50th anniversary events of remembrance and celebration. It was 50 years ago this month that 28 members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart were martyred during the Simba Revolution. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Congolese Province.
For Fr. Leonard, it is an opportunity to return to the place where his vocation for ordained ministry blossomed. For almost ten years he served in the country as an SCJ brother. He returned to the States in 1991 to enter the seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1996.
Now, he looks forward to going back to Congo to see some of the people with whom he worked “and assuring them by this visit that they and their ministry have not been forgotten by me,” said Fr. Leonard.
Click here to read more about Fr. Leonard on the province website as he reflects on his years as a missionary.
Frs. Leonard, Charlie and Steve leave for Africa today (Nov. 17). We hope to share photos and other information from them during their travels. Much will depend on the possibility for internet connections.
Perhaps they should read…
Travel, and in particular, visiting the missions, was very important to Fr. Dehon. It was not only a way to learn about the world, but the long transit time of early 20th century voyages allowed for meditation and reflection.
Last Friday’s Dehonian Spirituality update reflected on this.
While in Brazil, Fr. Dehon composed a series of meditations which he entitled, Lessons on the Sea. In the introduction to this work he offered his reflections as “Pius readings for travelers and missionaries who undertake long voyages, and for people who spend a summer holiday at the ocean.’”
Something for Frs. Steve, Leonard and Charlie to read on the way to Congo?
Traveling by boat to Latin America in 1906 to visit his missionaries, Fr. Dehon noted that “For many hours one lies on one’s folding chair and one dreams. I dreamed of the things of God. The ocean, I thought, is the heart of the earth. It receives all the rivers with their filth, and it sends it back as rain to fertilize all the earth with its purified water. One can see here a symbol of the Heart of Jesus, which receives all the rivers of our sins in the depths of reparation and expiation, and sends back to us all the currents of grace in order to distribute spiritual life, fertility, strength, and joy to all souls.”
Click here to read more on the Dehonian Spirituality webpage.
Click here to receive the Dehonian Spirituality updates by email.
Speaking of travel
Fr. Tom Cassidy returns this week from his travels in Indonesia. Be sure to visit the province blog to read his recent journal entries. The latest are from the novitiate in Gisting. Fr. Tom wrote that the community has a full house with 16 novices and 10 postulants. He also noted that the novitiate has a small candle-making business that helps to support the community.
“The candles are for liturgical or religious use. With Advent just around the corner they are busy putting together packets for Advent wreaths,” wrote.
Click here to visit the province blog.
We need your input!
Br. Frank Presto, provincial secretary, reminds SCJs that “the Preparatory Committee for the General Chapter has requested that each local community discuss three questions related to our lives and our core values. Your collective thoughts need to be sent to BOTH Br. Duane Lemke and Fr. Jan de Jong (who volunteered to serve as the synthesis committee) soon. They need to send the synthesis report to the General Curia by early December.”
By the way, happy birthday Fr. Jan! He turns 77 today, November 17.
SCJs are welcome to attend this Wednesday’s Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology rector’s conference where Fr. Yulius Sunardi will present information from his recently defended doctoral thesis “Predictive Factors for Commitment to the Priesthood: Insights for Seminarians and Priests in their Vocation.”
The presentation begins at 8:30 am. November 19 in the Provincial Conference Center.
If you haven’t seen it
Besides the US Province Facebook page, there is now a Facebook page for congregation, administered by the Generalate. Click here to view it. If you are a member of Facebook be sure to “like” it and share the page with your friends.
Recent posts to the Generalate’s page include photos from India, South Africa, Poland, Brazil and Rome. This week the page is expected to feature information from the Polish Chapter, which begins in Krakow today.
Six seminarians from Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology were admitted to candidacy for holy orders on Nov. 5. Bishop Richard J. Sklba, auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, presided at the all-seminary Mass at which the rite was conducted. The bishop is in the back row, far left (looking a bit like St. Nick right now with his grey beard!).