Weekly News: October 31, 2022

“Our life is a continuous dying.  Every moment slips away from us until we have exhausted all the time that God has allotted to us.  Our life is a short series of relations with God, with others, and with ourselves.  Our actions have an almost infinite value if they are done in the grace of Jesus Christ because then they are united to his.”

Leo John Dehon, SCJ, Daily Notes, March 26, 1868


This week we note the Solemnity of All Saints on Tuesday, November 1 and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed on Wednesday, November 2.

Impressions from the Congolese Province

Last week we noted that SCJ Frs. Vien Nguyen and Charles Brown represented the US Province at the 125th anniversary celebrations in DR Congo, as did Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, of the Canadian Region. Reflecting on the experience in a letter to SCJs, Fr. Vien wrote that in the Congo Dehonian “ministries revolve primarily around parishes. But the two apostolates that left me with a deep impression were their schools and orphanages. With the orphans, for example, our SCJ confreres care for their past, present, and future. A psychologist is available onsite to help children deal with their traumas. Older children receive vocational training for life beyond the orphanage…

“Presently, there are more than 40 students in various stages of formation. The philosophy program is in Kisangani, the city where the SCJs first began ministry. The theology program is in Kinshasa, the capital city of DRC. Some students are sent to South Africa for theological studies. Due to financial limitations, the Congolese Province has had to turn away prospective candidates. It is hoped that someday the Congolese Province will not have to turn anyone who wishes to be a son of Fr. Dehon.

“We congratulate our Congolese confreres for their perseverance and dedication. We pray for their success in continuing the mission envisioned and executed by the Founder.”

Click here to read Fr. Vien’s full letter. Fr. Vien and several other visiting SCJs are pictured above in a sea of Congolese students.

“The Word has been passed on”

Fr. Charles Brown, SCJ, is pictured above, carrying the Bible during the closing Mass of the 125th anniversary celebrations. One of his first assignments as an SCJ priest was in the Ituri Forest of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fr. Charlie said that he was “asked by organizers to represent the 125 years of Dehonian missionaries from Europe and the United States who first brought the Word of God to the Congo basin in 1897.”

“I processed in, with Fr. Floribert and the dancers, holding high the scriptures,” continued Fr. Charlie. “I handed the bible to the archbishop, and he gave it to the deacon to read the Gospel for the gathered crowd.

“The Word has been passed on, beautifully and symbolically.”

“Doing Theology from the Existential Peripheries”

The Canadian Region’s Migration, Justice and Peace Committee invites you to attend an online panel discussion titled “Doing Theology from the Existential Peripheries” on November 10 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (EST).

Hosted by St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, organizers state that it will be a “key event in Pope Francis’s Synod on Synodality process with the findings from a North American report commissioned by the Vatican as part of the Doing Theology from the Existential Peripheries project.

“We have presented our findings in the context of a conversation,” said Dr. Darren Dias, OP, Associate Professor in St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology who also serves as Executive Director of the Toronto School of Theology; he was appointed last December by Rome’s Dicastery on Human Integral Development to join the project’s North American working group. Each of the six working groups around the world is invited to hold some sort of event to share their initial findings as part of an ongoing conversation/listening process to ensure that the findings are known to the general public.

“We are committed to bolstering ways in which theology can support engaging the peripheries,” said Dias. “This is a research project, an academic exercise, and we will report our findings to the bishops, theologians, pastoral workers, and the faithful in service to the Church… We are committed to bolstering a theology that supports the theological renewal proposed by Pope Francis.”

More background information can be found on the University of St. Michael’s College website.  

RSVP to participate online: https://bit.ly/3yUKKvw

Bishop visits South Dakota parishes

During the weekend of October 29-30, Bishop Peter Muhich of Rapid City, visited several parishes ministered to by the Lower Brule Pastoral Team. This was his first visit to Lower Brule since being named bishop in 2020. On Saturday, he celebrated Mass and confirmed seven children. The bishop spent the night at the SCJ community house in Chamberlain, and on Sunday celebrated Masses at St. Michael’s in Kennebec and St. Mary’s in Lower Brule.

“Everything went well and we were so excited to have him visiting our parishes,” wrote Fr. Jean Claude Mbassi, SCJ, a member of the pastoral team. “Our bishop is a good man; parishioners enjoyed his visitation with us.”

The bishop is pictured above after Mass in Kennebec.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in November include: Fr. David Szatkowski on Nov. 2, Br. Brian Tompkins on Nov. 4, Fr. Bryan Benoit on Nov. 6, Fr. Martin Antony Kadamattu on Nov. 10, Fr. Rafael Querobin on Nov. 13, Fr. Greg Schill on Nov. 14, Fr. Jan de Jong on Nov. 17, Fr Tim Gray on Nov. 18, and Fr. Antonio Maria Resenda Pereira on Nov. 22. Happy birthday!

90 years!

Yesterday the community at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston celebrated SCJ Fr. Richard Johnston’s 90th birthday (October 27) with a parish Mass celebrated by all of the SCJs in Houston. The liturgy was followed by a parish breakfast. The SCJ community is pictured above: SCJ Fathers Fabio dos Santos, Rafael Querobin, Richard Johnston, Tim Gray and George (Jerzy) Mordalski.

Please remember

+ Fr. Serge Tagne, a member of the Cameroon Province, died on October 29. He was born in 1979, professed in 2001 and ordained in 2009. Only 42, the cause of his death is being investigated. He had complained of headaches, but otherwise members of his community said that he had not exhibited signs of illness. Fr. Sergio had studied in Rome several years ago, and was to soon begin nursing studies in Cameroon.

First updates!

One of the challenging things about publishing a personnel directory is that there always seems to be an update just AFTER the project has gone to the printer. This year, the first update comes from the US Province Formation Committee, which appears on page 11 of the printed directory. Please add Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, to the list. The rest of the committee: Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ (chairperson), Fr. Joseph Thien Dinh, SCJ, Monica Misey, Fr. Ziggy Morawiec, SCJ, Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ and Br. Brian Tompkins, SCJ. The committee held its first meeting on October 17.

The printed version of the directory went in the mail last week. Click here to submit corrections and/or updates.

Temporary assignment

Fr. Terry Langley, SCJ, has been assigned as temporary administrator for the parishes of St. John the Evangelist in Twin Lakes and St. Alphonsus in New Munster, WI. Fr. Terry served at these parishes previous to his assignment as pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, which he completed earlier this year.

Happy Halloween!

Holiday greetings from the community at Sacred Heart Monastery (including our “temporary” Byzantine bishop, Fr. Ed Zemlik, SCJ). Boo!