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

Weekly News: September 15, 2014

by on Sep.15, 2014, under News & Events

Fr. Steve with novices in the Philippines

Fr. Steve with novices in the Philippines

Visiting the communities and ministries of the Philippines

During much of September Fr. Stephen Huffstetter is traveling in Asia, learning about SCJ communities and ministries in the Philippines and Vietnam. During his travels, Fr. Steve has been writing posts and sending photos for the province blog. The following is an excerpt from his most recent post:

“Our boat arrived in port [Cagayan de Oro] just after sunrise. Watching the crew maneuver the large ship into the dock with fist-sized ropes and mechanical winches gave me an appreciation of their skill at a complex task. Too often I take for granted the daily labors that produce and transport our daily bread…

A student feeds the chickens at the formation house

A student feeds the chickens at the formation house

“The formation house holds several different programs. The largest group is those earning a degree in philosophy. A smaller group is in an initial orientation program to learn about the SCJs and community life. Often these students improve their English skills to get them ready for college-level work. One section of the building is for the postulants, who after philosophy, are preparing to enter novitiate…

“I was invited to have a conference with the formation students after supper. I spoke briefly about my vocation story and background of the kinds of ministry I’ve done, then opened the floor up for questions. They ranged from who is my favorite basketball player to who is my favorite philosopher. I’ve never been asked that one before. They also asked good questions about how you handle doubts and struggles along the way as you try to discern God’s call in your life. They had lots of questions about our US Province and asked about possibilities of someday studying or ministering in the States.”

Click here to read Fr. Steve’s full text as well as others

Back in India

Also posting on the province blog is Fr. Tom Cassidy, who will be in India through much of October assisting with formation and administrative tasks in the district. One of his final tasks will be serving as moderator of the district chapter. In a recent post he writes:

“Our last day of meetings [Fr. Tom met with the newly installed district council] ended at noon and I took my afternoon walk on one of the few streets of Kumbalanghi.

Fr. Tom in a traditional lungi

Fr. Tom in a traditional lungi

“As I began my walk I ran into a Catholic funeral procession headed to St. George’s Church. At the end of the procession the body was carried on a cart pulled by men. It was no ordinary cart but one built especially for a funeral. The body of the deceased was in a glass enclosed case, dressed in white with the face exposed. The top of the cart was covered with flowers as were the corners of the glass case. Just in front of the funeral cart the priest and servers walked behind men carrying banners representing various church organizations.

“As a six-foot American I do stand out when strolling the street. I’ve been here since Saturday and have taken a daily stroll so that by now I think I’m less of an oddity — though I’m sure some wonder why in the world would someone want to take a walk for no other purpose other than to walk! Many people will greet me with a ‘hello’ or more often a nod of the head that may well come from not knowing English. The children are the most expensive both in trying to speak English and in their broad smiles.”

As with Fr. Steve, you can click here to read the rest of this and other posts on the province blog site.

Also, keep in mind that anyone –– SCJs, coworkers, parishioners, and others connected to the community –– are welcome to submit blog posts. Click here to share your reflections and/or photos.


Kathleen Whitebird speaking at the international education conference in Valencia

Kathleen Whitebird speaking at the international education conference in Valencia

Witnessing “faith in action”

In a recent post on the Dehonian Spirituality page on the province website Kathleen Whitebird, principal at St. Joseph’s Indian School, reflected on her years with the Priests of the Sacred Heart:

“My work with the SCJ community has spanned almost two decades. I always felt that teaching is a ministry. It is an outreach to the mind, heart, and spirit of our children. The call to ministry in my case was very literal. My journey to Sacred Heart Southern Missions and then St. Joseph’s Indian School was set in motion by a single phone call to which I answered yes. This answer has been supported with a great deal of prayer and reflection through the years.

“What drew me in was witnessing the ‘faith in action’ that is nurtured by the SCJ community. The educational outreach encompasses the whole community. The inclusive spirit of Fr. Dehon invites everyone to be prophets of love and servants of reconciliation. This active ministry network allows youth opportunities of generosity as daily practice. Just recently, our students made special treats in class. They served them to men working on the construction of a playground on campus. Generosity and gratitude flourish in even the smallest of interactions from daily greetings to helping with homework.

“Through the years, the SCJ schools in the US have formed a collaboration sharing resources, cultural practice, and faith encounters. Our students have had the opportunity to travel to other schools and build connections rooted in Dehonian charism, a Heart of Love, a People of Hope, and a Mission of Service. Watching our children as they learn about one another and share experiences, whether it is making dream catchers, dancing on a Mississippi River Boat, splashing at the lakeshore, visiting NASA, or heads bowed in prayer gives one hope. Hope that our work will nurture these children and help them grow into warm, caring, faith-filled individuals.

“At the Educare Conference in Valencia, Spain [an international meeting of representatives from SCJ sponsored schools], another opportunity to strengthen the network of Dehonian Schools was discussed using technology. Taking advantage of these global connections will both enrich and expand the horizons of our students. I am grateful to be a part of the SCJ mission and encourage our children to share their blessings worldwide.”

Click here to read more reflections and prayers based in Dehonian spirituality.

SCJ general has audience with Pope Francis

On September 8, Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, superior general, was received in audience by Pope Francis. Fr. General was accompanied by Brs. Antonio Sudaryono and Vincenzo Dalijan of the Generalate staff. Although they were not a part of Fr. General’s meeting with the Holy Father, they did have an opportunity to meet the pope. [After his service at the Generalate, Br. Antonio left for his native Indonesia on September 11.]

Pope Francis spoke personally with Fr. General about Fr. Leo Dehon and other topics related to the life of the congregation. The pope expressed his great appreciation of the congregation. He recalled with fondness his relationship with Marcellino Palentini, the now deceased bishop of Jujuy, and Bishop Virginio Bressanelli. Because of his previous contacts, Pope Francis is well informed about the congregation.

Pope Francis listened with interest to Fr. Ornelas’ presentation about steps taken in recent years to clarify the issues around the beatification of Fr. Dehon including the seminar held in Paris in 2007 on the question of Christian anti-Semitism, the steps undertaken to compose a critical biography of the founder, the digitalization of his writings and their gradual availability on line, and about dialogue with those in the Church who are a part of the beatification process. Pope Francis urged us to continue in this way, suggesting that we write a more explanatory piece to help clarify issues of concern about Fr. Dehon’s beatification.

Click here to read more about the audience on the Generlate’s website.

Please remember

Donna Kluckman, the mother of Fr. Anthony Kluckman, died September 7. She was 92.

Fr. Honório Armando Link, a member of the BrazilSão Paulo Province, died on September 11. He was born in 1923, professed in 1944 and ordained in 1949.

Fr. Theo Sanders, a member of the Dutch – Flemish Confederation, died September 6. He was born in 1939, professed in 1962 and ordained in 1969.

Br. Willy Kapinga Kawala, a member of the Congolese Province, died September 5. He was born in 1964 and professed in 1994.

Fr. Adolfo Perego, a member of the North Italian Province, died August 26. He was born in 1917, professed in 1936 and ordained in 1943.


A student and visitor at the St. Joseph' Indian School powwow this past weekend.

A student and visitor at the St. Joseph’ Indian School powwow this past weekend.


St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota held its annual powwow over the weekend. Click here to learn more about it and access videos from previous years.

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