XXIV General Chapter in Rome – Reports

July 15, 2018, the second day of the Chapter started with Mass celebrated by Fr. Heiner Wilmer, former superior general. It would be his last Mass with the Rome community before leaving to prepare for his new assignment as bishop of Hildesheim, Germany.

Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño Martín, the incumbent superior, thanked Fr. Heiner for his service. He said that Fr. Heiner had not only been a good leader, but an excellent confrere, a brother in life and in work. It was an emotional moment of both joy and sorrow as Fr. Heiner gave thanks for the congregation and to those with whom he served. After the Mass, each capitular lined up to personally expresses his well-wishes to the bishop-elect.

THE STATE OF THE CONGREGATION
Before the chapter delegates discern new leadership, it is important to hear from the current administration about the “state” of the congregation. What are the priorities? What are the challenges?

The State of the Congregation isn’t simply a summary of projects and numbers, a statement of where Dehonians are and what they are doing. It is a window into the life of the congregation as described by those who have the widest view: the Superior General and his council.

Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño Martín began by reminding the delegates that it is a report of an administration that only reached the midway point of its term. Some projects are just beginning, others have not yet started.

PRIORITIES AND AREAS OF FOCUS
Soon after Fr. Heiner Wilmer took office, he and his council developed a programmatic letter strongly based in the message of the XXIII General Chapter. The letter identified three areas of focus:  marks of mercy in formation, marks of mercy connected with the poor, and marks of mercy in Evangelization.

Working together, the administration developed a new Mission Statement for the congregation, identifying a vision (Love with open heart and mind) and a mission (Adveniat Regnum Tuum –– Your kingdom come).

Of projects begun but not completed, Fr. Carlos Enrique cited the General Conference in the Philippines that was planned for the same time period as the General Chapter. He hoped that the next administration would revisit the conference.

Delegates discussed the State of the Congregation in small groups.

FINANCIAL PLANNING A NECESSARY PART OF RELIGIOUS LIFE
Yesterday, on June 15, 2018, the chapter focused on the State of the Congregation. Today the spotlight turned to the congregation’s finances.
Fr. Luca Zottoli, general treasurer, began his report by noting three key issues identified by the 2015 General Chapter: financial independence, aging and vocations. “These continue to be crucial issues for the congregation; the general administration kept these issues in mind as it developed its economic policies,” he said.

“There are no rich entities and no poor entities,” emphasized Fr. Luca. “There are no parent entities or child entities. All entities are sisters called to manage their patrimony, their resources, regardless if they are large or small.”

VILLA AURELIA AND THE GENERALATE
The General Treasurer’s office does not only have responsibility for the wide-ranging financial concerns of the congregation, but also for those close to home. Fr. Luca talked about the complex financial realities of the General Curia, the International College and Villa Aurelia.

Long-range financial planning is key to maintaining Villa Aurelia and the Generalate. “The general house is like a building site where work is always in progress,” said Fr. Luca. There have been renovations to the library and the roof; water drainage and other structures had to be repaired due to earthquake damage. In the future, the heating-cooling system, as well as the electrical system, will be upgraded.

REPORT OF THE FINANCIAL EXPERTS COMMITTEE
Chapter regulations require that a committee of experts reviews the financial accounts of the entities and curia. Those who served on the committee at the previous chapter were asked to do so again: Fr. Giacomo Cesano (ITS), Mr. Garret Stinson (USA) and Mr. José M Gutiérrez (ESP).

The committee noted challenges and offered suggestions for the future. Short and long-range budgeting is essential in all the entities. This includes everything from formation costs to anticipating major maintenance expenses. The committee suggested the development of a template for annual financial reports that could be implemented throughout the congregation.

The previous General Chapter suggested that a support team be established that could help entities with financial skill development or to serve as a resource when an entity has a major financial question, such as the disbursement of an unneeded property. Committee members endorsed this recommendation.

