Music weaves conference together
“Mercy in Mission” was the official theme of the 2016 Mission Education Conference but the thread that wove the theme together was music: music that brought history to life, music that drew participants out of their chairs to clap, dance and sing along, and music that brought people –– from a variety of faith traditions –– together in prayer.
Held October 10-11 in northern Mississippi, this was the US Province’s eighth Mission Education Conference and the second one hosted by Sacred Heart Southern Missions.
The gymnasium at Sacred Heart School in Southaven, Miss., was filled when the opening prayer began on Monday morning. A choir of teachers and staff from Holy Family School in Holly Springs, Miss., directed by the school’s principal, Clara Isom, led the conference in the first of many songs that would be sung together during the two days.
There was no post-lunch snoozing when Ekpe, a self-described “musical philanthropist,” walked into the Sacred Heart gymnasium to start the afternoon session. Dressed in colorful African garments, he moved among the crowd, playing traditional instruments of the continent. On stage the entertainer became an educator, sharing the history of African Americans as found in music, beginning with the songs of slaves to the blues that fills the famed Beale Street in Memphis. He was eventually joined on stage by some of Beale Street’s best, closing with Herbie Hancock’s classic “Watermelon Man.” Conference participants were on their feet and joining in on the song’s signature line.
Interspersed throughout both days of the conference were panel discussions facilitated by Sr. Cathy Bertrand, SSND, a member of the SHSM board of directors. The discussions were a way to bring to life the many ministries of Sacred Heart Southern Missions through personal accounts. Those helped by outreach programs spoke about how they in turn were inspired to “pay it back” and help others. Teachers and students talked about the Dehonian charism and how they have shared it with other SCJ institutions around the world through Schools in Collaboration. Participants in the province’s first “Spiritual Path” sessions, a monthly meeting format in which people of any faith or background can learn about Dehonian Spirituality, talked about their experience of learning about the charism and about each other.
Click here to read more about the conference on the province website. Included are links to a transcript of the interview with Fr. Dehon as “channeled” by David Schimmel, photo albums, and websites of some of the people and organizations featured during the conference.
Dehon prayer card
A prayer card will soon be printed that seeks the intercession of Fr. Leo John Dehon. This comes out of a suggestion made by local superiors of the US Province at their meeting in March, 2016. The card will be produced by the Dehonian Associates office of the US Province; it is approximately 3” x 5” with an image of Fr. Dehon on one side and the intercessory prayer on the reverse. The text of the prayer will be available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
All SCJs in the US and Canada will receive an English copy of the prayer card. HOWEVER, if you would like to receive cards to share in your ministry, please click here to send an email with your request. In your email indicate how many cards you would like to receive and in what language (English, Spanish and/or Vietnamese). The deadline is October 21. We hope to print the cards soon after so that they can be ready to distribute by Advent.
This day in history
On October 17, 1897 –– 119 years ago today –– the Priests of the Sacred Heart established a mission in Congo near Stanley Falls (present day Kisangani).
“On March 25, 1897, Dehon received a proposal for a mission in the region of Stanley Falls in the upper Congo, and he displayed the boldness of a saint,” wrote David Schimmel in last week’s Dehonian Spirituality e-newsletter. “All his counselors were opposed. ‘We have neither men nor means,’ they told him. But he was certain that the Congo mission was God’s work. ‘God gives to founders graces he does not give to their counselors.’
“On July 6, Fr. Grison and Fr. Lux set sail. After three exhausting months at sea and a journey on foot through virgin forest, the two priests reached Stanleyville on September 21. Fr. Lux came down with tropical fever and had to return to Europe a month later. For seven months, Fr. Grison was alone. He pitched his tents along the banks of the Congo River and there began the mission of St. Gabriel.”
Click here to read the rest of the story in the October 14 issue of Dehonian Spirituality.
Spirituality of the Sacred Heart
October is Theological Libraries Month. To celebrate, the Leo Dehon Library at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology has been hosting weekly “Spiritual Coffee Breaks.” Fr. Paul Kelly was the first presenter; he spoke about the spirituality of the Sacred Heart. Click here or on the image above to view a video of his presentation.
Br. Clay Diaz asks for prayers for his mother, Nixida Gutierrez, who has breast cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Also, please keep the family of Kevin Stanke (province accountant) in your prayers. Both his mother and his wife were hospitalized last week. Kevin’s mother injured several vertebrae in a fall, which required surgery. His wife, Cheryl, had surgery for a blockage on Friday.
Fr. Joaquín Imaz Valencia, a member of the Spanish Province, died October 16. He was born in 1933, professed in 1950 and ordained in 1959.
Fr. Ed Kilianski is in Toronto today and tomorrow (October 17-18) for the North American councils’ meetings. October 20-21 he has meetings with the SHSST Board of Directors. In the evening of October 21 he will install Fr. Quang Nguyen as local superior of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML. October 23-26 he will be in San Antonio for CMSM meetings. October 29 – November 8 Fr. Ed will join Fr. Dominic Peluse on a trip to Ireland with benefactors of the Province Development Office.
Pam Milczarski of our Province Development Office hosted several of the ESL students at her family farm for a fall pig roast on Saturday. Fr. Dominc Peluse sent the photo below of several of the students carving pumpkins.