Weekly News: November 6, 2023

We pray…

Gracious God,
you have blessed me
with many gifts and talents.
Grant me the wisdom to know
how best to use them
for the glory of your name.

Jesus calls, “Come, follow me.”
I want to follow him
and be faithful to my call.
Help me to see in myself what you see,
and give me the courage
to follow wherever you may lead.

Bless the Church
with generous hearts,
eager to serve your people
and to spread your Word.


Vocation Awareness Week

November 5-7 is National Vocation Awareness Week, an annual week-long celebration dedicated to promoting vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life through prayer, invitation, and education, and to renew prayers and support for those who are discerning a vocation.

While marketing campaigns and social media posts are important in helping to make the Priests of the Sacred Heart known, every SCJ who has taken on the role of Province Vocation Director reminds members of the community that “the best vocation tool is the SCJs themselves.” Personal invitation and witness are often the things that encourage a young person to take a step forward on the road to discernment. The invitation can come from an SCJ, but also from a parent, coworker, parishioner, teacher or friend. Sometimes it takes another person to help us identify God’s call for us. The Province Vocation Office encourages you to challenge and invite. Do you see a vocational call in someone in your life?

“What I love most about my religious vocation is my endless opportunity of accompanying others on their journey of faith,” says Fr. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, in a video made by the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement for National Vocation Awareness Week. Fr. Henry is the vocation director for the US Province.

Click here or on the image below to view the video.

Vocation prayer cards available

The prayer posted at the top of the page is found on two prayer cards available through the Province Vocation Office. Click on either image below to download a PDF of the prayer card. If you’d like to receive a hard copy of either prayer card, click here to contact the Vocation Office.

To leave the world a better place

On November 1, 2023 (All Saints Day), Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ,  and Fr. Gustave Lulendo N’dotony, SCJ, superiors of the US Province and Canadian Region, wrote a letter in the name of both of their councils, to SCJs in North America, urging them to take to heart Pope Francis’ call to “protect our common home.”

“The book of Genesis recounts the creation of the world, where God created everything and saw that it was good,” begins the letter. “God then entrusted human beings with the responsibility of taking care of God’s creation. In his encyclical letter Laudato Si’ and apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, Pope Francis identifies our failures to protect our common home, which have led to catastrophic consequences, e.g., extreme heat waves and heavy snowfalls, severe droughts and floods. These extreme conditions have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable, leading to famine and the displacement of millions of people, contributing to what seems like a never-ending cycle of poverty.

“Although not mentioned explicitly in Laudato Si’ and Laudate Deum, weapons proliferation is another alarming concern that threatens our very existence. The cycle of countries acquiring more advanced and sophisticated weapons only increases the risk of military confrontations and wars. The destructive consequences of wars on people and Mother Earth are well-known. As Fr. Dehon put it: “[War] gives us an idea of hell!”

“…We must be committed to the generations that come after us. As Dehonians dedicated to social justice, we have the responsibility to leave the world as a better place for future generations.”

Click here to access the letter.

Please remember

+ Bea Stein, the 79-year-old sister of Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, died on November 1. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents and four siblings. She and her husband had two adult children: Jane and Susan. “I thank all of you for your kindness and prayers,” said Fr. Mac.

+ Fr. José Franco Ribeiro, a member of the Brazil-Sao Paulo Province, also died on November 1. He was born in 1932, professed in 1954 and ordained in 1958.

Cause for SCJ’s beatification moves forward

On Friday, November 3, in the parish church of Santa Giuliana in Curtarolo (northern Italy), Bishop Claudio Cipolla of Padua closed the diocesan phase for the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Father Bernardo Aquilino Longo, SCJ, on the 59th anniversary of his death in 1964. He was killed by Simba guerrillas in Nduye, Congo.

Click here to read more about Fr. Bernard.

Click here to view photos from the November 3 ceremony.

Click here to access a PDF of a prayer card for Fr. Bernard.


Tomorrow, November 7, is the post-chapter Zoom session for chapter delegates. It begins at 10:00 a.m. (Central). If you were a delegate to this year’s chapter and did not receive an email with a link to the meeting, click here.


Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, the Leo John Dehon Library at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, is hosting a lunchtime presentation by Fr. Yvon Sheehy, SCJ, and Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ. The two SCJs will talk about their experiences of ministry among the Lakota people in South Dakota.

The presentation will take place in Classroom 2 on Monday, November 13, from noon to 1:00 p.m. at SHSST. You are invited to pick up your lunch in the dining room and bring it to Classroom 2 where there are tables and chairs.

Synod concludes

The XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Synod on Synodality) concluded on October 29. Before its conclusion, participants approved a letter that gave thanks for their experience, spoke of the work of the synod, and stated their hope that all people will be able to “concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary communion indicated by the word ‘synod'”

Click here to read the letter on the Vatican News website.

Click here to read the synthesis report, “A Synodal Church in Mission.”


The focus of the November issue of As a Rule is “liberation,” with Rule of Life No. 36 as the starting point for reflections: “We know that today’s world is in the throes of an intense struggle for liberation: liberation from all that does injury to the dignity of people and threatens the realization of their most profound aspirations: truth, justice, love, freedom,” states the passage.

“What are legitimate needs and who is in the right?” asks Fr. Duy Nguyen, SCJ, in his reflection. “This is the dilemma. Some have the bootstrap mentality, that everything is achievable if one would “pull themselves up by the bootstrap.” Nonetheless, there is no denying obstacles and impediments within systems and structures that prevent a person from gaining access to a full and worthy life.

“These issues and problems are man-made. Solutions can also be man-made. As human beings, individual and collective, we possess the power bestowed by God to “contribute to establishing the reign of justice and Christian charity in the world” (SCJ, 2011). There are two options: stand idly and do nothing or contribute to bettering the lives of the marginalized and powerless. We are capable of doing what is noble and base. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus penetrate rationales and consciences and move us with compassion.”

Jon Sweeney, co-director of SHSST’s Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, brings his reflection closer to home, writing that “I wish we would endeavor more often to help those in our neighborhoods, or in the neighborhood near our own to which we only pass through quickly, to find this natural, God-given, too-often absent freedom and joy. This is what God made each of us to experience, but in reality, so few do. May this, too, be our work of liberation in our world.

Click here to read the rest of the November issue.

JPR website updated

The Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission has been busy updating the JPR website. Fr. Duy Nguyen, SCJ, JPR director, directs readers to the site’s welcome page:

“The content on this site has been developed by the US Province Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Office to educate, animate and empower SCJs, Dehonian Associates and parish leaders for action on behalf of social transformation.  The World Synod of Bishops wrote in 1971 thatAction on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.’  No one recognized this more instinctively than did our Founder, Fr. Leo Dehon, who dreamed of ‘the Reign of the Sacred Heart in souls and societies’ and worked tirelessly on behalf of workers and the poor and marginalized.

“The US Province’s Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission invites you to peruse these pages and use them in whatever way they are helpful.  If you are looking for resources you can’t find here, or have any suggestions or feedback, please contact: Director of Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation at 414-427-4273 or justdir@usprovince.org.”

One of the new features of the site is a General Comments section in which people are invited to share their comments and reflections on items on the website, or JPR issues in general.

Within the next week members of the US Province will receive a link to a survey from the JPR Commission; the commission seeks input on what it should choose as issues of focus.

The URL of the JPR site: https://www.dehoniansocialjustice.org

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