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Fridge Notes are generally posted by noon Central Standard Time on Mondays.
Common interests discussed in Montréal
The North American Continental Conference was one of the main topics of the March 3rd meeting of the administrations of the US and Canada held in Montréal. A follow-up committee is being established to take up many of the “Next Steps” surfaced on the last day of the September conference.
The councils discussed their upcoming chapters –– the 2014 provincial and regional chapters, as well as the 2015 general chapter in Rome. Each entity will send an observer to the other’s chapter.
Also on the agenda was the newly developing international community in Toronto. SCJs there were asked to talk about their community in light of the changes that have taken place since committing to ministry at St. Thomas More and Our Lady of the Rosary parishes.
The Toronto community prepared a four-page paper to describe its experience for the councils. In it they noted both the pros and cons of their community. Among the pros listed was the fact that the community developed a Dehonian Pastoral Plan with a common thread of the accompaniment of immigrants. Although there is a significant distance between the residences (half of the community lives at St. Thomas More), the community is committed to coming together at least once a week.
Councilors from both the US and Canada were impressed by what they learned in the report, especially by Fr. Jim Casper’s comments about the witness value of what the SCJs in Toronto were doing: living internationally and inter-generationally.
“In a multicultural parish and multicultural city it is absolutely necessary that the leadership team model for the parish by being accepting of one another,” wrote Fr. Jim in the community’s report.
For over 20 years the administrations of Canada and the United States have held joint meetings, generally twice a year, to discuss topics of common concern, share news about members and ministries, and dialogue on issues of the worldwide congregation.
The next joint meeting is scheduled for October 21 in Hales Corners/Franklin.
A joint US – Canadian assembly is tentatively proposed for the summer of 2015, following the general chapter.
March 14th marks the 171st anniversary of the birth of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Known as “Founder’s Day” in the congregation, “March 14 is a day on which we remember not only the birth of our founder, Fr. Leo Dehon, but also the birth of our vocation. In doing so, we pray that this vocation will live on in others, and are reminded to help others –– from all walks of life, in the many places we serve –– to find the vocation that is alive within them,” wrote Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, SCJ superior general, in his letter commemorating Founder’s Day.
Click here to download the letter.
Founder’s Day is not only a day to celebrate vocations, but also the gift of Fr. Dehon’s charism. It is a perfect time to begin a new feature on the website: weekly prayers and reflections based in the Dehonian charism and SCJ spirituality. They are prepared by David Schimmel, province director of Dehonian Associates.
“Of the innumerable ways to contemplate God’s infinite love for creation, the Priests of the Sacred Heart gaze upon the wounded body of Jesus on the cross, particularly his pierced side that symbolically opens a pathway to his heart,” writes David in his introduction to Dehon Spirituality. “It is their goal to be totally united to the thoughts and sentiments of the Heart of Jesus so that they might be prophets of God’s love and servants of reconciliation, particularly among people who feel shunned, invisible, or oppressed.”
The “Prayer” section of the province website is being redesigned so that it is more directly based in the Dehonian charism and SCJ spirituality. Although the tab on the home page still says “Prayer” it will be renamed “Dehonian Spirituality.”
Several reflections and prayers in anticipation of March 14 (Founder’s Day) are now available in this section of the website. Click here to view them.
Congratulations to Fr. Christianus Hendrik, SCJ, who was installed this week as the local superior of the South Dakota SCJ community. He took the oath of office at the SCJ community chapel in Chamberlain. Pictured with him (above) is Fr. Wayne Jenkins, SCJ, province archivist, who was with the community giving a two-day recollection.
Calling all artists!
The General Chapter Preparatory Commission is looking for a logo that incorporates the theme “Merciful, in community, with the poor.”
If you would like to submit a logo for the “friendly competition,” send it to the secretary general’s office via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 1, 2014.
The commission is also seeking a musical theme. Click here to listen to the 2009 theme. The deadline for the music is also June 1.
Speaking of the 2015 General Chapter, two members of the General Chapter Preparatory Committee did brief audio interviews explaining the chapter theme. Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, does the interview in English and Fr. Oliviero Cattani, SCJ, does an interview in Italian.
Both interviews are available on the Generalate’s website. Click here to access them.
Earlier this year Fr. Michael Burke, SCJ, joined Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, in a trip to Vietnam to learn about the community’s presence there. Reflecting on his first visit to the country, Fr. Mike said “Vietnam is definitely a land of contrasts; for example, modern technology is everywhere, and yet people still plow the rice fields with water buffalo and plows.
“Tourism has become a major industry, and tourists can be seen in all the major cities. Tourists are very welcome.”
There are currently 17 members in the SCJs’ Vietnam District, along with 24 college students. This month, three of these will be going to the novitiate in the Philippines. They will join 25 other Vietnamese students. Seven of them are in theology and the rest are studying philosophy.
“The SCJs were very good hosts; typical SCJ hospitality. They are very grateful for the support of the U.S. Province and wanted us to know that we are always welcome and encouraged to visit. They are patient and committed to building our community there and serving the Vietnamese people. I was very impressed with what they have accomplished so far.”
Fr. Stephen Huffstetter will be in the St. Louis area later this week for a visitation and to attend the CMSM Region V meeting.
Also, he invites SCJs to take part in the dialogue begun on the US Membership site. The first reflection is by Bishop Joe Potocnak, SCJ, on the topic of concelebration. SCJs in the U.S. Province received information regarding access to the dialogue space last week. If you missed the mailing, the link can also be found in the Members’ section of the province website.