Weekly News: October 17, 2022

Together after three years

For the first time in nearly three years, leadership and staff of Sacred Heart Southern Missions and the Catholic Parishes of Northwest Mississippi gathered for an in-service training day last week. The pandemic put a halt to such large gatherings since the last one in December 2019. It seemed appropriate that the focus of this event was on reconnecting with the history and mission of SHSM and the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Talking about SHSM’s Mission Statement, Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, said that “We bring God’s love…this is what we do each day in our ministry. We bring that to the people whom we serve, to our donors and benefactors, to the parishioners and to everyone that we meet. If we keep that in mind, we can help to change the world.”

Fr. Jack is SHSM executive director. In the afternoon, Sr. Cathy Bertrand, SSND, facilitated a discussion about how the pandemic impacted the people and ministries of SHSM, as well as the world in general.


In the Time of the Pandemic

Studia Dehonia, a publication of the Centro Studi Dehoniani in Rome, recently published In the Time of the Pandemic, an issue devoted to reflections from SCJs about the impact of the pandemic individually, in society and in the Church.

“The pandemic has been for the world like a reflecting pool, with recurring major disturbances breaking to the surface but also with momentary stillness, showing not only what has been but also what lies ahead,” wrote members of the Editorial Committee (SCJ Frs. Manuel Antonio Teixeira, Stefan Tertünte and John van den Hengel) in their introduction.

“The disturbances left no country untouched,” they continued. “The world held its breath as novel coronavirus COVID-19 left its first death-making marks on the most vulnerable segment of the populations, the shut-in elderly. It emptied the streets and voided economic activity, as it did the churches. Home became a place of refuge to which authorities urged everyone to retreat so that the virus would have no place to go. These places of isolation, away from the ordinary activities that engage us humans, gave us an opportunity to do what ordinary life does not give rise to. It made us think of the ordinary in extraordinary times. It made these ordinary moments stand out, especially those moments blocked by the threat of the virus. People were made aware of what was missing, what they could no longer do – experiencing the restrictions of community at a distance…

“The pause of the ordinary in its dissonance creates the inner necessity to reflect – to think about our ordinary lives, to think about what is lacking, to think about the future…

“The human spirit is powerful. Its desires are far from exhausted. A pandemic has tested the human effort to live together. It has also revealed an intense capacity for love and care for the other. We Dehonians are a community who have a strong faith in the capacity of love and in the extravagance of love. We want this volume to be a testimony of this love.”

Twenty-seven Dehonian writers from five continents are featured. Contributions from North American SCJs include: 

“Community Life in Our Times: Lessons from Paul the Apostle,” by Fr. Charles Brown, SCJ

“God’s Steadfast Love in a Time of Pandemic: The Narrative of Psalm 107,” by Fr. Joseph R. Dean, SCJ

“Human Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic: psychological challenges and perspectives,” by Fr. Ushindi Kambale Sahani, SCJ

“Reparatory Oblation: A Response to Xenophobia,” by Fr. Vien V. Nguyen, SCJ

“A Time of Educational Renewal: New Possibilities after the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo, SCJ

“A Church in Crisis,” Fr. John van den Hengel, SCJ

“Towards an Ever Wider WE,” by the North American Migration Committee (Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, Heather Brinkerhoff, Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, Lily Ooi, Fr. Anthony Russo,SCJ and Fr. Ushindi Kambale Sahani, SCJ)

Click here to access a PDF of the issue. FYI – the Table of Contents begins on page 371.

Recently published

Congratulations to Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, whose review of Otherness and Identity in the Gospel of John by Sung Uk Kim was published in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly 84.2 (October 2022), pp. 696-698. Click here to read the review.

School recognized for its efforts in helping refugees

On Tuesday, October 11, the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur in Pointe-au-Chêne, Quebec, was recognized by the Government of Canada for its humanitarian contribution in assisting Ukrainian refugees displaced by war. Pictured above is Stéphane Lauzon, a member of the Canadian Parliament, presenting the award to Anastasiia Lavrynets, coordinator of international student programs for the school.

