Celebration of SCJ Memorial Day 2019

November 26, 2019 marks the 55th death anniversary of Mgr. Joseph Albert Wittebols, SCJ, the bishop of Wamba, who was killed together with six other missionaries in 1964 in Congo during the Simba revolution.
Since 2004, the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ), remembers on this day all SCJs who have died as martyrs for the sake of the Gospel and Kingdom of God.
The SCJ Memorial Day is celebrated in a very special way in all formation communities together with the members of the Dehonian Family, friends and benefactors.
This year, the celebration of the memorial day in Dehon House in Manila, was presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Superior of the SCJ Philippines Region, while the homily was delivered by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, from Cagayan de Oro,  in-charge of the fundraising office.
In his homily, Fr. Francis shared about the meaning of martyrdom, history and the common call to be living martyrs.
After the Mass, the participants were invited to watch a short video presentation about the SCJ Martyrs, which was followed by a common meal.
The celebration was attended by the SCJs from the Zone of Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga del Sur, guest priests, religious of different congregations, friends and benefactors.
Similar celebrations were held in the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro and Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Parade of Saints 2019

Like in the previous years, on November 1, 2019, parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro, took part in a “Parade of Saints” to celebrate All Saints’ Day. The parade is a counter-culture activity to the pagan celebration of Halloween and an avenue of catechizing children at an early age, and families, about the lives of the saints.

Catholic saints are people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint, the Church honors, responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts for the glory of God and the good of others. God calls each one of us to be a saint.

Similar celebration was also held at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Quezon City, Diocese of Novaliches.

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.

Ordination to the Diaconate in Dumalinao

On October 16, 2019, two members of the SCJ Philippines Region on final vows: Bro. Victor M. Lingasa, SCJ, and Bro. Julius D. Socorro, SCJ were ordained deacons.

The two SCJs were ordained by the Bishop of Pagadian Diocese, Most Rev. Ronald I. Lunas, D.D., at the San Isidro Labrador Parish in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Dn. Victor comes from Pitogo, Diocese of Pagadian, while Dn. Julius from Bayugan, Diocese of Butuan.The new deacons are assigned, respectively, at the Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal, Diocese of Antipolo, and San Roque Parish in Bagong Silang, Diocese of Novaliches.

The ordination was held a day after the SCJ meeting on October 15, 2019, at the Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Locuban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur and was attended by almost all members of the Philippines Region, priests and religious from the Diocese of Pagadian, family members and friends of the two new deacons.

The ceremony of ordination started at 9:00 am and ended with a lunch at 11:00 am.

Dehonian Youth Mission 2019: A Christ-Like Journey

In celebration of the Year of the Youth and in unity with the 30th anniversary of SCJ presence in the Philippines, this year’s Dehonian Youth Missionaries (DYM) summer mission is mainly centered on the theme: “Sharing Dehonian charism, serving the Gospel and living in the community.” With open minds and open hearts, 17 young missionaries (from the Philippines, Vietnam, and East Timor), bravely said “YES!” to the call of meeting God through serving His people in the humble sitio of Balongkot, under Jesus Nazareno Chaplaincy of Dansolihon, Cagayan de Oro City.

Just like how it normally is, the activity started with a 3-day stay-in formation seminar, called “Umol”. It is composed of spiritual inputs, recollection, and team building, on May 20-22. This is to establish camaraderie among the missionaries before we were sent forth to the mission area on May 23. The mission proper started in the afternoon of the same day, respectively.

We visited the Christian households in the area, blessed their homes and had faith sharing with the families. We also conducted activities like Flores de Mayo, animation, community building, recollection, and Taizé Prayer. One of the many challenges was to reorganize and strengthen the community’s core group and establish a strong foundation for the adult catechists and the youth.

What inspired us aside from the community’s warm welcome was the fact that we were sent there to see Christ in every person we meet and every situation we face. Moreover, we became missionaries not only to the people in Balongkot, but also to each of our fellow missionaries as true prophets of love and servants of reconciliation; embracing the community life selflessly regardless of our differences. Thus, this has been a clear manifestation of the SINT UNUM taught by our founder, Ven. Fr. Leo John Dehon.

