Weekly News: September 11, 2017

Hubert, with members of the Dehon Formation Community, following his citizenship ceremony.


Congratulations to candidate Kodjovi “Hubert” Liassidji, who received his US citizenship on August 28. Joining him at the ceremony in Chicago were Fr. Bob Tucker, Fr. David Szatkowski and other members of the Dehon Formation Community. Hubert, 36, was born in Togo.

Learning to use the gospel message to transform the world

Students and faculty at the Cor Unum retreat.

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology begins the 2017-18 school year with a significant new program in its course offerings: “Cor Unum.” Using a cohort model of education, where students work together as an educational community, participants will earn a Master of Arts degree through a hybrid instructional model consisting of classroom and online components. One of the program’s primary goals is to help students learn to respond to God’s call to transform a fractured world through the gospel’s message of healing, justice, and mercy.

Students take six credits a semester, completing their MA in 22 months; the inaugural cohort class quickly filled to its capacity of 14.

“I had been a federal prosecutor for almost 30 years,” said Bill, a member of the first class. “Now I want to do something in reentry or prison ministry. How can I heal a fractured world? That is where my spiritual journey is taking me. It is the path that I have been on all these years, seeing where that hurt and woundedness is of the world, particularly in the prisons, and then doing something about it. This [Cor Unum] will give me the theological background to make that dream actionable.”

Click here to read more about the program on the province website.

SCJ candidate deeply changed by border experience

Alonso Barrantes is an SCJ candidate completing his third year of philosophy at St. Xavier University in Chicago. During his summer ministry assignment in Houston he had the opportunity to spend a few days at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. It was an experience that “deeply changed my heart,” he said.

Alonso Barrantes

“I am no longer the same person inside,” he continued. “As my summer ministry ended I found myself having a deeper sense of appreciation for all that God has blessed me with. I get to come home to a warm, cooked meal. I can take a nice long, hot shower and put on clean clothes. I can travel without fear.

“My heart is deeply changed by the stories I heard. Some of them I don’t think I can share as they are too graphic. I will forever have an engraved image in my mind of the pain and suffering that these families endured for days and weeks and maybe even months just to find a place to call home, a warm meal and a nice hot shower with clean clothes.

“I encourage all of you reading this message to find ways to help these families. Hearing Sr. Norma share her experience during the assembly was deeply moving but it is much different to experience it for yourselves. I don’t think words can describe the pain.

“I ask myself and I ask you, what would Jesus do in the desert for these families? What would Jesus want you to do today?”

Click here to read Alonso’s full reflection on the province website.

Transitions in South Africa

Bishop Adam

Due to health concerns, Bishop Michael Wüstenberg resigned from his position as bishop of the diocese of Aliwal, South Africa. The resignation took effect September 1.

Bishop Adam [Musialek] of the neighboring Diocese of De Aar will act as apostolic administrator until a new bishop is appointed,” wrote Bishop Michael in a letter announcing his resignation. “As former provincial of the Priests of the Sacred Heart [in South Africa] he knows the Diocese of Aliwal already a bit. He will administer this poor diocese and need support for meaningful work to continue our mission of being a Community Serving Humanity.

“I thank you for your interest and support during these 25 years in South Africa, ten of which I had as bishop. I am convinced that quite something of what we practice here with the Small Christian Communities and leadership, as well as biblical ministry, can give inspiration for developments in the Church elsewhere.”

Bishop Adam is an alumnus of the ESL program at SHSST.


“Nuestra casa es su hogar!”

We continue to be thankful that Our Lady of Guadalupe church and school were not damaged during the Houston floods. In the days since Harvey, the school and parish have been reaching out to others less fortunate. Above, Fr. Tim Gray is pictured with volunteers who loaded trucks with donated supplies last week. On Wednesday, the parish hosted a hot lunch in the school gym for families and relief workers busy cleaning and rebuilding. “Nuestra casa es su hogar!” OLG staff wrote on the parish Facebook page. Our home is your home.

Please remember

Connie Behrens Huffstetter, the sister-in-law of Fr. Stephen Huffstetter (general councilor), died August 31 of cancer. She was in hospice care at the time of her death.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Ed Kilianski will be in South Dakota September 15-18; during that time he will attend the American Indian Day Powwow. On September 21 he will take part in the local community’s celebration of the ordination anniversaries of Fr. Paul Casper, Fr. Ed Griesemer and Fr. Johnny Klingler at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake. The next Provincial Council meeting is October 3-4, and the meeting of the Canadian and US councils is in Montréal October 16-17.

Closing shot

Fr. Ed Kilianski installed Fr. Tom Knoebel as president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology during the August 30 Opening Mass of the new school year.

The new semester at SHSST begins with 123 students on campus; this includes seminarians (M.Div. candidates), MA students, those in the ESL program, and students in the new Cor Unum MA program. Sacred Heart continues to be one of the top ten seminaries in the country by enrollment.

Fr. Tom with students after the installation