as you completed your oblation to the Father
on the wood of the cross,
you confidently prayed,
“Into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Our deceased brothers and sisters,
who have gone before us in faith,
have also completed their life of oblation.
We entrust them to your mercy,
and with steadfast hope
we pray they are with you in paradise.
We pledge to stay united to them through prayer,
trusting that our community,
drawn together and held together by your love,
will find its full realization in eternity.
[Prayer from the November 2, 2018 issue of Dehonian Spirituality]
Important to be together
“It is significant that the administrations of both entities – both busy with many things – stop what they are doing to take the time to come together,” said Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ. “It is an acknowledgement of how important such dialogues are and how important it is that we are together.” Fr. Gustave is the superior of SCJs’ Canadian Region and was host to the October 24 meeting of the North American Dehonian administrations in Toronto.
Collaboration was a reoccurring theme throughout the October meeting: collaboration with other SCJ entities, with international Dehonians, with the laity, with religious of other communities, and collaboration with the general administration.
Both the Canadian Region and US Province increasingly welcome SCJs from other entities to join them in community and ministry. In doing so, both have come to realize the importance of giving their international brothers appropriate time to prepare for their new assignments in unfamiliar cultures.
The US Province now uses a two-year preparation guideline adapted to each person. Depending on the needs of the individual, the program focuses on English language skills, American culture, SCJ culture in the United States, and the cultures of the Church in the US. The Canadian Region is also examining how it can better prepare its international members. As Fr. Greg Murray, SCJ, a member of the Canadian council said, “A newcomer not only needs to learn about Canadian culture, but the subcultures that are a part of it.”
Internationality was quickly evident at Monday evening’s dinner, hosted by the Sacred Heart Community just west of downtown Toronto. Tables and chairs were pushed together tightly in the historic house to accommodate the 15+ guests. Coming together for the meal were SCJs from Brazil, Canada, DR Congo, India, Indonesia, and the United States.
Internationality describes Dehonian ministry in North America, but also the SCJs themselves.
Other topics discussed during last week’s meeting included next year’s General Chapter in Rome, possibilities for North American gatherings, a collaborative response to social justice concerns such as climate change, and discussion of the North American Dehonian Theological Commission (the councils reviewed and approved the commission’s revised statutes).
The next meeting of the administrations of the US Province and Canadian Region will take place on April 4, 2024, in Hales Corners.
+ Fr. Maciej Gajewski, a member of the Polish Province, died on October 29. He was born in 1950, professed in 1969 and ordained in 1975.
Logo for XXV General Chapter unveiled
The general administration recently released the logo for the 2024 General Chapter. Organizers describe the logo as follows:
“As the principle and goal of our spirituality and charism, the Heart of Jesus is the most important element of the logo. Both in the center, in red, and in the lettering surrounding the image, the heart symbol reminds us that the grace and work of the Heart of Jesus goes beyond geographical boundaries and reaches the heart of every person who opens himself to his love. Indeed, the deepest cause of human misery lies in the rejection of Christ’s love (cf. Cst. 4).
“The overlapping colors remind us of the spirit of Communion, the SINT UNUM. We are one congregation that is present in different places around the world. Each color represents a continent. Red symbolizes America, purple Africa, yellow Asia and green Oceania.”
The logo was designed by Matheus José dos Santos, an SCJ postulant of the South Brazilian Province currently living with the formation community at “Instituto Dehon” in Barretos, Brazil.
The XXV General Chapter is scheduled for June 14 – July 5, 2024.
SHSST has become a “home” for Nuncio
“I am happy to be with you once again,” said Cardinal Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the USA, talking about Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. “In my years as Nuncio in this country, it seems that Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology has become a home for me. Once more, it is my privilege to convey to you warm sentiments of spiritual closeness and paternal affection from the Holy Father. Greetings to my brother bishops, and thank you again to Father Gómez and Father Knoebel for the welcome that they continue to give me. To all members of the faculty and staff, to the seminarians, and to everyone who is here: greetings in the Lord.”
The cardinal was the homilist at the October 25 Mass during the Fourth Collegial Gathering of Bishops at SHSST. He is pictured above at one of his first visits to SHSST for the seminar “Discovering Pope Francis” held at the seminary in 2018.
“To believe and celebrate the Eucharist as a Sacrament of our Lord’s incarnation – a Sacrament that unites God’s divinity with our humanity – is to say ‘yes’ to the kind of life that Jesus himself lived,” said the Cardinal. “Jesus does not teach, nor does he model, a ‘sanitized’ form of religion. Rather, Jesus encounters people, connecting with them in all of their humanity: weaknesses, differences, infirmities, and struggles included. It is precisely through his human contact with sinners that he brings about redemption.”
A “Bite of Wisdom”
Br. Andy Gancarczyk, SCJ, has created an informal space on YouTube to share stories from SCJs about a wide variety of topics. The first is from Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ, a retired member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML reflecting on a very special baseball game. Click here or on the image above to view it. The video runs approximately five minutes.
November 7: Post-Chapter meeting via Zoom, 10:00 a.m. to noon (Central). Delegates are reminded to send their corrections to the Chapter minutes to Mary Gorski by November 1; participants will soon be receiving a link to the Zoom meeting.
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
Those celebrating birthdays in November include Fr. David Szatkowski on Nov. 2, Br. Brian Tompkins on Nov. 4, Fr. Martin Antony Kadamattu on Nov. 10, Fr. Greg Schill on Nov. 14, Fr. Jan de Jong on Nov. 17, Fr. Tim Gray on Nov. 18, and Fr. Antonio Maria Resende Pereira on Nov. 22. Happy birthday!
Fr. Yvon Sheehy, SCJ, and students from our ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology spent Saturday at nearby Godsell Farm carving pumpkins, taking a hay ride, and simply enjoying an autumn afternoon away from their classes. They are pictured below with their carved creations. Happy Halloween!