Weekly News: October 10, 2011

Brs. Sergio Matumoto and Jonathan Schneiders, two SCJs from Brazil, just completed their ESL program and are headed to the Philippines to begin their theology studies.

On to the Philippines

Fr. Jose Benedito de Morases Machado, district superior of the Philippines and Fr. Francis Pupkowski, the district’s fund raising director, spent the past two weeks in the United States. One of the reasons for their visit was to update the provincial council on the ministries and goals of the Philippine district. The U.S. Province has supported the district with personnel for English studies (Fr. Bernie Rosinski spent several weeks there as an ESL instructor this year), retreats, and administrative issues, as well as with continued financial support. The province also assisted the Philippines in setting up its development program, including a $250,000 seed-money grant.

Fr. Jose Benedito de Morases Machado, district superior of the Philippines, talks about the district during last week's council meeting.

Meeting with the provincial council last week, Frs. Bene and Francis thanked the U.S. Province for its continued support of the district. They reminded the council that the relationship between the two entities goes back to the beginning of the Philippine venture when the first group of missionaries did their preparation at Sacred Heart Monastery. This international group of SCJs came to the United States not only to learn English but to build a sense of community before going to the Philippines. The district continues to be thankful for the support of the province, and grateful for the ESL program. They noted the two Brazilian SCJs –– Brs. Sergio Matumoto and Jonathan Schneiders –– who spent the past few months at Sacred Heart School of Theology preparing for their studies and future ministry in the Philippine District.

Today Brs. Sergio and Jonathan left for the Philippines with Frs. Bene and Francis. After studying Tagalog, one of the indigenous languages of the Philippines, the Brazilians will begin theology studies in Manila. Their hope is to complete their studies in the country and be ordained to serve the district.

“Being here in the ESL program was the best preparation we could have had,” said Br. Jonathan. “ESL is the perfect place to learn about the congregation and about living in another culture. Here, it is like a ‘little picture’ of the congregation. We live here with SCJs from all over the world.

“I am a much better person because of my time here and I have a better idea of what it means to be an SCJ, not just an SCJ from Brazil.”

Frs. Bene and Francis prepared a PowerPoint presentation on the Philippines. Click here to view a PDF of it.

Also, Brs. Jonathan and Sergio were active in putting together the ESL newsletter. Click here to read the last issue that they were a part of; it was published late last week.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

And Joyeaux Jour de l’Action de grace to our SCJs in Quebec. October 10 (second Monday of October) is a federal holiday in Canada.

The first Thanksgiving in North America is said to have taken place in what is now Canada. In the year 1578, the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey from England. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him –– Frobisher Bay. Other settlers arrived and continued the ceremonies.

Frobisher’s celebration in 1578 was 43 years before the pilgrims gave thanks in 1621 for the bounty that ended a year of hardships and death. Abraham Lincoln established the date for the United States as the last Thursday in November.

Keep in prayer

Madeline Drayna, the daughter of Jonathan Drayna, public relations director of Sacred Heart School of Theology, was in a serious car accident over the weekend. She is at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, reportedly in stable condition. Please keep her and her family in prayer.

Please remember

Fr. Joseph Lamber, a member of the Polish Polish Province, died on October 3. He was born in 1956, professed in 1978 and ordained in 1984.

Being present to God

“Our mission goal is not to try to make God present, but rather to make ourselves and the people present to God,” writes Fr. Vincent Suparman in a recent posting on the province blog, “…in order to be prophets of love or God’s instruments, we ought to equip ourselves with knowledge, skills, and wisdom by which we proclaim the Good News.”

Originally from Indonesia, Fr. Vincent volunteered to be a missionary and was soon assigned to Papua New Guinea. In August, he began his new assignment: serving in rural South Dakota with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team.  When people think “mission” they often think of lands far beyond the shores of the United States.  Yet there are many home missions throughout North America.  Much of the ministry of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team is on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Indian reservations.

Click here to read Fr. Vincent’s full blog post.

Busy in Hawaii

Fr. Mark Mastin, an Army chaplain based at Schoefield Barracks on the island of Oahu writes: “Things are quite busy and sometimes frantic.  We are getting ready to leave for the mainland in four weeks for 30 days of ‘war environment training’ in preparation for next year’s deployment.  This training facility recreates a very real environment and includes simulated exercises, which include actors.

“Throughout the last several weeks I have been either sitting in on briefings or giving briefings that deal with a variety of issues and topics including deployment separation stress, suicide intervention and prevention, and learning a variety of coping skills, as well as teaching couples how they can be creative in how they communicate with each other and their children.

“We have a great group of women working in the Family Readiness Office (FRG) who are always helping families, especially those who are by themselves while their spouse is off to war.  These women in FRG provide many activities for the families who need to be distracted from the loneliness that occurs during deployment periods.

“Well, that is it for now; God Bless!”

No Fridge Notes next week

Due to travel schedules there will be no Fridge Notes on October 17. However, news from the SCJs’ European Conference on Secularity will be posted periodically during the week of October 17. Please check the news section of province website for updates from Clairefontaine, Belgium.

As always, if you have news to share, send it to Mary Gorski.

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Tom Cassidy will be at the CMSM regional conference on Tuesday, celebrates his birthday on Thursday, and leaves for Europe on Friday to attend the SCJs’ European Conference on Secularity. Following the conference, Fr. Tom will visit the Polish Province. He will be in Europe from October 14-28.

Upcoming meetings and events:

October 17-20: European Conference on Secularity (Frs. Tom Cassidy of the U.S. Province and Fr. Bill Marrevee of Canada will attend the conference in Clairefontaine, Belgium)
November 2: Candlelight Mass and Dinner at Sacred Heart Monastery/School of Theology (contact the Province Development Office for details.
November 8-9: Combined Councils Meeting of the U.S. and Canada (Ottawa)
November 14-16: SCJ Retreat, Pinellas Park
December 14-15: Provincial Council Meeting
April 15: Easter Concert at Sacred Heart Monastery/School of Theology
May 15: Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, SHM/SHST
June 15: Feast of the Sacred Heart