Weekly News: September 18, 2023


This week two sisters from the Theresian Missionaries of Mary (TMM), a diocesan religious women’s religious community in the Philippines, will be taking up residence on the campus of St. Joseph’s Indian School as they prepare for future ministry with the Lower Brule Pastoral Team. Sr. Clary Joy has spent the past few months studying in the English and Culture Studies program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of TheologySr. Eulogia (Yollie) Nobabos is coming to South Dakota just days after her arrival in the United States. They are pictured above during a visit to the Provincial Offices last week.

Dehonians in the Philippines have worked in many of the same areas as the TMM sisters. In October 2022, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, went to the Philippines to meet with TMM leadership to discuss possibilities for collaboration with the SCJs in South Dakota. The community graciously agreed to send two of its members.

This will Sr. Clary Joy’s second trip to South Dakota. She first went there in July for the centennial celebrations in Lower Brule.

Welcome sisters!

Back in the Philippines

A year after his first visit to the Theresian Missionaries of Mary, Fr. Vien Nguyen will be back in the Philippines this week to meet with the TMM leadership team and the bishop of Cagayan de Oro, as well as visit with a second community to discuss further partnerships in ministry.

Fr. Vien returns on September 24. During his absence, issues of immediate concern will be directed to Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, vice provincial superior.

“Cultural differences are an opportunity”

Representatives from the Dehonians’ General Finance Commission met last week at the Provincial Offices in Hales Corners. Among the participants were Fr. Luca Zottoli, SCJ, general treasurer (Rome; he is pictured above), Fr. Gerd Hemken, SCJ (Germany), Fr. Vincent Dinh, SCJ (Vietnam) and Dn. David Nagel, SCJ, treasurer of the US Province. Although they spoke about a variety of financial issues in the congregation, of particular focus was the 2024 General Chapter and the required report of the General Treasurer to chapter delegates.

“I am responsible for the report as General Treasurer,” said Fr. Luca, “But I do the report in collaboration with members of the General Finance Commission. I value their input.”

The commission generally meets twice a year: once online and once in person. In recent years, the in-person meetings – including an international conference on fundraising in 2022 – have been held in the US Province.

“The US Province is an important entity in the Congregation,” said Fr. Luca. “It is very socially oriented, which is very Dehonian. The US is also very supportive to other entities in need.”

Fr. Luca said that coming to the United States is a good way for him and others on the commission to view financial topics outside of a European mindset. As an example, he spoke of his experience of philanthropy in the United States. In Europe, higher taxes often fund social programs that in the US may depend more so on charity. He emphasized that the difference is neither good nor bad, but instead, a different approach.

“I appreciate being in touch with different ways of living. Cultural differences are an opportunity, not a problem. I hope that we can stop judging geographic areas in terms of right and wrong, and instead, start to think about what we can all learn from ‘the other,’ incorporating the best of what each has to offer. Asia, Africa… in all of our locations there is much to learn.”

Click here to read the full write-up on the province website. Click here to view a few photos from the meeting.

Sint unum

The September issue of As a Rule focuses on the idea of “fraternal community” with Rule of Life No. 8 as a starting point for the reflections. The final line of that passage: “As members of Christ, faithful to His pressing invitation Sint unum, they fraternally bear one another’s burdens in one same common life.”

Reflecting on that, Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ (upper right), writes that “To me Jesus’ Sint Unum is so much more than an ‘invitation.’  These words are part of Jesus’ earnest prayer to His Father, that Abba would help His followers be one.  And to His disciples they express Jesus’ final loving command and desperate appeal that they be united.  If I might paraphrase what Jesus said, it would be this: ‘if you remember anything that I have said to you, for God’s sake, remember this:  be one, love one another.  You are all brothers.  Don’t ever forget that.’  And then the words of the Constitution add to that heartfelt plea of Jesus, namely, that we carry one another’s burdens, that we carry one another.”

Fr. Jean Claude Mbassi, SCJ, writes notes that “A community is more than just a work group. To build a community means to really welcome a brother, giving him time, attention, affection, working with him actively and as an equal according to the role and function that each person has within the community. Such aspects can be an appropriate means of achieving Sint Unum and of becoming ‘prophets of love’.”

Click here to read their full reflections in this month’s issue of As a Rule.

Remembering Br. Leonard 

“Br. Lenny was disturbed by the senseless suffering of those unjustly treated,” said Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ (pictured above), during his homily at the September 13 Funeral Mass for Br. Leonard Zaworski, SCJ. “Whether it was a migrant worker, those forced to leave their homelands for fear of death squads or frustration of providing for basic needs of their families. His decision to serve with Valley Interfaith. His decision to serve on the first family associates program at St Lawrence parish in San Antonio. His choice to serve in formation among those preparing to join us in India. His dedication – most recently – to providing countless texts to help the blind access resources that we, the seeing, so easily take for granted. This is what formed Br. Lenny’s life parable… Lenny was in his way, the heart of his brothers and sisters…
“May Br. Lenny’s life parable disturb our complacency and renew our hope that some day, Adveniat Regnum Tuum. May your kingdom come among us.”

Click here to read the full text of Fr. Jim’s homily.

Click here to view a recording of the livestream of the Funeral Mass. Please note that there were some difficulties with the sound at the beginning of the recording, but they were corrected prior to the homily.

Click here to view an electronic photo album from the funeral. Photos are also available on the US Province Facebook page.

Feast day of Bl. Juan María

The feast day of Blessed Juan María de la Cruz, SCJ, is on Friday, September 22. On March 11, 2001, Pope John Paul II declared him blessed along with other 233 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.

Born Mariano García Méndez in 1891, Bl. Juan María was from San Esteban de los Patos, Spain. His family looked after the local church. Because there was no priest in the area, his father led novenas and rosary prayers in the community. It came as no surprise when the father’s eldest – Mariano – felt called to the priesthood at the age of 10.

Mariano eventually pursued that call and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Avila. He served in parish ministry and later as a school chaplain. But it wasn’t just the call to ordained ministry to which he felt called; he also yearned for religious life.

In the Dehonians Fr. Juan Maria found what he had been searching for and on October 31, 1926, he made his first profession. He took the religious name by which he is now known: “Juan María de la Cruz.” The name honored his two great loves: Holy Mary and St. John of the Cross.

Click here to read more about Bl. Juan María and to access prayers and a liturgy for the feast day.

Powwow videos and photos

Be sure to check St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Facebook page for photos and videos from last week’s annual Powwow.

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