Weekly News: November 18, 2013

It's not always study time in the Dehon Formation Community. Here, Frater Juancho helps prepare the evening meal with Cheryl, the house cook.
It’s not always study time in the Dehon Formation Community. Here, Frater Juancho helps prepare the evening meal with Cheryl, the house cook.

Hello, my name is…

The Dehon Formation House in Chicago is home to an international, intergenerational, multi-program community of professed SCJs and those discerning religious life with the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The community not only houses the initial formation programs (candidacy, novitiate, philosophy and theology) of the province but also welcomes SCJs in sabbatical or graduate programs.

As they do each year, those who are a part of the formation community introduced themselves on the province website.

Liem Nguyen
Liem Nguyen

Newest to the community is Liem Nguyen, a first-year candidate. He writes that “I am from sunny California:  Orange County.  I’ve lived there since emigrating to the United States from Vietnam.  I was born in 1982… I have always felt an attraction to ministry and serving God’s people as a priest, and have been involved in my parish.  I finally decided to explore my call because of the example of my local pastor, and Fr. Francis Vu Tran, whom I met through the national Vietnamese youth group, in which I ministered as a catechist.”

Another introduction is from Frater Joseph Vu, who is in formation, but not in residence at the formation house this year. Instead, he is doing his ministry year in Houston.

“I am really enjoying my time here at Our Lady of Guadalupe. The workload is considerably more than when I was in school studying, but I love the ministry,” he wrote. “The people here are very friendly and care a great deal about the life of the parish. It is really inspiring for me.

Frater Joseph Dinh with a student at OLG
Frater Joseph Dinh with a student at OLG

“My ministry here at OLG mainly includes working at the school that is attached to the parish. I tutor students from grade 2 to 4 who are struggling and need extra attention in regards to their schoolwork. I also help the teachers with their classes and various after-school activities.

My other ministry at OLG includes helping in faith formation with our high school classes and junior high classes. I have had experience in faith formation before, but a new environment and new people bring about new challenges. I really do enjoy spending time with the youth and helping them on their faith journey.”

Click here to read the rest of the introductions, including those from members of the formation team, and other SCJs who make up the community.

Do you know of someone who might be discerning a vocation? Share the link! The annual feature on our formation community is one of the most viewed items on our website each year. Share who the SCJs are with others.


Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 12.58.14 PM

Devastation in the Philippines

“It is with great sadness that we have witnessed once again the force and the devastation of extreme weather,” wrote Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, superior general. “This time it occurred in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippine coast last Friday. With storm surges of up to six meters [almost 20 feet] and winds exceeding 200 km per hour [approximately 125 mph], the death toll has reached many thousands, especially near the coasts. At least 800,000 people have been displaced.

“It is with a sense of relief that we can report that none of our confreres in the Philippines has been killed or injured. We do not have a precise report yet as to the damage done by the winds.”

Some of the families of Philippine SCJs saw their homes damaged, but no deaths have been reported.

The Priests of the Sacred Heart are sending money to the SCJ community in the Philippines to assist in relief efforts. “We have sent the money to Fr. Francis Pupkowski, the superior of the Philippine Region, so that he can direct the relief money to the neediest parts of the country,” wrote Fr. Ornelas.

The general curia has given $20,000, which was matched by the US Province.

The Province Development Office quickly put together an email fund-raising campaign that brought in significant funds to aid in the efforts. Other entities in the congregation are also pledging money.

“In this time of need, we want to express our sympathy and our support,” concluded Fr. Ornelas. “We hope that with international assistance the Philippine people will soon be able to rebuild homes and replace the crops that were ruined by the very high winds. We will support them also with our prayers.”

Keep in prayer

Fr. Claude Bédard of the Montréal community had surgery November 7 to treat skin cancer that was found within his nose. During the follow-up last week it was decided to do another biopsy. Fr. Claude is to receive the results of the tests on Tuesday, November 19.

Carole Davis, the sister of Fr. Gary Lantz, has been hospitalized in the ICU at Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Il., with congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Fr. Gary is a member of the South Dakota community and lives in Chamberlain.


Although he has been with the Sacred Heart Community at SHML for quite some time, Br. Brian Tompkins is now OFFICIALLY a member of the U.S. Province. Originally from the Canadian Region, he is a member of and ministers with the Sacred Heart Community.

Johannesburg: the SCJs’ newest community in South Africa

As noted previously, Fr. Tom Cassidy is spending his first months out of office visiting the countries for which he had responsibility when he was on General Council in Rome.  During his travels he is maintaining a journal; several excerpts from it are being posted on the province blog. The following is from Johannesburg, South Africa:

Fr. Tom with students in Johannesburg
Fr. Tom with students in Johannesburg

“University Road, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa –– This is my address for the next three days! It is our newest South African SCJ community. The South African Province purchased the property from a community of sisters who retired from their ministry here. It is in a pleasant area in this large metropolitan city of over 8 million inhabitants. The house is located about a four-minute walk from the University of Johannesburg Auckland Park Kingsway Campus.

“The Jesuits have their community house a few doors from here. According to Fr. Peter Surdel, the area is also home to a number of actors as the studios for South African Television are very close to here as well… This morning we had morning prayer and Mass at 7:30 a.m., followed by breakfast cooked by one of the students. There are five in the house right now. Three are professed (in vows) preparing to study theology in Pietermaritzburg. Two are from Mozambique and one from Angola. The other two are candidates for the South African Province. All five are studying English…”

Click here to read the rest of this and other entries from Fr. Tom’s journal. 

On the road

The province vocation team will be on the road this week at the National Catholic Youth Conference November 21-23, 2013 in Indianapolis, In.

This is a bi-annual event for high school and college students from around the country.  It takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Indianapolis Colts play).  Approximately 15,000 young people take part.

Click here to learn more about NCYC.

Many of the conference sessions will be streamed on the NCYC website; most are geared toward parents and teens. Take a look and see if there might be something you’d like to share with a parent or teen you know.

If you can understand Italian

Fr. Bartolomeo Sorge, the opening speaker of the meeting
Fr. Bartolomeo Sorge, the opening speaker of the meeting

Fr. Bartolomeo Sorge, a noted Jesuit theologian, lecturer, writer, and socio-political scientist, gave a presentation on “Perspectives of Consecrated Life in the Church and World” to SCJ Major Superiors at their meeting in Rome earlier this month.

“We need to be courageous and take new paths knowing that sometimes we will fail,” said Fr. Bartolomeo. “But we still have to take them because we must invent something new. We are called to be consecrated persons in discernment…The strength of the Church is in the holiness of its members, its poor.”

Videos of the presentation have been posted on YouTube; the language is Italian. Click on the following links to view them:

Click here for the presentation

Click here for the Q&A


Br. Mike Fette
4800 48th Street NE
Rochester, Minnesota 55903