Weekly News: November 29, 2021

Advent begins

Yesterday, you may have noticed an e-mail from the Dehonian Associates Committee. It was the first in a series of Advent mailings that will be sent each Sunday during Advent, as well as Christmas Day. If you are on the mailing list for the Fridge Notes, you are also on the mailing list for Advent e-blast. If you would like to add someone to the list, click here.

If you missed it, click here to view yesterday’s Advent mailing.

Members of the current Provincial Council with Fr. Ed at the beginning of the term

Coming to the end of the term

The Provincial Council next meets on December 14-15. This will be the last meeting of the current provincial administration prior to the January 3-7, 2022 US Provincial Election Assembly.

Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, will complete his second three-year term as provincial superior on February 2, when the new administration is installed. The Election Assembly was originally to have taken place in July but due to the pandemic it was postponed, and Fr. Ed’s term lengthened by six months. Fr. Ed was elected to his first term in 2015, succeeding Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ, who had been elected to the General Council.

Also to be elected are the five members of the Provincial Council; their term runs concurrent with that of the provincial superior. Members of the current council include Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ (vice provincial), Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, and Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ. Generally, the provincial superior serves no more than two terms but there is no limit to the number of terms a councilor can serve.

Most of the work of the Election Assembly will take place at the Provincial Conference Center in Hales Corners; liturgies will be at Good Shepherd Chapel at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. However, students and staff at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology may see a few more SCJs wandering around at lunch that week.

Please keep members of the province in your prayers as they prepare for the assembly. Currently, they are reviewing the State of the Province report. SCJs receive the written report (48 pages!) prior to the assembly; Fr. Ed will offer personal reflections and highlights from the report at the start of the January gathering.

SCJs – if you have not received the State of the Province report, or if you would prefer to receive it as a PDF, click here. Also, please review Br. Frank Presto’s email of November 22 if you have not done so already. In particular, SCJs traveling to the assembly need to make room arrangements ASAP. And, if you haven’t let Br. Frank know if you are attending the assembly, please do so today.

Safe travels!

Speaking of the Provincial Council, one of its members –– Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ –– begins a year-long sabbatical this week. On December 2 he will fly to Poland, his home province, to visit family for the first time in approximately three years. “It will be good to finally see my family!” said Br. Andy, whose travels were delayed due to the pandemic and immigration paperwork. Br. Andy is a member of the Dehonian community at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston where he has served as local superior for the past several years.

Also going on sabbatical is Br. Brian Tompkins, SCJ, who ministers with the retired SCJs at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. On December 11 he will go to Canada to begin a three-month break, visiting family and SCJs.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in December include: Fr. Chuck Wonch on Dec. 5, Fr. John Strittmatter on Dec. 6, Fr. Gary Lantz on Dec. 8, and Br. Clay Diaz on Dec. 19. Happy birthday!

Reflecting on the readings

Fr. Joe

Fr. Joe Dean, SCJ, was asked by the General Communications Office to reflect on the first readings of Advent. He began by noting that “Six years ago (1/11/15), in an interview in The Sunday New York Times Book Review, someone observed that ‘it takes four generations to heal one act of violence.’  That amazing claim must surely lead us to think hard about daily events, from the brutality refugees endure, to war-driven famine, to the sexual abuse in homes in every nation.  And our reflection can easily lead us to despair of any possibility of a future with hope.

“Yet the claim also compels us to dwell on the Scripture readings for today.  When, for example, St. Paul foresees the moment when the Lord will come accompanied by an army of angels; when he prays that we might grow in love for one another and for all, he is not preaching empty piety.  Nor is the Son of God warning us of the days to come by using parabolic language we can ignore.  The ‘blessed hope’ we await, to quote the Liturgy, speaks to the sin that turns us so cold and indifferent that we live as if there were no God—as if the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ pierced Heart were a sign of nothing but a Jewish man executed on a Roman cross…”

Click here to read Fr. Joe’s full reflection on the general website.

Bridget Martin leads prayer from Rome

Principal leads prayer from Rome

Sacred Heart School Principal Bridget Martin was recently in Rome as part of the Dehonians’ international Educare Committee, a meeting of Dehonian Educators from around the world. Bridget has served on the committee for several years and taken part in previous congregational education events.

While at the conference, she led her school’s morning prayers via Zoom from the main chapel of the Generalate in Rome.

More than just a new floor

The community chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery (St. Joseph’s Chapel) has a new floor with the informal logo of the Priests of the Sacred Heart at its center.

“Our carpet in the chapel was past its prime and needed to be replaced,” said Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, superior of the SHM community. “Fr. Ziggy [Morawiec, SCJ] suggested that we incorporate the logo. We had a committee of three people come up with ideas which we presented to the rest of the community. When we looked into costs, we were surprised that the design was within our initial budget.”

In March, the community finalized the order. But as with many projects this year, it was delayed due to supply chain issues. The floor was installed a few weeks ago.

“The logo is inlaid into the floor, it is not an applique,” said Br. Duane. “In designing it we tried to honor the overall design of the chapel, matching the wood found in other areas of the chapel.”

Many thanks to Fr. Josimar Baggio, an SCJ student in the ECS program at SHSST, for taking photos of the chapel for us to share.

St. Joseph’s Students embrace cultural identity in Ribbon Skirt projects

November marked the beginning of a significant cultural identity project for young women at St. Joseph’s Indian School. The Mission Integration Department launched its effort to provide a ribbon skirt to every female student in the grade school. At the same time, counselors are helping young women in the high school program to make their own.

At the grade school level, the first step involved working with seventh- and eighth-grade girls to “vision” a skirt representing their identity. The Mission Integration Department assembled packets of sewing materials and provided them to volunteers from across campus who created the skirts for students.

High school students were invited to a ribbon-skirt-making event on November 20. Girls brought sketches that they created beforehand, complete with their color choices. ShyAnne, pictured above, said that she chose red because she is graduating from Chamberlian High School this year and red is one of the school colors. The ribbons chosen represent aspects of each girl’s identity.

In North America, Indigenous women have adorned their clothing with ribbons for more than 400 years. Silk ribbons, brought by European traders, inspired this uniquely Native American art form.

Pictured above: Houseparent Melissa Wisenbaugh assists senior ShyAnne Jumping Eagle.

Putting up the lights

As did many during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Novitiate community started putting up its Advent and Christmas decorations, starting with the stringing of the lights. How do those strands get so tangled up between novitiate classes?

Pictured above are Jacob Smith (on the ladder, of course – thanks for noticing “Jacob’s ladder” Fr. Vien!), Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong, Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, and Michael Wodarczyk.

Advent begins, and we pray…

God of kindness,
you so loved the world that you sent Jesus, your Son,
to become one of us.

In response to your love,
I offer you my life:
my energies, my needs, my intentions.
Receive my offering;
enable me to unite it with your Word made flesh.
During these days full of grace,
inspire me with an active hope:
a hope that finds flesh in my daily life,
a hope that heals and unites,
a hope that welcomes your Word in everyone I meet.

So, when creation reaches its destiny,
at the coming of Jesus,
may I go out to join my heart with his
into one great prayer of thanksgiving and praise
to you, our loving God.

Click here to subscribe to the weekly news (Fridge Notes) via email