Mass of Remembrance

On May 29 the General Chapter held a Mass of Remembrance to honor those SCJs who have died since the last General Chapter in 2009. The Mass began in the meeting hall to allow for translation assistance and ended in the main chapel of the “Collegio Internationale.”

“It has become part of our General Chapters to remember those who have gone before us, who, through death, were joined with Christ,” said Fr. John van den Hengel, the main celebrant and homilist. “We remember the dead of the last six years, we join with them and ask the Lord of mercy and of love to embrace them and be their joy…

“These members have all been part of our life line, our story. Their lives built up part of our identity. They were and are part of our story. We tell our current story by retelling theirs, what they did, their dying in the midst of life, their sacrifices, their foibles and faults.”

Speaking of the slide show that would follow, Fr. John said that “You will probably, as I will, have these moments of recognition: ‘ah, yes, it is so good to be reminded of you again,’ ‘thank you for what you did,’ ‘sorry that I did not always recognize you for the gift you gave to the community,’ ‘thank you for the joy you brought,’  ‘you were a great grace to the church and to the community.’

“Allow our minds and our hearts to tell the story again, to feel it in our hearts, to shed a tear at the sadness of their loss … but always with the awareness and the faith of the power of their life in Christ.”

Thanksgiving Mass

On May 27, Fr. Heiner Wilmer, newly elected superior general, was the main celebrant at a Mass of Thanksgiving. Joining him at the altar was the newly elected council.The Mass was broadcast live on TeleDehon.

New General Council – Congratulations!

After the election of the General Superior on May 25, 2015, members of the General Chapter have elected five (5) members of the Council. On the same day in the afternoon, Fr. Leopold Mfouakouet, the Provincial Superior of Cameroon, was voted as the first member of the council representing the continent of Africa.

On Tueasday, May 26, the second to be elected or rather re-elected, for the next six years as general councilor, was Fr. Paulus Sugino, representing the geographical zone of Asia.

The third councilor became Fr. Artur Sanecki, the Provincial Superior of Poland, representing Europe.

The fourth councilor, representing the South America, is the Regional Superior of Venezuela, Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño Martin. Fr. Carlos, 48, is the youngest member of the council.

Finally, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, the U.S. Provincial Superior became the fitfth general councilor, representing the North America.

Congratulations to all!

The election of the members of the General Administration was conducted in a very smooth and fraternal way. They seem to be a good and strong team.

The official start of the New Administration is the end of the General Chapter on June 6, 2015.


New General Superior

GER-WilmerToday, May 25, Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, was elected as the 10th superior general of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). He succeeds Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, who completes his second, six-year term.

Originally from Germany, Fr. Wilmer, 54, has been the provincial superior of the Dehonians’ German Province since 2007.  He was ordained in 1987, and professed his first vows with the congregation in 1982.

Prior to his service as provincial superior Fr. Wilmer held a number of positions in education. From 1998 – 2007 he was headmaster of Gymnasium Leoninum in Handrup, Germany. Before that, he spent a year teaching German and history at the Jesuit’s Fordham Preparatory School in New York (USA).

From 1995 – 1997 he served at Liebfrauenschulem, a school in Vechta, northern Germany, as a teacher of religion, history and politics, as well as a school chaplain.

Fr. Wilmer has also taken part in several social initiatives with the poor and disenfranchised.  In 2006 he spent three months in Caracas, Venezuela, doing catechesis among the city’s barrios. From 1996 – 1997 he worked to develop a training initiative for women at a penitentiary in Vechta (Germany).

During his year teaching in New York he served in the Jesuits’ soup kitchen. And in 1993 he spent four months in Toronto, Canada, serving as a chaplain at “L’Arche Daybreak,” a residential home for people with disabilities.

His studies have included French Philosophy at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and Fundamental Theology at the University of Freiburg, where he earned his doctorate. The title of his thesis: “Mystik zwischen Tun und Denken. Zum Ort der Mystik in der Philosophie Maurice Blondels”  [Mysticism between doing and thinking. The place of mysticism in the philosophy of Maurice Blondel]

Fr. Wilmer is also an author with several published works.

His election took place during the General Chapter of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Rome. The event brings together Dehonian priests and brothers representing 40 countries on five continents. In the next few days the chapter delegates will complete the election of the five-member General Council.

The chapter concludes on Saturday, June 6.

“Go forth and proclaim the joy of the Gospel”


Dehonian Youth Missionaries Summer Mission 2015

This is the theme that stimulates the Dehonian Youth Missionaries annual summer mission this year. In solidarity with the Year of the Poor and inspired by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, fundamentally rooted in Jesus’ commissioning to his disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News” (Mk 16, 15),  40 young missionaries joyfully took the challenge to announce to the people of Dansolihon Chaplaincy, Cagayan de Oro City the joy of the Gospel they themselves experienced.

They started their mission with a formation seminar on May 13-16, 2105 at the Sacred Heart Formation House before they were sent forth to the mission areas of Dansolihon and Mambuaya on May 16-22, 2015.

The missionaries visited and blessed the Christian families in the areas. During house visitation, they prayed together with the family, shared about their Christian life, and bless the household. They also conducted activities in the main chapels like Taizé prayer with confession, Eucharistic celebration, animation and the popular Flores de Mayo for children. One of their aims was to organize the youth and children of the chaplaincy. In the afternoon, while the others resumed the house visitation and blessing, some members worked with children, youth, and adults by giving seminars and catechism. They facilitated themes on Christian leadership, community building and recollection.

The Lay Dehonians also participated by having an afternoon of feeding program for the children in Dansolihon. All had their share and enjoyed the food very much.

The participation of the communities made the missionaries even more enthusiastic to mingle with them. Besides, the community life being experienced by each group strengthened their bond. Amidst differences and several preferences, they became missionaries as well to each another. Their way of life, even for just a short time, became a proclamation of the Good News.

This mission activity was not merely an enhancement for the people of Dansolihon Chaplaincy but significantly for the moral and faith development of the Dehonian Youth. With the inspiration they learned from Fr. Dehon, they live out in their lives the Ecce Venio and Ecce Ancilla. The spirit of availability for God becomes even more enriched and actualized.

Being available to the invitation of God, striving to be prophets of love and servants of reconciliation in  their own youthful way, our Dehonian youth missionaries eagerly endure to “go forth and proclaim the joy of the Gospel!”

By: Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, SCJ