A prayer of thanksgiving and compassion
O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen
-Samuel F. Pugh
The Provincial Offices will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. May you have a blessed holiday!
In paintings, SCJ seeks to capture the humanity of the homeless
“I could no longer ‘step over’ the homeless as I entered stores or walked on the streets,” said Fr. Guy Blair, an SCJ in San Antonio. “I could no longer speak about Jesus Christ if I did not give of myself, do something for them.”
That “something” was the start of an informal ministry to the homeless that includes bringing meals, clothing, and other needed items to those on the streets of San Antonio. It also means being present, hearing the stories of those whom he serves, and getting a sense of their humanity.
“There are some brave stories, but most are distressing and heartrending,” he said. “At least one man I know committed suicide, his memory haunts me.”
With their permission, Fr. Guy recently started painting images of the homeless people he meets. His initial plan was to use the paintings to “stir public interest in the wretchedness of their lives,” said Fr. Guy. But now that he has completed eight of them he isn’t sure how he wants to share the paintings. “They are so personal.” However, he has shared two on the province website, where he speaks more about his outreach to the homeless.
“I do what I can because I could not call myself a follower of Christ and turn my face away from so many suffering people.”
Click here to read more.
Last week we asked for prayers for Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ, who was scheduled for back surgery on November 18. For various reasons he and his medical professionals decided to cancel the surgery. He thanks everyone for their prayers and support as works to find non-surgical options to treat his back.
“I felt God calling me”
Frater Hung Pham, SCJ, professed his first vows as a Dehonian in 2020; it was another step on the path of discernment that began with a retreat in 2013. “A fire enflamed my heart,” he said. “I felt God calling me.” After that retreat he joined a prayer group and soon after, started going to daily Mass. His discernment path eventually led him to a weekend visit to our formation community.
“I met a wonderful community, with great heart and great hospitality, they took care of me well,” said Fra. Hung. Soon after, he applied to be a candidate. He is now a seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “I look forward to requesting the Ministry of Lector in the spring of 2022. And I am applying for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in the summer of 2022.”
Click here or on the image above to hear Fra. Hung talk about his vocation.
Open for visitors!
Fr. Vincent Suparman, SCJ, superior of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, FL, would like SCJs to know that the community is once again open to visitors. “Any SCJ is welcome to come to take time off, visit or make a personal retreat,” he said. The retirement community had been closed to visitors during much of the previous year-and-a-half due to the pandemic.
To reserve a room, click here to contact Fr. Vincent.
Dehonian orphanage attacked in midst of attempted land-grab
The Priests of the Sacred Heart have been in Kisangani (DR Congo) since 1897. They have been a constant presence to the people of Congo in the midst of conflict, and even war, a war that claimed the lives of 29 SCJs in 1964.
For many years, that presence has included a 75-hectare piece of land (approximately 185 acres), a parcel that was originally far from the city center of Kisangani.
“But with the rural exodus, now the city has grown close to the SCJs’ land and many people want it for their own use,” said Fr. Floribert Bulo Dhelo, SCJ, provincial secretary of the Congolese Province. Fr. Floribert is currently studying in the ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
Located on the SCJs’ land is the philosophy scholastic for the province, as well as the Saint Laurent and Saint Bakhita Center which takes in and cares for abandoned and orphaned children. On October 9, a group of 40 people armed with machetes, iron bars, sticks and firearms attacked the center.
“That day, they were ruthless, said Fr. Floribert. “They beat and injured several children, and beat up members of the center’s staff.” The attackers remained on the property through the next day. “During that time, they vandalized, broke and stole items from the center. The children had to be moved for three days, seeking refuge with the governor of the province…
“It was thanks to the intervention of the population, of the neighborhood youth, that the group that attacked the center in October eventually left.
“May God help us! Please keep the people of Kisangani in your prayers.”
Click here to read more.
+ Fr. José Luis Segura Lacruz, a member of the Venezuelan Region, died on November 12. He was born in 1927, professed in 1948 and ordained in 1952.
+ Mrs. Eni Botelho Resende, the grandmother of Fr. Antonio Maria Resende Pereira, SCJ, died in Lavras, Brazil, on November 13. She was 88 years old. Fr. Antonio is a member of the Toronto SCJ community.
Dehonian Memorial Day
November 26 is commemorated throughout the congregation as “SCJ Memorial Day,” a time to remember in a special way those SCJs who gave their lives in ministry. Among them were Bishop Joseph Wittebols and 27 other Dehonians who died during the 1964 Simba rebellion in the Congo. November 26 is the anniversary of the bishop’s death.
Click here to read more and download a memorial service for the day.
The history of the province
Last week the novitiate community received a tour of the Provincial Archives, seeing the house journals and other historical artifacts of generations past. Fr. Wayne Jenkins, SCJ, is the archivist; he is assisted by Fr. Ed Zemlik, SCJ. The novitiate community includes Michael Wodarczyk, Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong and Jacob Smith (novices), along with Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ (novice master) and Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ (associate novice master). They are pictured below; Fr. Byron and Fr. Wayne are in the middle with the book.