Weekly News: November 20, 2023

During this week of Thanksgiving we pray…

Ever living God,
your grace sustains us
and your love challenges us.

We praise you for your goodness,
we thank you for all you have given us,
and we ask for your guidance.

Make us hunger and thirst for righteousness,
and so more fully embody
your life in the heart of the world.

Through Christ our Lord.


Prayer from This Day of God, Community Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart

PLEASE NOTE that the Provincial Offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 23-24, for Thanksgiving.

A people of generosity and presence

“The word for ‘generosity’ in the Lakota language begins with ‘heart.’ Generosity is considered one of the greatest virtues of the Lakota people.” The quote is from Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ. In commemoration of Native American Heritage Month, he and Fr. Yvon Sheehy, SCJ, teamed up last week for a lunchtime presentation on their years of ministry in South Dakota. The session was hosted by the Leo John Dehon Library at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

Fr. Jim spoke of the beauty of the Lakota language, noting that much of its purpose is to communicate with God. “There are no foul words in Lakota, no curse words,” said Fr. Jim. “The worst that you can call someone is a ‘turkey.’ There are no F-bombs in Lakota, no words that would allow you to take God’s name in vain. The relationship with God in the language is both transcendent and immanent.”

Both SCJs reflected on the integration of Christian and Lakota traditions. When he was bishop of Rapid City, Archbishop Charles Chaput, created a liturgical committee to identify indigenous practices that could be incorporated into the Catholic liturgy. One such example is the smudging ceremony, which serves as an act of purification. The Lakota language itself is now an accepted liturgical language.

Before concluding the presentation, Fr. Jim walked participants through the Sign of the Cross and Lord Have Mercy in the Lakota language before giving a final blessing in Lakota.

Click here to read more on the province website.

Click here or on the image below to view a video of the presentation.

Florida visitation 

Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, writes that the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, recently welcomed Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, for his annual provincial visitation. “In his opening remarks to the community he focused on the Centennial celebrations in Milwaukee and Lower Brule, collaborations with other entities, and special events such workshops and the Zoom Hours of Recollection.” After individual visits, Fr. Vien held a concluding meeting “in which he talked about the internationality and interculturality of the province, as well as its long history of support to entities overseas.” He also spoke about the newly developing collaboration with other religious communities, including the two members of the Theresian Missionaries of Mary (TMM) now preparing for ministry in South Dakota.

And then on to South Africa!

Tomorrow, Fr. Vien Nguyen begins his journey to South Africa for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Dehonian presence in the country. The US Province has a long history with South Africa; many American SCJs have served there, including Fr. John Strittmatter, SCJ, with whom Fr. Vien will visit. Of course, our own Bishop Joseph Potocnak, SCJ, served in South Africa for many years. Even after his retirement as bishop of De Aar, Bishop Joe would return to do help-out ministry in the province.

Dehonians represented at NCYC

Fr. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, Frater Jonathan Nguyen, SCJ, and Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, are pictured above at the Dehonians’ booth set up at the National Catholic Youth Conference. It took place November 16-18 at the at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. NCYC is a powerful experience of prayer, community, evangelization, catechesis, service, and empowerment for Catholic teenagers and their adult chaperones, bringing together Catholic youth from across the United States.

Please note!

The correct office phone number for Chris Lambert, Province Director of Financial Services, is: 414-427-4269

The number is incorrect in the North American Personnel Directory and the recent Cor Unum. Our apologies for the error!

Fr. Tom

Welcome back!

After several months visiting with our Dehonian communities in India and Vietnam, Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, is back home at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.

“Since my days in Rome, I have been a convert and promoter of living outside your country for a time,” wrote Fr. Tom in his daily journal which he shares with friends and family via email during his travels. “In my opinion, it helps you see the beauty of your own culture and its shadow side, and the same is true for the country you find yourself in. For some, it is easy; for others, it is rather challenging to transition from a world you know to one you do not.

“One advantage an SCJ, or for that matter anyone from a religious community, has is being able to stay in one of your communities. One of the hallmarks of SCJs is our sense of hospitality. I’m always a bit taken aback when outsiders comment on our hospitality. We take no classes on how to do this. It seems to rub off on us as we grow into the community. It is also a delight to see how hospitality is practiced in different parts of the world (and, by extension, our communities).”

Fr. Dehon and Sint Unum

Fr. Emerson Ruiz, SCJ, will be the featured speaker at the November 28th ECS Lunch Speaker Series at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. A student in the ECS program, Fr. Emerson is from the Brazil – São Paulo Province. His presentation will be on Fr. Dehon and Sint Unum. Anyone is welcome to attend! Grab a lunch in the SHSST dining room and head to Classroom 2 for the lunchtime presentation the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Keep in prayer

Fr. John Czyzynski’s sister, Kay, has been hospitalized in the ICU with an infection. She has been battling Leukemia over the past year. Fr. John is with her in Cleveland and called this morning with an update.  He said that unfortunately, Kay continues to struggle. She has a fever from the infection, but the source of the infection has not yet been found. She is receiving morphine for back pain and will have an ultrasound to check on fluid in her lungs. Kay is not able to swallow, and so is receiving nutrition via IVs. “Despite all this, her spirits are good,” said Fr. John, who added that his sister gave him a “honey-do” list of tasks to take care of at her house while he is there.

Fr. John offers his thanks for continued prayers for Kay.

Please remember

+ Hernán Dario Franco, the brother-in-law of Fr. Juan Carlos Castañeda Rojas, SCJ, died on November 19. Fr. Juancho will be traveling to Colombia to be with his family. 

+ Fr. Jean Cayrac, a member of the Franco-European Province, died on November 11. He was born in 1930, professed in 1950 and ordained in 1956.

Happy anniversary!

Yesterday, November 19, parishioners at Queen of Peace parish in Olive Branch, MS, celebrated Fr. Jack Kurps’ 46th anniversary of priesthood ordination. Fr. Jack was the parish’s first full-time pastor, and while he has served in many other roles since then he regularly gets back to celebrate Mass with the Queen of Peace community. During his homily Fr. Jack encouraged young people to consider a vocation to the religious and life and the priesthood. He also urged the adults in the parish to help create an environment that supports discernment to service in the Church.

Fr. Jack was ordained on November 19, 1977; last year he celebrated his 50th anniversary of religious vows as a Priest of the Sacred Heart (Dehonian).

A Bite of Wisdom

A few weeks ago we noted that Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, has created an informal space on YouTube to share stories from SCJs about a wide variety of topics. Today, he published the second in a series of stories from Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ. It is one of four stories that Fr. Tony has published in a small booklet titled “Fr. Tony’s Stories.” There is a phone number at the end of the video for anyone who may want to receive the booklet.

Today’s story is about a little boy, his father, and a fire truck. Click here or on the image below to view the video. It runs approximately five minutes.

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