Celebrating the 177th Birth Anniversary of the Founder in Cagayan de Oro

Mach 14, 2020, marks the 177th birth anniversary of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, SCJ. It is a special day to thank the Lord for the gift of his life and the uncountable graces that God gave to him. It is also a day of prayer for the new Dehonian Vocations.

In the Spirit of Sint Unum with the whole Congregation, the Sacred Heart Formation House in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro, started the celebration with a holy hour, reflecting upon some of his writings and praying for new vocations. Continue reading

First Dehonian Family Encounter in CDO

Seventy one (71) participants from the SCJ parishes, all over the Philippines, members of the Dehonian Youth and Lay Dehonians, took part in the “First Dehonian Family Encounter”, that was held at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City.

The purpose of this meeting, which was a part of celebration of the 30th Anniversary of SCJ presence in the Philippines, was sharing of experiences, learning more about Father Dehon and fellowship among the different groups.

The meeting started on Friday, October 25, 2019, with the Holy Mass to the Sacred Heart of Jesus presided by Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ. On the following day, October 26, 2019, during the morning session Fr. Janusz deepened the theme: “Sharing the Dehonian Charism Serving the Gospel, and Living in the Community” by sharing about the life and works of Fr. Leo John Dehon, and as well  his personal experiences as a missionary in the Philippines for the last 26 years.

In the afternoon, Ms. Elaine Gutang conducted the team building activities. The Eucharist was presided by Fr. Patrick Gutib, SCJ, one of the main organizers of these activities. In the evening, all participants took part in a special program prepared and presented by each group.

On Sunday, October 27, 2019, all the participants attended the Holy Eucharist at the Immaculate Conception Parish, across the street, presided by the regional superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ. The lunch was followed by the closing activities, namely evaluation and planning. At 3:00 PM the meeting was over and all could return to their respective places. The biggest group came from San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. Some of the groups were accompanied by their priests.

Hopefully, this was not one time activity, but it will continue in the future.

Celebrating Founder’s Birth Anniversary in Cagayan de Oro, Manila and Dumalinao

March 14, the Birth Anniversary of Fr. Leo John Dehon is remembered and celebrated by the entire Dehonian Family around the world. It is also a special day of prayers for new vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ). On this day, all the SCJs and all lay associates, inspired by the life and works of Fr. Dehon, gather together to reflect on the charism of their founder, which they consider as a special gift from God to the Church.

As usual, the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro  City, together with members of the Lay Dehonians and Dehonian Youth, joined this worldwide celebration of the 176th Birth Anniversary of their founder. During the Holy Eucharist, Fr. Francis Pupkowski, scj, the main celebrant and homilist, presented the life and vocation of Fr. Dehon, whose driving force of all his activities was to bring about “The Reign of God in souls and society.”

Besides the members of the Dehonian Family, the celebration was attended by all the SCJs from the neighbor communities, friends and benefactors. The celebration was culminated with the common super prepared by the formation community.

Similar activities were held in Dehon House in Manila and Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. In Manila the Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Regional Superior, who instituted Bro. Argol Chavez, SCJ, to the ministry of acolyte.

150th Ordination Anniversary of Fr. Leo Dehon to the Priesthood

Celebrating a jubilee is a cause of joy and happiness. It reminds us of something that happened and became history. It makes us look back and get a sense of the life we have consecrated. It is true that to celebrate is to remember, but that is not sufficient. To commemorate something means to make it present again and to live it as an act of gratitude. Looking at Father Dehon, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of his priestly ordination and his first Mass. On December 19, 1868, our founder was ordained as a priest at Saint John Lateran, Rome, with another 200 ordinands. The first mass took place the following day.

We can read again the words of our founder: “The impressions of the ordination cannot be expressed. I became a priest, owned by Jesus, and all is filled with him, his love for the Father, his zeal for souls, his spirit of prayer and sacrifice”(NHV 6/85).

On December 20th, Father Dehon celebrated his first Mass at Saint Claire Seminary: “It was emotional. When my father and mother approached for communion, no one could hold back the tears. Personally, I was crazy with love for our Lord and full of contempt for my poor, little self. It was the best day of my life “(NHV 6/86).

These words express many feelings: love, emotion, lively gratitude to God for so many gifts that he has received. Days of grace and happiness. In the preparation for ordination he carried out a course of spiritual exercises. He states: “Our Lord wanted to prepare me himself, giving me abundant graces. He certainly had in mind my current mission. I see it today, clearly. He gave me so generously that spirit of love and reparation which is the characteristic of my vocation” (NHV 6/82).

Priestly ordination and first Mass are two great days of celebration, as he wrote: “the best of my life” (NHV 6/82), always characterized by a profound experience of God, his gifts and the marvels of his love.

For us, as Dehonians, this commemoration is a day of celebration and joy; we give thanks to God because of Father Dehon and of the offering of his Dehonian vocation. We remember and celebrate this jubilee of our founder.

Let us ask God, the Father of mercy, to grant him the gift of Beatification, as a model of virtue and zeal; who sacrificed so much to remain faithful to His call, to spread the devotion to the Divine Heart of Jesus.

By: Fr. Ramón Domíngez Fraile, scj (dehon.it)

Dehonians with Pope Francis

The new general administration, together with the community of the general house in Rome, and other Dehonians who were present, met the Holy Father, Pope Francis, during the general audience on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at the Paul VI Audience Hall.

There was a desire to have an audience with the pope during the General Chapter, which was in July. However, Pope Francis was not available. It was hoped that a meeting could take place at a later date.

On Wednesday, the pope concluded with a reflection on the commandments: “In the contemplation of life described in the commandments, that is a grateful, free, authentic, blessed, mature, guardian and lover of life, faithful, generous and sincere, we, often without realizing it, find ourselves before Christ. The Decalogue is his ‘x-ray’, which he described as a photographic negative that lets his face appear –– as in the Holy Shroud.

“And so, the Holy Spirit nurtures our heart by putting in it the desires that are His gift, the desires of the Spirit, the desire according to the Spirit, and his rhythm, the desire with the music of the Spirit.”

We were also involved by that silent child who took the liberty of going to the pope and then to the Swiss Guard: “This child cannot speak, he is silent, but knows how to communicate,” said the pope. “He is free, unruly free, but free! Am I so free before Jesus?”

At the end of the catechesis, after greeting the sick and the newlyweds, the Pope came to meet us, arranged on the steps, to take a group photo with him.

Looking at Fr. General, the pope greeted us with a joke: “Is this the new superior general or the next bishop?!” recalling what happened in April.

We smiled because we knew what he meant!

Immediately Pope Francis added in Italian, and then repeated in Spanish: “Pray for me!”

We left him to continue his greeting of the pilgrims, bringing with us the invitation, repeated, to pray for him. This is what we do and will continue to do!

The community of the General House is pleased and grateful to have had a meeting with the successor of Peter, as he loved Fr. Dehon.

This was really a “walking together” after the initiatives for the “Dehonian Memorial Day”, as we continue to prepare for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Fr. Dehon, already which had been noted during the chapter with a festive concelebration in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. As a community, we will be together at the pontifical French seminary of St. Clare on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 19, 2018.

Fr. Bruno Pilati

Superior of the community of the General House in Rome