The celebration of the 179th birth 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: a nine-day novena, sports fest, and the celebration proper.
On March 14, 2022, the day started with adoration and a special Liturgy of the Word with prayers for new vocations to the congregation. The whole morning and early afternoon were dedicated to sports: basketball, soccer, volleyball, badminton, and “Larong Pinoy.” Also, it was the time of the finalization of artworks and essays on Fr. Dehon.
The Holy Eucharist was presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Philippine Regional Superior. In his homily, Fr. Lukas reflected on what does it mean to be merciful, forgiving, and generous. These three qualities, which could be seen in the person of Fr. Dehon, should characterize all Christians, especially leaders. The time of Lent is a good opportunity to reflect on it.
After communion, the leaders of the Dehonian Youth made their pledge of commitment and service. The celebration, which was attended by the SCJs form the Cagayan de Oro area, members of the Dehonian Family, friends, and benefactors, continued after the supper with a special program prepared by the students of the Sacred Heart Formation House.
A similar celebration took place in Dehon House in Quezon City. This is how Fr. Sergio Matumoto, SCJ, reported about it:
“On March 14, 2022, it was celebrated the 179th birthday of SCJ Founder, Ven. Fr. Leo John Dehon. Moreover, this is the day of the Dehonian Vocation.
Together with all SCJ family, we prayed for more vocations in our Congregation and more laypeople sharing our charism.
In Dehon House, Fr. Victor Lingasa, scj and Fr. Julius Socorro, scj took the opportunity to celebrate their thanksgiving Mass. Also, SCJ Bros. from the second year of Theology: Kevin Barranco, Pham Van Thang, Dinh Hiep Hoa, Dinh Van Duong, Cao Van Phuong, Ngo Hung Kiem, Nguyen Huy Cuong, and Nguyen Van Dat received the ministry of lector by the rector of SCJ theologate Fr. Donald S. Longno, scj. Concelebrated the Mass SCJ priests from the Luzon area and guest priests. Some neighbors, religious sisters, and brothers, friends, and visitors attended the Mass.
During the homily Fr. Julius reminded us that Fr. Dehon said to us, his priests, to go out of the sacristy. Fr. Julius compared the sacristy with the heart in the human body. As the heart pumps blood to the body moving it, also, from the sacristy the priests find the energy to the mission.
The Mass was followed by a lively dinner, sharing, and videoke.”