A former Dehonian seminary for the Canadian Region, the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur is now a coeducational Catholic high school midway between Montréal and Ottawa. The school itself is now an independent institution, but the Priests of the Sacred Heart hold a seat on its board of directors. Currently, Fr. Richard Woodbury, SCJ, who served the school in a variety of capacities for many years, sits on the board.

Starting in March, the school began welcoming Ukrainian refugees; four women and four children now live in renovated rooms that previously served as seminary residential space.

“We are particularly proud to have managed to offer a little comfort and security to the people we welcome,” write members of the school staff in sharing news of the award. “It is nice to see that sincere ties of friendship are beginning to form between Ukrainian children and our students and that others are developing with adults. We are also delighted to see that the entire community is involved in our project.

“Involving students and the community in this type of initiative is, in our opinion, one of the best ways to teach and bring to life in our students the values of openness and hospitality so dear to our school.

“We wish to thank all those who were involved in this project, from near or far.”

Anastasiia Lavrynets, coordinator of the program, is a Ukrainian refugee herself. She lives on the school campus with her husband and two boys. The family left Ukraine over a year ago.

The refugee program grew out of plans already in discussion to attract international students. Ukrainian students were preparing to come to Quebec for studies during the next academic year. “We stayed in contact with them,” said Christian Lavergne, director of the school. As the war got underway, “they asked if we could help them.”

A fundraising campaign helped to bring in the money needed to renovate the seminary residence for the refugees.

“We are happy to get involved and in doing so, share with our students the values of mutual aid,” said Christian Lavergne.


Cardinal Peter Turkson will be the main speaker at the October 19th Dehon Lecture at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. The title of his presentation: “A New Social Catechism for the 21st Century?”

Past president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Turkson is Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Archbishop emeritus of Cape Coast (Ghana). He was a presenter at the SCJs’ General Conference in February, speaking on the social doctrine of the Church.

Anyone is welcome to view the livestream of the cardinal’s presentation. Click here for more information, as well as livestream links to the events of the full day (Mass, lecture and panel discussion).

Four from St. Joseph’s Indian School honored

Three staff members and one student from St. Joseph’s Indian School were recently honored with the Catherine Hershey National Awards. The awards were announced at the Coalition on Residential Excellence (CORE) Banquet at Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Penn., last Wednesday, October 12.

David and Tia Fontenot of the school’s High School Program received the “Houseparents of the Year” award. Annie Schoenhard, a second grade teacher, was honored as “Educator of the Year,” and recent graduate ShyAnne Jumping Eagle was named “Student of the Year.”

Pictured above L-R: Annie Schoenhard, ShyAnne Jumping Eagle, Tia Fontenot and David Fontenot.

CORE is the only national organization exclusively representing children’s homes and boarding schools, providing residential (home-like) non-treatment-related services to children living away from their families.

Please remember

+ Fr. Marcelino Teixeira de Freitas, a member of the Portuguese Province, died on October 11. He was born in 1947, professed in 1968 and ordained in 1976.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Joe Dean, SCJ, has been hospitalized in Pierre, SD, for treatment of a cellulitis infection.

Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ, began home hospice care on October 13; in August he was diagnosed with rapidly advancing metastatic cancer. As is Fr. Joe Dean, Fr. Bernie is a member of the South Dakota Community with residence at the community house on the St. Joseph’s Indian School campus.

Kay Chaney, the sister of Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ, has been diagnosed with advanced Leukemia. Fr. John is staying with his sister in Cleveland while the family organizes assistance for her. He said that considering the diagnosis, is doing well. She is using a walker but is fairly strong and able to get around on her own. He and the rest of the family thank SCJs and others for their prayers and words of support.

Happy 80th and safe travels!

After celebrating his 80th birthday on October 13, Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, soon began his journey to Vietnam, where he will spend a month with the novitiate community. He will arrive there later this week.

Another step on the path

In preparation for his ordination to the priesthood, Dn. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, made his profession of faith and oath of fidelity and oath of knowledge and freedom during the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Martin of Tours on October 9. His priesthood ordination will take place on December 17 in Garden Grove, CA.

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