By: Rexy Gracey

Summer Youth Mission 2019

May is not only the month of “Flores de Mayo”, but also, in the SCJ parishes, of “Summer Youth Mission.” Here below is an account of the youth mission in Banal na Krus Parish and some pictures from Cagayan de Oro and Dumalinao.

As we celebrate the year of the youth, Banal na Krus Parish (BNKP) Youth Ministry happily granted the challenge of being missionaries and be with the people of Sitio Pantay, Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay, Rizal on May 18-23, 2019, for the first time since the Dehonian Priests run the parish. In relation with the Year of the Youth, the theme of the first BNKP youth mission is: “BNKP Youth in Mission: Beloved. Gifted. Empowered.”
This mission was participated by 17 young missionaries under the Parish of Banal na Krus. The said mission started in two (2) days formation seminar last May 03 – 04, 2019, at the BNKP formation hall. During the seminar, the missionaries had the chance to know more about themselves, to work with others, to grow mentally, morally, emotionally, and more importantly spiritually. They also experienced the team building, recollection, and Taize Prayer.

The Missionaries of Banal na Krus had sent off in the mission area at Sitio Pantay Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay, Rizal last May 19, 2019. They arrived in mission area at exactly 10 in the morning of the said date. And they were able to meet the Chapel officers of that area. The missionaries were divided in three groups to handle the kids, youth, and adults.
Every morning, the missionaries assigned to handle the kids are off to chapel for “Flores de Mayo”, which will be included the catechism of the children, teach them the basic prayers, pray the Holy Rosary, offer flowers to Mother Mary and after that the assigned missionaries will lead the game for the kids.

There are also missionaries who are assigned for house visitation. The visitation is meant to talk them personally and listen to their experiences in the family and the community. After the visitation of the house, the BEC cells had also a chance to do the Lectio Divina together with the missionaries.

In this mission, the people of the area were touched and inspired by missionaries’ community life on how to live the life of BEC. They learned and idolized the young missionaries for serving, and sharing the word of our Lord Jesus Christ at their young age. Moreover, they were inspired and enlightened also about the purpose of Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) by witnessing through the life of the missionaries as community.

Having experienced with the life in Sitio Pantay Brgy. Tandang Kutyo Tanay Rizal, and with the community, the missionaries were inspired and became appreciative to what they have, and knew the importance of being contented in their lives. They learned so many things in this mission, and looking forward to have more missions in the future and be an inspiration to others in their personal and spiritual lives.

This mission will not be successful if there is no support from our Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Marcial C. Aguirre, SCJ., Assistant Priest Rev. Fr. Nathaniel D. Robilla, SCJ., Bro. Victor S. Lingasa, SCJ., parishioners and benefactors.

By: Justine Estrella

Balungkot, Dansolihon Chaplaincy

Lambayao, Dumalinao

Sacrament of Confirmation in Dumalinao

On May 21, 2019, 535 young people in Dumalinao (Zamboanga del Sur) received Sacrament of Confirmation. On May 22, 2019, another batch of 530 will be confirmed; 380 from Tigbao and 150 from MAIS area (Mga Anak sa Inahang Simbahan – Children of the Mother Church, barangays:  Pag-asa, Pag-laum, Camanga, Sumadat and Pinig). The ceremony of confirmation was held at the San Isidro Labrador Parish church, during the Holy Eucharist presided by the Bishop of Pagadian, Most Rev. Ronald I. Lunas, D.D., who was assisted by the Regional Superior, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, Fr. Horst Steppkes, SCJ from Germany, Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, from the nearby Novitiate Fr. Dehon and Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, the parish priest. The last confirmation was held four years ago.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three Catholic sacraments of initiation. Confirmation in the Catholic Church includes the laying on of hands, and anointing in the sign of the cross with Chrism oil. Confirmation is the third and final sacrament which completes Christian initiation for Roman Catholics, as well as eastern Catholic churches, and is also prominent in the Orthodox Church and other Mainline Christian denominations, including the Church of England, Methodist and Lutheran churches.

