Weekly News: September 26, 2011

Students in the Dehon Formation Community catch up with each other during dinner.

Preparing for ministry and community life with the SCJs

The Dehon Formation Community in Chicago’s Hyde Park is a base for those preparing for ministry and religious life with the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  Its primary focus is candidates and professed SCJs in their initial years of formation, but the community also hosts SCJs, as well as priests and brothers from other communities and dioceses, who are doing advanced studies or sabbatical programs.

The 2011 Dehon Formation Community

The 2011 fall semester begins with four candidates and three professed SCJs in initial formation.  They are directed by Br. Duane Lemke, coordinator of the community, and Fr. John Czyzynski.  Fr. Bob Bossie is in residence. Later in the year, the formation community anticipates welcoming several SCJs on sabbatical.

Photos of the community, as well as brief autobiographies of its members, have been posted on the province website. Click here to go directly to the webpage.

Below is an abbreviated version of James Nguyen’s autobiography; James is the newest candidate in the program.

“It was three years ago that I traveled to Chicago for the Come and See weekend after meeting Fr. Francis Vu Tran at the camp for the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society,” wrote James.  “At that time, I had no anticipation of being back again to the formation house.  However, God works in amazing ways and here I am, staying this time for a little more than one weekend.

“I am James Nguyen, 22, from the great Pacific Northwest.  Although I was born in Saigon, Vietnam, I spent much of my life in Seattle, Wash. I am a graduate from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology, and a minor in values in society. This semester, I will be back to school routines but this time at Catholic Theological Union.

“I love to travel and hope to one day return to South America where I have been to Peru and Brazil. The trip to Peru was one of the turning points in my life as I saw the splendor of Ausangate and the magnificence of Machu Picchu.  To me, it was God’s creation at its best.  I never felt so in touch with the divine presence and something just struck me as I gazed in awe.

“What drew me to the Priests of the Sacred Heart is the charism and spirituality in Fr. Leo Dehon’s writings.  Every SCJ that I have met shows such passion and hospitality in his ministry.  They express the mission of being prophets of love and servants of reconciliation in their daily lives.  I was inspired by Fr. Dehon saying that going out to the world with a Bible is not just enough as we should also be carrying a newspaper.  Today, I like to tweak that just a bit in saying that we should go with a Bible in one hand and in the other an iPad!”

Again, click here to read James’ autobiography in full, as well as those of the rest of the community. Photos, including a brief slide show, are also posted with autobiographies.

Formation news

On Wednesday, September 28, Frater Luis Fernando Orozco Cardona will receive the ministry of acolyte during a ceremony at the Dehon Formation Community in Chicago. Please keep Frater Fernando in your prayers.

Philippine visitors

Fr. Jose Benedito de Morases Machado, district superior of the Philippines, and Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, the district’s fund raising director, arrive in Milwaukee today (September 26) for a two-week visit. The primary purpose of their visit is to learn more about how fund raising is done in the United States. The district, with the help of the U.S. Province, has already begun initial development efforts.

During their visit Frs. Francis and Benedito will also meet with the Provincial Council. On October 10 they return to the Philippines with two new missionaries: Fr. Jonathan Schneiders and Br. Sergio Matumoto. The two Brazilian SCJs have spent the past few months in Sacred Heart School of Theology’s ESL program, preparing for their new assignment.

The US Province is one of the primary financial supporters of the Philippine district, which includes the SCJs’ presence in Vietnam.

ESL newsletter

Speaking of the ESL program, the students have posted another newsletter. Click here to download issue No. 8.

“Father Bishop”

Last week we noted that Bishop Marcellino Palentini, bishop of the Diocese of Jujuy in Argentina, died on September 18. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor late last year. A member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the bishop was originally from Veneto, Italy.

Bishop Palentini was often called "Father Bishop" by the people of his diocese.

Although he was not known by many in the United States, Bishop Palentini was well-regarded not only in his diocese but in many areas of the world for his solidarity with the poor in the remote Andes mountains where he served. Respected by both church and civic leaders, he was often asked to mediate discussions between opposing groups.  The bishop was credited for developing social programs that helped to educate the poor and literally, feed the hungry. Years ago the city of Jujuy honored the bishop with the “San Salvador de Jujuy Award” in recognition for work “done by the local church in its commitment to making society more human,” reported the congregational website www.dehon.it.

Upon his death, civic leaders in Jujuy declared a day of mourning.

“Father Bishop” as the locals often called him, was often referred to as the  “Good Shepherd” of Jujuy. In 2004 a documentary (in English) was produced on him and his ministry. A ten-minute trailer is available on YouTube. Click here to view it.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Peter Botman, a member of the Canadian Region, had surgery last Friday, September 23; in August doctors found a large mass in his lung.  Friday’s surgery lasted eight hours; his entire left lung was removed.  The procedure went as hoped and if there are no complications it is expected that he should be able to go home at the end of the week to continue his recovery. Fr. Peter is a member of the Toronto community.

Also, Fr. Jerry Clifford is in the hospital for a few days. Earlier in the year he was diagnosed with lung cancer and has been receiving treatment for it.

ESL Culture Fair

SCJs and co-workers in the Milwaukee area are reminded that the ESL Culture Fair will be held Wednesday, September 28, from noon to 2:00 p.m. Stop by the SHST dining room for food and beverages from the many countries represented in this year’s ESL program, and to learn a bit about traditions and culture of the home countries of our students.

Speaking of ESL…

After completing his studies this fall at Cardinal Stritch University, Fr. Donatus Kusmartono of the Indonesian Province will remain at Sacred Heart School of Theology through the end of the year to assist with the ESL program. “I am grateful to Fr. Donatus for offering to do this for SHST and the province,” said Fr. Tom Cassidy. Fr. Donatus is an alumnus of ESL.

Provincial’s Time

Fr. Tom Cassidy is primarily in the Milwaukee area until he leaves for Europe on October 14, where he will take part in the SCJs’ European Conference on Secularity.  He will be in Europe until October 28.

October 4-5 he has Provincial Council meetings.

Upcoming meetings and events:

September 28: ESL Cultural Fair
September 28: Frater Luis Fernando Orozco Cardona receives the ministry of acolyte
October 2: Pet Blessing (SHST; click here to download a PDF about the event)
October 4-5: Provincial Council Meeting
October 17-20: European Conference on Secularity (Frs. Tom Cassidy of the U.S. Province and Fr. Bill Marrevee of Canada will attend the conference in Clairefontaine, Belgium)
November 8-9: Combined Councils Meeting of the U.S. and Canada (Ottawa)
November 14-16: SCJ Retreat, Pinellas Park
December 14-15: Provincial Council Meeting