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Fridge Notes are generally posted by noon Central Standard Time on Mondays.
“Senate of the congregation”
The last time the major superiors of the congregation gathered as a group was after the 2012 General Conference in Neustadt, Germany. It was there that Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, superior general, referred them as the “senate of the congregation.” The leaders of the provinces, regions and districts are an important force in helping to set the agenda for the Priests of the Sacred Heart in its ministries and as a religious community.
Starting today, November 4, the major superiors begin a week-long meeting at the Generalate in Rome. It is Fr. Stephen Huffstetter’s first such meeting as provincial superior of the US Province. Fr. Bill Marrevee will represent the Canadian Region, and Dn. David Nagel takes part as a member of the General Finance Commission.
Besides updating each other on the works of the congregation, one of the primary tasks of participants at this week’s gathering will be to determine the dates, themes and the preparatory needs of the 2015 general chapter.
Click here to view photos from Sunday night’s opening activities: vespers with the General Curia and student communities, and an introductory skit welcoming meeting participants.
Bringing the message of God’s love to a war-ravaged people
Fr. Gauthier Buyidi, an SCJ of the Congolese Province, joined the Dehon Formation Community this year to begin graduate studies in political science. In an article posted on the province website he reflected on how seeing the devastating affects of war on so many people compelled him to find ways to help heal the broken social structures of his country:
“I was touched by the affect of poverty on the life of the people,” he wrote. “The war, the lack of social and political stability which has claimed more than 7 million lives in two decades, has also significantly destroyed the basic social and economic structure of the regions where I ministered. Mambasa, our mission, is the only place with a viable school, as well as a small hospital, between the city of Kisangani and Bunia, a distance 750 kilometers (about 465 miles).
“In these conditions of extreme poverty and degradation of the human life I started to ask myself what the meaning of the Gospel was for these people. How can one preach a loving God to women who have been raped, to malnourished children, to a community which has become unjustly disabled and destroyed because of human greed and selfishness? It was very hard to tell people ‘God is love’. I had a frustrating experience. Sometimes I had to read all the readings at a Mass because no one in the village was able to read.
“These frustrations and my interior revolt helped me to think about my responsibility as an SCJ and as a member of the Congolese Province…
“That is why I am presently here in the United States. I am involved in the Social Justice and Community Development Master’s Program at Loyola University, Chicago…
“I am grateful to the US Province for the opportunity I have to come and study in this country. More importantly, I am grateful to the confreres of this province for their Dehonian cordiality. Through their hospitality and ecce venio, I feel the beauty of belonging in this great, multicultural and multiracial family of Dehonians.”
Travels through South Africa
As noted last week, Fr. Tom Cassidy is spending time in the countries for which he had responsibility when he was on General Council. This month he is in South Africa. During his travels Fr. Tom is keeping a journal. Periodically entries from it will be posted on the province blog. The following excerpts were written after a visit to Graaff-Reinet:
“Our trip from De Aar to Graaff-Reinet offered some of the best for scenery in this part of South Africa. [Fr. Tom was traveling with Bishop Adam Musialek.]The road takes you through two mountain passes, one of about 5,000 feet and the other slightly less. The vistas are broad, and with few trees you can see for miles. We managed also to catch a glimpse of springboks and monkeys on the way and a large turtle crossing the road upon our return home today.
“Graaff-Reinet is an old English settlement and still carries much of the charm of days long past. It is also larger (at least the town proper) than De Aar. The pastor at present is Fr. Kazimierz Gabriel, who is originally from Poland. He has a green thumb and enjoys, among other things, to grow roses.
“The purpose of our visit was a meeting of the parish council with the bishop. Bishop Adam and Fr. Gabriel thought it was a very profitable experience for all concerned.
“After the meeting broke up the three of us went out to eat dinner. The place Fr. Gabriel chose was about a 10-minute walk from the rectory. It was a small restaurant with an interesting menu. I had the chance to order ostrich steak, but opted for Karoo Style Lamb Chops. Since Bishop Adam took the ostrich I had the chance to taste it. It really does have a flavor close to steaks — for once you didn’t hear: ‘Tastes just like chicken.’
“This morning I had the chance to take a walk around town and capture a few pictures. Even though this was an English Settlement the biggest church in town belongs to the Dutch Reformed Church. Our own Catholic church pales in comparison. This being the first of the month another thing I noticed was the large number of people lined up at the banks and ATM machines — pay day!
Click here to read the rest of the post, as well as other entries.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Joe Doscher was hospitalized last week for a bleeding ulcer.
St. Joe’s students help to decorate national Christmas tree
Students at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD, worked with an artist in residence in October to create Christmas ornaments for the National Christmas tree in Washington, DC. Approximately 50 ornaments are ready to be shipped and hung.
“St. Joseph’s Indian School was the only school in South Dakota to take part in the tree decorating project,” said Fr. Anthony Kluckman, school chaplain. “This was a very special opportunity indeed.”