The celebration of the 96th death anniversary of Fr. Leo John Dehon, the founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ), in the formation community in Cagayan de Oro City, consisted of three major parts: spiritual preparation, sports fest, and the Holy Eucharist.
The spiritual preparation started on August 3, 2021, with the nine-day novena, presenting the human and spiritual profile of Fr. Dehon, based on the testimonies of the people who knew or met Fr. Dehon personally. On August 11, 2021, the community held a Holy Hour, during which a short video clip summarizing the life of the Founder was presented. The title of the video clip was “For Him I lived, for Him, I die” 8:12. The numbers stand for August 12, but also for the length of the clip, which was 8 minutes and 12 seconds.
On August 12, 2021, the SCJ candidates, together with the priests and employees of the formation house were having their finals in volleyball, basketball, and soccer, which started in the beginning of the week. Some also played badminton and other indoor games.
At 6:00 PM, the whole community, together with the SCJs from the nearby communities and employees, were participating in the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, SCJ, which at the same time was an Opening Mass for the new academic year, welcome of the new formator of aspirants Fr. Ronald M. Basco, SCJ, and acceptance of new candidates.
In his homily, Fr. Patrick stressed the importance of studies, community life, and interior life in the life of Fr. Dehon and of seminarians.
The Eucharist was followed by a common meal, announcement, and awarding of winners of different games and competitions performed by the SCJ candidates. Each part was sandwiched with the group presentation. The candidates proved to be very skillful and creative, which added flavor to the celebration. It was indeed a great celebration.