Confirmation calls us to live a life of holiness and obedience to God’s will. That call is primarily through a renewal of our baptismal promises that were, in most cases, made for us by our parents when we were baptized. Our parents also made a promise at our baptism to raise us in the faith and teach us about our Church. That might take the form of encouragement to pray the rosary or adopt other devotional practices like the Stations of the Cross to deepen our faith. Hopefully, these statements within our creed were made real for us in our home-life, so that when the time comes for us to receive the Holy Spirit, we would be prepared to confirm our faith. We receive the Holy Spirit in seven unique ways through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are:

  • Wisdom – Helps us to rightly order our interpersonal relationships and the centrality of God and his will in our lives.
  • Understanding – Helps us to comprehend the Gospel and the will of God as communicated through his message.
  • Knowledge – The capacity for exploring and pondering God’s revelation along with the awareness that some mysteries of faith are beyond our ability to grasp completely.
  • Counsel – Helps us to choose the path of God when presented with choices that relate to our journey toward him.
  • Fortitude – Also refered to as courage or strength helps us to do what we know is right even when it might be difficult or costly.
  • Piety – Is a strong devotion to God through prayer
  • Fear of the Lord – Is not to be afraid of God, but to be in wonder of his power and might, and to marvel at his majesty.

The blessing that the bishop gives over the confirmands during the Roman Rite of Confirmation encapsulates all of these gifts beautifully

“All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

(CCC 1299)

Empowered by these gifts and the sacramental grace of God, the confirmed Catholic has everything they need to spread and defend the faith in both word and deed, or as many put it, to be a “soldier of Christ.”

Thanksgiving Masses of Newly Ordained SCJ Priests

On May 19, 2019, the two newly ordained priests were saying their “Thanksgiving Masses”, Fr. Joel J. Bolo, SCJ in Dansolihon and Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ in Bacolod (Lanao del Norte).

The celebration in Dansolihon started at 8:00 AM and was attended by some SCJ priests from the formation community in Cagayan de Oro and parishioners from the Jesus Nazareno Chaplaincy. The homily was delivered by Fr. John Karl Cabaluna, SCJ, the parish priest of Kumalarang, who once was in charge of the chaplaincy.

After the Mass, Fr. Joel gave his individual blessing to all who approached him and kissed his hands. The practice of kissing the hands of a newly ordained priest is a long-established custom in some countries. During ordination a new priest’s hands are anointed with chrism as a sign of consecration and of the change that has been effected in his soul. The custom of kissing his hands stems from a recognition of the fundamental change that has occurred and of the particular importance of the sign of the hands in priestly ministry. After ordination the priest uses his hands to hold the Eucharistic species during the consecration, to make the sign of the cross while absolving sins, to anoint the sick and dying, and on occasion to impart the sacrament of confirmation.

The celebration ended at the table which is a very essential element in the Philippine culture.

Similar celebration was held at Santo Niño Parish in Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, the place of Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ.

20th Foundation Anniversary of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc.

Second activity on May 16, 2019, as a part of bigger celebration of 30th anniversary of SCJ missionary presence in the Philippines, was the 20th Foundation Anniversary of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc. (KDFI).

It started at 4:30 PM with the opening of the “Art Works Exhibit” of the “daughters”, followed by the Holy Eucharist, short program and supper. Fr. Horst Steppkes, SCJ, the Mission Procurator from Germany, cut the ribbon at the entrance to the exhibit room. Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, the superior of the SCJ Philippines Region was the main celebrant of the Holy Mass.

The program started at 6:00 PM with the introduction of the visitors by Fr. Lukas and Ms. Vivian Yecyec, the KDFI Operations Manager and was followed by short messages from Fr. Horst Steppkes from Germany and Fr. Zbigniew Chwaja, the Mission Procurator from Poland. Both entities are helping to run the foundation through  financial assistance.

The main part of the program was an inspirational talk by Judge Evelyn G. Nery, who underlined the need of not being silent in the face of the sexual abuses, especially on the minors.

As usual, the celebration ended with a dinner during which the guests and visitors could watch the video presentation “KDFI through the Years.”

Up to the present more than 200 girls received help from the institution.