Weekly News: October 23, 2023

What does it mean to be a Dehonian parish?

What does it mean to be a Dehonian parish? Is it simply a church that has an SCJ as its pastor, or is there something more, something tangibly “Dehonian?” That was one of the questions discussed during the Dehonian Parish Ministers meeting held via Zoom on October 17.

“Our homilies are a vehicle to share our Dehonian spirituality,” said one participant. “Our values regarding social justice and reconciliation can be found in our religious education,” said another. “We share our Dehonian values in how we treat people,” said a third.

This was the second gathering of Dehonian parish ministers in the US Province. It is an opportunity for informal dialogue among the ministers and members of the Provincial Council. “We want to better learn about the challenges that our SCJ brothers experience in parish ministry and talk about ways in which we can support each other,” said Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, provincial superior.

Discussion topics included youth outreach (in particular, how to use this year’s World Youth Day as a stepping stone toward the development of Dehonian youth groups in the US), the expansion of the Dehonian Associates program for adults, vocation development (SCJs were reminded by Fr. Henry Nguyen, SCJ, vocation director, that the best vocation tool isn’t social media or other marketing campaigns, it is the SCJs themselves), the preparation and welcoming of international SCJs and other religious for ministry in the US, Dehonian “branding” (obvious visual images, such as the SCJ logo, displayed at parishes to indicate that it is served by Dehonians), and opportunities for spiritual growth for both the SCJs and those with and to whom they minister.

“I was very proud to be present at Mission Education in South Dakota as collaborators learned about the history of the early SCJs who overcame significant obstacles to begin ministry in the United States,” said Fr. Vien. “I hope that we can continue to share that sense of pride and history with others in all that we do.”

Directory updates

The annual print edition of the North American Personnel Directory is in the process of being mailed. If you need an extra copy for your community or ministry, please contact Nancy Grzesiak at the Provincial Offices. Contact information for SCJs in the US and Canada can also be found in the online directory accessible from the Members section of the US Province website. The directory is password-protected. For assistance in accessing the directory, click here.

Please remember

+ Fr. Valentino Leonardelli, a member of the South Italian Province, died on October 18. He was born in 1933, professed in 1951 and ordained in 1960.

Looking ahead

October 24:  North American Councils meeting, Toronto

November 7:  Post-Chapter meeting via Zoom, 10:00 a.m. to noon (Central)

November 7-8:  Provincial Council meeting, Hales Corners, WI

November 30: Advent Hour of Recollection for employees and collaborators, 10:00 a.m. (central) via Zoom.

December 5:  Advent Hour of Recollection for SCJs, 10:00 a.m. (central) via Zoom (both will be led by Sr. Barbara Reid, OP, president of Catholic Theological Union).

December 9:  Diaconate ordination of Frater Paul Phong Hoang, SCJ, 10:00 a.m., Sacred Heart Monastery / Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology

Sacred Heart and Dehonian special collections available at SHSST library

Ann Owen, Digital Services Librarian at SHSST’s Leo John Dehon Library, writes with information about the library’s Sacred Heart and Dehonian special collections. “Almost 15 years ago, it was decided to strive to make our extensive materials related to devotion to the Sacred Heart, as well as resources by and about Fr. Leo Dehon and the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, more visible and available to scholars and researchers. To date we have 1,428 volumes in ten languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, and Vietnamese) that are conspicuous by their red spine labels. Each book also has a book plate inside that identifies it as part of one of these two collections.”

Many of the titles were obtained during the COVID work-from-home days “when I took piles of obscure Sacred Heart materials home to catalog at my kitchen table,” said Ann.

“Most of these materials have come to us through the SCJs or as donations,” she continued. “In addition, we are always looking for new materials to purchase that relate to the Sacred Heart.

“Making these materials known is part of our Dehonian mission in the library. These books portray a fascinating history that is important to share with our Sacred Heart community.”

Any SCJ, or an employee of a province ministry, is welcome to have a library card for the SHSST library. The card gives a person access to a variety of the library’s resources, including requests for items that can be mailed to a borrower off-campus. For more information, or to request a card, click here.

Registration opens for 6th Annual Preaching Conference

Fr. Charles Brown, SCJ, will be one of the presenters at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s 6th Annual Preaching Conference. This year’s theme: “Ideas to Engage the Assembly: Integrating Illustrations, Images and Icons.” Fr. Charlie has created several icons that are displayed at SHSST, including his most recent work, the icon of the Risen Savior.

The Preaching Conference will take place January 2-3, 2024. It begins Tuesday with evening prayer at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner and the first presentation of the conference at 7:00 p.m. On Wednesday there are two sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon.

All SCJ priests, brothers and students are welcome and encouraged to attend. The $125 registration fee is waived for SCJs. However, SCJs do need to register if they plan to attend. CLICK HERE for the special SCJ registration link.

Questions? Contact Dn. Steve Kramer, SHSST Director of Homiletics, at skramer@shsst.edu or 414-858-4767.

A visit to our Dehonian schools

On October 16, Bishop Joseph Kopacz, bishop of the Diocese of Jackson, teamed up with Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, to visit Sacred Heart School in Southaven, MS, and Holy Family School in Holly Springs. They celebrated Mass, toured each school, and received several earfuls of questions from eager students. Pictured below: the bishop and Fr. Dave during Mass at Holy Family. Click here to view a few more photos on the province Facebook page.

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