Start of the XXIV General Chapter in Rome

On Saturday, July 14, 2018, started the XXIV General Chapter of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, known also as Dehonians or SCJs. The Chapter is being held at the General Curia in Rome and is being attended by seventy-seven (77) delegates plus one (1) invited guest.

The purpose of this assembly is election of the new administration, review the State of the Congregation, and to discern what are the current needs and challenges lying ahead of the Congregation.

Normally, the General Chapter is held every six years. The XXIV General Chapter is an exception. It occurs only three years after the previous General Chapter at which Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, was elected the superior general. On April 6, 2018, Fr. Heiner was appointed as bishop of Hildesheim, Germany. That appointment led to the calling of a General Chapter three years earlier than initially planned. Also, because of this the General Conference in Manila, going to be held at the same time as the Chapter, was cancelled.

 

The Chapter will end on July 27, 2018 at noon time. Hopefully, by July 21, 2018, the Congregation will have a new administration.

The General Chapter was preceded by the local chapters held in every entity with the purpose of electing delegates for the General Chapter and discernment of the present situation and needs.

The Philippines is being represented by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Regional Superior and Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, the official delegate chosen by the members of the Philippine Region.

Opening Mass

Priestly Ordination in Cagayan de Oro

On July 10, 2018, two SCJ Deacons, Rev. Nathaniel D. Robilla and Rev. Rogereve U. Pausanos, received the Sacrament of Priesthood. The ceremony of ordination was held at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Cagayan de Oro City, run by the Priests of the Sacred Heart, and was presided by the Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD, archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.

Fr. Nathaniel Robilla, SCJ, comes from the Diocese of Tagum, while Fr. Rogereve Pausanos from Balongating, Diocese of Pagadian. Until June 27, 2018, Balongating was a part of Dumalinao Parish run by the SCJs.

The new priests will continue their present assignments, Fr. Nathaniel in Parokya Banal na Krus, Sitio Bukal, Barangay Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo), and Fr. Rogereve in San Isidro Labrador Parish in Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur.

Ordination to the Diaconate 2018

On June 29, 2018, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, two (2) members of the SCJ Philippine Region: Bro. Ruel Paalisbo, SCJ, and Bro. Joel Bolo, SCJ, who a day before made their perpetual profession of vows, were ordained deacons.

They were ordained by the Bishop of Pagadian Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Cabajar DD, CSsR, at the San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Deacon Ruel comes from Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, Diocese of Iligan, while Deacon Joel from Ugyaban, Chaplaincy of Dansolihon, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. Both places were marked with the SCJ presence and the two new deacons are the fruits of it.

The new deacons are assigned, respectively, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City and San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

First and Perpetual Profession of Vows

Today, on June 28, 2018, five (5) SCJ Novices from the Philippines, Rene D. Adorable, Francis S.J. Atayza, July P. Zambrano, Giovanni B. Bautista, and Rackie M. Roxas, made their commitment to God in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. By the profession of three vows: Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, they declared their readiness to follow Jesus more closely. They were preparing for this moment for almost fourteen (14) months under the guidance of the Novice Master Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ and Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, the “Socius.” Together, with five (5) Vietnamese Novices, who made their First Profession of vows in Vietnam last May 31, 2018, they have had been learning about the Congregation, the Founder, vows and religious life.

During the same celebration, two SCJ brothers on temporary vows: Fra. Ruel Paalisbo, SCJ and Fra. Joel Bolo, SCJ, made their final profession of vows.

Both Professions of Vows, First and Perpetual, were accepted by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ.

The ceremony that was held on the 140 anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, took place at the St. Isidore Parish Church in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur, and was attended by the SCJ confreres from different parts of the Philippines, family members and friends of the newly professed religious.

The newly professed will move to the Manila Community at the Dehon House, where they will study Theology and prepare themselves further for the ordination to the priesthood.

