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Fridge Notes are generally posted by noon Central Standard Time on Mondays.

Weekly News: February 24, 2014

by on Feb.24, 2014, under News & Events


Former community house now a care facility for undocumented children

Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, wrote with an update on the SCJs’ former community house in Raymondville, Texas. The property was sold to the federal government, which has contracted its use to BCFS Health and Human Services.  BCFS uses the property to care for undocumented immigrant children.

“They officially opened in May, 2013, and have been at full capacity of 48 children ever since,” wrote Fr. Mac. “In my conversations with some of the people who work there, it sounds like the care of these children is impressive…

“Also, the Rio Grande Valley has a very high unemployment rate and Willacy County consistently stays at about 13 percent.  During this political campaign time the discussion is always about jobs. According to statistics published in today’s paper, during the last three years the largest creator of new jobs was BCFS, which hired 60 people to care for the immigrant children. There are over 1,000 such children detained in the Rio Grande Valley without an adult family member or guardian.”

Click here to learn more about BCFS.

Please remember

Valentinas Martis, the father of Ramune Franitza, who many SCJs know from her work at Sacred Heart School of Theology (especially with the ESL program), died February 18.  He was placed in hospice care several days before his death.

Keep in prayer

Fr. Matthias Hansen, an SCJ missionary in Ibambi, Congo, received second degree burns in an explosion attributed to refrigerator oil in the house.  Initially, he is being treated in Congo but may be sent to Europe for further care.

A reminder for SCJs

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter thanks the many members of the province who have already completed their survey in preparation for the chapter State of the Province Report. A reminder: the due date to complete the survey is March 5. A link to the online version is in the Member’s section of the province website (www.sacredheartusa.org). Contact Mary Gorski for assistance in accessing the link.

SHST lecture explores common roots of Christianity and Judaism

Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund

Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund

How is archeology changing Jewish and Catholic identity?

 That’s the topic of a free public lecture set for March 9, hosted by the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology. Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford in Connecticut will discuss recent discoveries in the region around the Sea of Galilee and what Jews and Catholics share with respect to their common roots in that place.

“Both rabbinical Judaism and the Jesus movement sprang from the same soil – the Galilee region during the Roman Period. We are now in a position to explore how that understanding alters the way we understand our faith traditions,” Rabbi Freund said.

The lecture is Sunday, March 9 at 2:00 p.m., in the main lobby of Sacred Heart School of Theology.

The lecture is free of charge, but advance registration is required. Seating is limited. Register at http://luxcenter.shst.edu by Mar. 5.

Pizza for Fat Tuesday

In a recent blog post from India Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, wrote about taking the theology community for pizza to celebrate “Fat Tuesday.” In the United States, Fat Tuesday is often a day of feasting before Lent begins. Catholics in Milwaukee, Fr. Tom’s hometown, often start Fat Tuesday with paczki, a Polish pastry.

In India, however, there doesn’t seem to be a Fat Tuesday tradition. Or at least not at the theologate where Fr. Tom has been for the past few weeks. So, Fr. Tom decided to introduce his Indian confreres to the pre-Lenten feasting tradition. He announced that he would take the whole community out for pizza the night before Ash Wednesday.

Pizza for Fat Tuesday?

Pizza for Fat Tuesday?

The pizza outing was moved up to this past weekend when the house cook was called home unexpectedly.

“All together we had 20 people headed to a U.S pizza parlor,” wrote Fr. Tom. “I was told that Guntur has an honest-to-god Pizza Hut. Looking back we probably should have held a class on what is pizza, and how to order it, as there was some confusion when first we got there.

“As for the pizza, it was similar in style to thick crust pizza or Chicago style. As this is India there was a good selection of vegetarian pizzas on the menu.  Our drinks consisted of water, though I had a cup of espresso at the end. No beer or wine is served, nor sodas, though one could get a fruit drink or what I would call an ice cream soda.

“As it turned out, no one, with the exception of Frs. Mariano and Vimal, who studied in Rome, ever had pizza before. That accounts for some of the confusion we started with. I said to Fr. Mariano that it was funny to watch everyone at the other tables eat the pizza with a fork as pizza is certainly a dish that in the States that is socially acceptable to eat with your hands. For a group of people that, if given the choice, much prefers to eat with their hands, I found it a bit funny.”

Click here to read this text in full, and the rest of Fr. Tom’s posts on the province blog.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter is back in the office after a week’s vacation. March 2-4 he will be in Montréal for the North American councils’ meeting. On March 6 he will take part in the Strategic Planning Meeting with the SHST board of directors, March 9 he will be at the Lux lecture noted earlier, and March 13-18 he will be in the St. Louis area for a visitation and to attend the CMSM Region V meeting.

March birthdays

Birthday cakeThose celebrating birthdays in March include: Fr. Joe Dean (67), Fr. Zbigniew Morawiec (49) and Fr. Gauthier Buyidi Kamosi Kibwanga (38) on March 3, Fr. Jim Brackin (68) on March 4, Fr. Terry Langley (64) on March 12, Frater Joseph Vu (28) on March 13, Fr. Pat Lloyd (72) on March 17, Fr. Richard MacDonald (75) on March 18, Fr. Charles Brown (60) and Fr. Anthony Purwono (40) on March 19, Fr. Frank Wittouck (76) on March 23, Br. Gabe Kersting (92) on March 27 and Fr. Frank Burshnick (77) and Fr. Jim Schroeder (70) on March 30.

Happy birthday!

Coming up

On March 1 Vocation Central will sponsor “Looking to the Future,” at the Provincial Conference Center. Young people will have the opportunity to visit with representatives from men’s and women’s religious communities in the Milwaukee area and join them in prayer. Displays will be open from 6-8:30 p.m., Adoration is from 7-8 p.m. Refreshments follow.

Make the invitation –– encourage a young person to come to the gathering to learn about vocational possibilities, or simply to join in prayer and fellowship

Questions? Call the vocation office at 414-427-4272 or email vocationcentral@wi.rr.com.


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