Weekly News: Oct. 30, 2017

Bishop Kopacz cuts the ribbon at the new center with assistance from Fr. Thi and friends.

Fr. John E. Young Center dedicated

Last week Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson blessed the new Fr. John E. Young Center at Queen of Peace parish in Olive Branch, Miss. Joining parishioners at the blessing were representatives from the SCJ community, including Fr. Thi Pham, Fr. Leonard Elder, Fr. Jack Kurps and Fr. David Szatkowski.

Fr. John was a well-loved pastor of Queen of Peace from 1993 until 2004, when he had to leave ministry due to illness. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor; Fr. John died in 2005. The center is a tribute to an SCJ who impacted many in northern Mississippi.

“My family and I came to Queen of Peace in early 1995 and were very impressed that the pastor was so moved by his faith that he performed his homilies without notes,” wrote Leonard Temple on a tribute page to Fr. John. “He just walked around the front of the church speaking WITH us – not AT us –– from his heart. His passion bellowed from his soft spoken words and we were hooked. The building on Sandidge road was no cathedral in design, but the unity and fellowship that grew from that little building was greater than the fanciest cathedral you could ever find. We were very proud of our church and most importantly the strong bond that Fr. John helped us all to achieve… We were always impressed by his openness. He was not an ‘uppity’ or ‘holier than thou’ person. He was someone who was always approachable and no matter what the issue, always had the right thing to say to make the situation easier to understand.”

Our thanks to Laura Grisham of Sacred Heart Southern Missions for providing photos from the dedication. Click here to view the album.


Nada, Riwa and Andre surrounded by the SCJ community and members of the Sunday worship group

Refugee family celebrates 1st year in Canada

Last year Dehonians in Ottawa, in partnership with those who join the community in worship on Sundays, welcomed a refugee family from Syria: Nada Sabha and her adult children Riwa and Andre Bouland. The Dehonians joined Canadians across the country in a national project to welcome, sponsor and resettle Syrians who had fled their country as it plunged deeper into a violent civil war.

On Sunday, October 22, the family celebrated its first year in Canada. They did so with a meal of thanks, featuring Syrian dishes, for those who had helped them. The meal took place at the SCJ community house in Ottawa.

“It was a wonderful evening with lots of laughter,” said Fr. John van den Hengel, regional superior. “On behalf of the family, Riwa Boulad thanked the sponsors and all the new friends of the family for their support. It was an emotional moment for them. They have come to love their new country and have come a long way in becoming part of the mosaic that is Canada.”

Although the official year of sponsorship has come to an end, the Sunday worship group and the Dehonians will continue to serve as a resource to the family.


JPR resources on the web

The Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission maintains a website with a variety of JPR resources and reflections. Click here to go to the site’s homepage, or click on one of the links below to be taken directly to a particular topic:

Key New Testament Passages on the Major Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

One Page Bulletin Inserts and More on Immigration Reform

JPR Commission Meeting Minutes, Annual Report, Funded Groups

Fr. Dehon’s Engagement with “The Social Question” In His Time

Social Justice in the Hebrew Scriptures

Questions about anything on the site? Click here to contact province JPR director Mark Peters.


AFJN board, including Charles Brown (top row, third from left) and staff were photographed at their recent meeting in Washington, D.C.

SCJ represents province on AFJN board

In 1983, the Missionaries of Africa, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), and the Society of African Missions founded the Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) to transform United States policy towards Africa and its people.  Since that time, membership has grown, and in 2015 then-provincial superior, Fr. Steven Huffstetter, was asked to have the U.S. Province become a member.  Fr. Steve asked Fr. Charles Brown to represent the province on AFJN’s board.

Fr. Charlie reports that in the past year AFJN initiated several grassroots groups focused on community mobilization and conducted training sessions in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania on just governance and the common good.   It has also worked to create awareness in many local communities of “land grabs” through workshops, radio programs and town hall meetings.   Their newly-launched Women Empowerment Project has bold plans of expanding in the coming years.  Lessons learned from the ground are equipping them to be better strategic advocates in the United States for just relations with Africa.  Click here to read a brief summary of AFJN’s past year, or here for the full 2016 annual report.  More on AFJN will be shared regularly in the JPR newsletter.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in November include Fr. David Szatkowski (44) and Fr. Ed Kilianski (63) on Nov. 2, Br. Brian Tompkins (61) on Nov. 4, Fr. Greg Schill (42) on Nov. 14, Fr. Jan de Jong (80) and Fr. Joe Doscher (84) on Nov. 17, and Fr. Tim Gray (69) on Nov. 18. Happy birthday!


In Rome

Several North American SCJs have been in Rome during the past week. Fr. Byron Haaland and Fr. Andrzej Sudol took part in the meeting of Novice Mastes and Postulancy Directors (reports and photos from the meeting are available from DehoniansWorldwide). Also passing through were Fr. Jim Schifano and Br. Brian Tompkins who made a visit to the Generalate in conjunction with a trip to the Holy Land.

Fr. Byron, Fr. Jim and Br. Brian are pictured above having a gelato in Rome with Fr. Heiner Wilmer (superior general), Fr. Stephen Huffstetter (general councilor) and several confreres from India.

Provincial’s time

Tomorrow Fr. Ed Kilianski returns from a family visit to Buffalo. November 2-6 he will be in Mississippi, where he has meetings with the SHSM board and will assist with Spanish Masses on the weekend. Council meetings are November 7-8 and on November 10 he flies to Rome for the Major Superiors Colloquium. Fr. Ed returns to Milwaukee November 27. Also, be sure to wish Fr. Ed a happy birthday this week; he turns 63 on Thursday, November 2.

Closing shot

Members of the Dehon Formation Community celebrated Fr. Bob Bossie’s 80th birthday last Wednesday. Joining the community for the party were Fr. Bob’s two brothers, Richard and Paul. Thanks for the photo Frater Juancho!