As we thank God for this beautiful moment, we entrust the new SCJs to our prayers. May they grow in their vocation and become effective instruments of God’s Love to the world.

Benefactors’ Day 2018 in Cagayan de Oro

It is already a tradition that on the Sunday, after the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the formation community of Cagayan de Oro celebrates Benefactors’ Day. It is the way to let the benefactors know more about the congregation and its activities and also an opportunity to thank them for their support and generosity.

This year, the celebration of Benefactors’ Day was held on June 10, 2018. As usual, it started with the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, scj, who is in charge of the Benefactors and Fundraising Office. At the end of the Mass, the benefactors could watch a 20-minute video presentation entitled “With Open Heart and Mind”, containing information about the Congregation and activities of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the Philippines.

It was noticed that every year there are more and more benefactors joining this celebration.

The celebration was culminated with a common meal.

Celebrations in Manila and Cagayan de Oro

The Feast of the Sacred Heart, the patronal feast of the Priests of the Sacred Heart on June 8, 2018, was celebrated in all formation houses in the Philippines. Many friends of the Congregation, associates, and benefactors, had joined the celebration, especially in Metro Manila and Cagayan de Oro.

In Manila, during the Eucharist. presided by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, six scholastics: four Filipino and two Vietnamese, had renewed their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Also, all the SCJs attending this celebration renewed their commitment as religious.

A good number of benefactors from Quezon City, Mandaluyong and Makati City were able to attend this event and to meet personally Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ and Sr. Yolly C. Novabos, TMM, from the fundraising office in Cagayan de Oro City. The oldest participant of the celebration was 97 years old.

The benefactors and guests were given a chance to know more about the congregation and its works through the video presentation, entitled “With open heart and Mind”, that was played just after the Mass.

In Cagayan de Oro City, the Holy Eucharist was presided by Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ, a member of the community. As usual, besides friends of the Congregation, the celebration was attended by members of the Dehonian Family: Dehonian Youth and Lay Dehonians. After the Holy Communion, five new members of the Dehonian Youth made their commitment and the old members renewed their commitment as well. The commitments were accepted by Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ, the councilor of the Philippine Region, who ealier accepted six new Postulants: five Vietnamese and one Filipino.

In both events, the celebrations were very nice and attended by many people, and SCJs from the area, who were not only able to enjoy the celebration, but also the delicious food served afterwards.

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart

I have loved you from all eternity and will love you eternally if, on your side, you never cease to love me. I will never forget you. Deeply, carefully and lovingly have I written you in the wounds of my feet and hands. I have gone further. As though I were not satisfied with this, I have had my side pierced by a soldier’s spear to open wide for you the entrance to my Heart and to show you how great was the love which led me to die for you. (Henry Arnoldi +1487)

Episcopal Ordination in Cagayan de Oro

On June 7, 2018, the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro celebrated the Episcopal Ordination of Fr. Raul Dael, SSJV. Fr. Raul is the third priest from the archdiocese, who became bishop. The other two are Bp. Jose A. Cabantan, DD, the Bishop of Malaybalay and Bp. Vilsom Basso, SCJ, who was assigned in the archdiocese when he was called to become a bishop in Brazil.

The new bishop, was on September 29, 2014, giving a spiritual input to the SCJs, who were starting their 1st Regional Assembly in Cagayan de Oro City. In his talk, Fr. Raul emphasized the mercy of God and the importance of being priests and religious after the Heart of Christ.

The main consecrators of Fr. Raul as bishop were: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, DD,  from the Archdiocese of Manila, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, DD, archbishop of Cagayan de Oro and Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, DD, JCD,  bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, who is being replaced by the new bishop Raul.

The celebration was attended by 30 Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, hundreds of priests from different archdioceses and dioceses and many people. The celebration that lasted three hours was beautifully prepared. The new bishop and people of Cagayan de Oro and their guests enjoyed also a meal together and the very nice weather.