Weekly News: November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving art

Happy Thanksgiving

“If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough.”

– Meister Eckhart

Please note that the Provincial Offices will be closed Thursday and Friday (November 28-29) for Thanksgiving. Click here to send prayer requests and news items at any time.

Mississippi retreat

Fr. P.J. McGuire will give a retreat to the Mississippi SCJ community February 10-13, 2014. Any SCJ is welcome to attend; there is room for 12 beyond members of the Mississippi community. To reserve a spot, or to get more information, contact Fr. Jack Kurps. The retreat will take place at the Memphis diocesan retreat center; each bedroom at the center has a private bath.


The Akta Lakota Museum at St. Joseph’s Indian School was named as a recipient of the South Dakota Great Service Star for 2013.  The Great Service Star Program is sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Tourism and recognizes South Dakota businesses that show exceptional customer service to let the customer know they are appreciated.


Fraters Juancho and James at the National Catholic Youth Conference
Fraters Juancho and James at the National Catholic Youth Conference

National Catholic Youth Conference

Vocation Central was present at the National Catholic Youth Conference from November 21-23.  Frater Juan Carlos Castaneda Rojas and Frater James Nguyen helped Br. Long Nguyen at the vocational booth. The two students are pictured above.

Please remember

Fr. Paul Mortierr, a member of the Franco-European Province, died November 16. He was born in 1926, professed in 1944 and ordained in 1951.

SCJ martyrs

Bishop Joseph Wittebols
Bishop Joseph Wittebols

Tomorrow, November 26, the congregation remembers in special way those SCJs who are considered martyrs; those who gave their lives while living the Dehonian charism in service to the Church.

It was on November 26, 1964, that Bishop Joseph Wittebols and six other SCJs were beaten, tortured and killed by rebels in the Congo during the country’s civil war. Overall, 28 SCJs lost their lives during the conflict.

“For the love of the gospel the SCJs left their homeland to come to Africa,” wrote Fr. Andrea Tessarolo, an SCJ who published a book on the death of one of those martyrs, Fr. Bernard Longo. “For the love of Christ they awaited the arrival of a chaotic revolution in the Congo even if many of them could easily have fled. As missionaries, as priests and as agents of the Church they were persecuted and killed. This is the stuff of which martyrs are made.”

Click here to read more about the SCJ martyrs.

Headed to Cameroon

Fr. Charles Brown, Fr. Jan de Jong and Fr. Byron Haaland are headed to Cameroon this week to take part in the celebration of the SCJs’ 100th anniversary of  presence in the country. During the past year the Cameroon Province has had several activities to commemorate the anniversary. The celebration year will close this weekend with the blessing of a new church of the Sacred Heart in Bafoussam. The U.S. Province helped to fund the church.

The SCJs’ presence in Cameroon has not always been an easy one. Among the martyrs remembered tomorrow, on SCJ Martyr Day, are three SCJs who were killed –– shot and beheaded –– in Cameroon in 1959, when their mission station at Banka Banfang was attacked during the country’s fight for independence.

A memo from Fr. Steve

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter reminds SCJs that they need to contact the provincial secretary’s office A MONTH PRIOR to when they need a celebret (permission to exercise priestly ministry) when traveling. The Provincial Office is dependent on the timelines of dioceses so it is important to plan ahead.

As for his calendar, Fr. Steve will be in the Milwaukee area until December 6; he then goes to Washington, D.C., for the CMSM new leaders workshop. He will also take time for a retreat while there; returning December 12.

December 18-19 he has meetings with the Provincial Council.

Free to a good home

The Provincial Office has an extra 2012 National Catholic Directory. If you can use it, contact Nancy Gray at 414-427-4261. Because of the weight of the book, it will not be mailed; arrangements will need to be made to pick it up.


Gobbletov cropped
It’s been over 100 years since Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah shared the same date

It last happened in 1888 and, according to most calculations, it won’t happen again for another 77,798 years: the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

This year, November 28 is Thanksgiving and the first full day of the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, which begins at sundown the previous night.

Some are calling the combined holiday “Thanksgivukkah.” Rabbis have commented that the link of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving is better thematically than the usual Christmas-Hanukkah combinations. Both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrate religious liberty: The Pilgrims sought religious freedom in the New World, and the ancient Jews’ triumphed over Greek oppressors who had banned the practice of Judaism.

Click here to read more about the Thanksgiving – Hanukkah connection.

A Thanksgiving prayer

Thanksgiving candles 2This Thanksgiving let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve one another and to walk together in God’s gracious world. With thankful hearts we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.

Today and every day, it pleases God for us to sit as brothers and sisters as we share the bounty of the earth and the grace God has placed in each blessed soul. For this we all give thanks and praise to our loving and gracious God.

From Songs of Our Hearts, Meditations of Our Souls: Prayers for Black Catholics, edited by Cecilia A. Moor, C. Vanessa White, and Paul M. Marshall