Weekly News: September 24, 2012

Fr. John Strittmatter (left) with Fr. Michael Benedict of the Indian District and Sr. Cathy. Fr. John recently retired from full-time ministry.

50 years and time to retire

Fr. John Strittmatter, SCJ, arrived in South Africa from the United States almost 50 years ago. He ministered in several locations but is probably best known for his work with the poor for the past 23 years in Middelburg. Now, Fr. John is retiring. He recently joined the Sacred Heart Monastery Community in Aliwal North. Fr. John’s new address: P.O. Box 859, Aliwal North 9750, South Africa.

“I thank God for the wonderful people with whom I have worked over the past 50 years, including bishops, priests, brothers, sisters and all of our wonderful laity,” Fr. John wrote. “They have all helped me so much. Any good that I have done must be credited to them, my family, friends and other benefactors who have so generously supported me…

“There is a time for everything and now I will have more time for prayer and some other things which I may not have been able to do before.”

Fr. Frank (right) with fellow Marriage Encounter leaders

SCJ named to new position

Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ, has been selected to serve as the priest representative on the ecclesial team of Section 10 of Worldwide Marriage Encounter. This section serves Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. He is pictured above with Tony & Karen Potter, fellow team leaders.

Culture Fair

The annual Culture Fair, hosted by Sacred Heart School of Theology’s ESL program, will be Wednesday, September 26. A multicultural Mass will be held at 11 a.m. followed by the fair in the SHST dining room from noon to 1:30. The fair is a chance for students to showcase the foods and traditions of their home countries.

Focus on immigration

For many years the Canadian Region has focused on the concerns of immigrants through a variety of ministries, including the work of Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, with “Becoming Neighbors.” Becoming Neighbors is a collaborative ministry of men and women religious that focuses on the personal needs and general concerns of immigrant and refugee populations in Canada.

Fr. Peter shares several initiatives of the organization, including an upcoming lecture by Fr. Daniel G. Groody, CSC, Ph.D, of Notre Dame. His lecture topic: “A Pilgrim People, A Human Journey: Theological Perspectives on Migration and Eucharist.”

“There are 200 million people worldwide who are displaced from their homelands by wars, genocide, famine, natural catastrophes, and collapsed or withering economies,” states the opening text in the flyer about the presentation. “In this lecture, Professor Groody will consider the complexity and urgency of the global phenomenon of migration, and invite us to respond to this inhumanity with hospitality.”

For those in the Toronto area next week, the lecture will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 4 at Alumni Hall 400, 90 Saint Joseph Street.

Also, Fr. Peter writes that “Becoming Neighbours became aware that the Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, would be one of the presenters at the September 2012 Annual Plenary Session of the Canadian Catholic Bishops Assembly. Approximately 250,000 immigrants and 30,000 refugees come to Canada every year with a significant proportion of them choosing Toronto as their new home. As Becoming Neighbours daily accompanies refugees and immigrants who have been uprooted and displaced, their stories compel us to seek just, compassionate and comprehensive policies. It is in this light that Becoming Neighbours, with others, prepared a Brief sent to every Canadian Bishop prior to their Assembly highlighting several immigration concerns.”

Click here to read a copy of that brief.

Peace in the Middle East, upcoming elections

The September JP Alert produced by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) focuses on peace concerns in the Middle East and Syria, as well as the upcoming national election in the United States. There is also a link to a Catholic News Service story on “Labor priests’ being trained to help immigrant, low-wage workers.

Click here to view the CMSM J/P Alert for September.

Remembering a martyr

Blessed Juan Maria de la Cruz

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of Blessed Juan María de la Cruz, SCJ. Born in 1891 to an agricultural family, he felt the call to be a priest at a very young age. He eventually joined the Priests of the Sacred Heart and took the name “John Maria of the Cross.” Much of his ministry was in education and vocation development in Spain.

During the Spanish Civil War of 1936, Fr. Juan traveled incognito to Valencia seeking refuge with one of the congregation’s benefactors (the government at the time was hostile toward the Church). While traveling from the train station he passed the church of “de los Juanes” in the center of the city. There he witnessed men desecrating and burning the church. Fr. Juan shouted in protest. When the men heard his shouting, they said to each other: “He is a reactionary.” He responded: “NO, I am a priest.” He was arrested and taken to the Modelo jail in Valencia where he was killed on August 23, 1936.

The first SCJ to be named blessed, he was beatified on March 11, 2001. September 22 was his feast day.

Click here to read more about Blessed Juan Maria on our general website.

Please remember

Fr. Willebrordus Jacobus Maria van den Heuvel, a member of the Dutch – Flemish Confederation, died September 17. He was born in 1937, professed in 1957 and ordained in 1964.


Last week we noted that Fr. Bill Marrevee had moved to the SCJs’ house on Daly Street in Ottawa. This week, we share his new email address: w.marrevee@bell.net

Speaking of SCJs moving around, Bishop Joe Potocnak will be in Holly Springs, Miss., in October, helping novitiate classmate Fr. Lenny Elder with ministry there.

Also, Br. Mike Fette has new contact information:

4800 489th St. N.E.
P.O. Box 954
Rochester, MN 55906


And finally, a few members of the Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake community have new email addresses:

Fr. Don Barnd: frbarnd@gmail.com
Fr. Paul Casper: frcasper@gmail.com
Fr. Larry Rucker: lruckerscj@gmail.com

Provincial’s time

Fr. Cassidy is in the Milwaukee area until September 29 when he leaves for Africa to attend the ordination of Archbishop Claudio Dalla Zuanna in Beira, Mozambique.

Upcoming meetings and events:

October 11-12: Provincial Council Meeting
October 12: Dedication of Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake
November 13-14, North American Councils meeting in Toronto
December 18-19: Provincial Council Meeting

January 29-30: Provincial Council Meeting
March 13: Local Superiors Meeting
March 14: Provincial Council Meeting
April 8-9: Mission Education Conference, St. Joseph’s Indian School
April 30 – May 1: Provincial Council Meeting (budgets)
Week of June 3: Province Election Assembly.