Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

The reason for Christmas is Jesus. Christmas is the celebration of God’s great love for us.  God loves us so much that he sends his Son Jesus to become one of us in order to bring us back to him.

Let us keep Christ as the heart of our Christmas, the reason for all of our joy, Let us reflect on the season’s true meaning… the birth of our Savior.

Whenever we see decorations that sparkle and tree lights that glimmer and glow, Let us remember the star that shone brightly and lit up that night long ago.

Whenever we wrap up our presents to others and dream of the gifts we’d like best… Let us remember God’s gift of a Savior – the gift that outshines all the rest.

May this Christmas celebration bring us peace and joy in our hearts and homes. And may God’s blessing be with us throughout the whole year 2020.

Miraculous Medal Quasi-Parish in Talisay declared a Parish

On November 30, 2019, the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Quasi-Parish in Talisay, Hilongos, Southern Leyte, was elevated to the rank of a parish. The declaration was made by the Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, D.D., the Bishop of Maasin, during the concelebrated Holy Eucharist.  Also, during the same ceremony, the bishop has installed Fr. Arthur Guevara, SCJ, as a Parish Priest of the new parish. The celebration was a part of the 3rd Feast of the Patron and was preceded with nine day Novena and other activities.

In the Roman Catholic Church, a parish is a stable community of the faithful within a particular church, whose pastoral care has been entrusted to a parish priest, under the authority of the diocesan bishop. It is a territorial entity constituting a division within a diocese.

The parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they are the heart of our Church. Parishes are the place where God’s people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church’s life.

The official SCJ presence in the Diocese of Maasin started on June 11, 2016, when the local bishop entrusted to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) a part of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Hilongos,  the St. Pope John Paul II Southern Mission Territory, with its main chapel in the Barangay Talisay, later on Miraculous Medal Quasi-Parish. At the moment there are three SCJs assigned there: Fr. Arthur Guvera, Fr. Christopher Alburo and Fr. Josepatro Gier, Jr.

On January 1, 2018, with the ground breaking ceremony, the parishioners of Talisay started construction of their new parish church, which at the moment is at the stage of its completion.

The celebration was attended by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Regional Secretary and Treasurer Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ, Fr. Elpidio Luza, SCJ, the Parish Priest of Bagong Silang, diocesan priests, religious from different congregations and parishioners. As usual, it ended at the table filled with the different kinds of food.

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.

Entity Superiors Meeting in Rome and other events

The New Superiors Meeting was followed by the Entity Superiors Meeting. It was held at the SCJ Generalate in Rome on November 11 – 15, 2019. In between there were two important events organized by the Dehonian Studies Centre (CSD): International Dehonian Theological Commission (CTID) meeting and the International Conference on the Sacred Heart Devotion titled “Sacred Heart Devotion: Memory – Body – Image – Text; Continuity and Discontinuity.”

The first activity was an annual gathering  of the coordinators of the continental commissions, the staff of the Dehonian Studies Centre, and the two General Councillors, Fr. Léopold Mfouakouet and Fr. Artur Sanecki. The Philippines Region was represented in this meeting by Fr. Delio Ruiz.

The second event on November 8 – 9, 2019, sponsored by the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the University of Lucerne (Switzerland), was a conference attended by 120 participants including Dehonian confreres from all over the world, lay people, members of religious congregations dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and experts from Switzerland, Germany, USA, Spain and Italy.

The Meeting of the Entity Superiors was attended by 37 confreres from all of the provinces, regions and districts of the Congregation, along with members of the General Government and the main services of the Curia. During five very exhausting days the superiors, among many different topics, reflected on the challenges the congregation is facing, new perspectives, structures, internationality, collaboration among entities, finances, etc.

On November 13, 2019, the superiors of the entities have been invited to commemorate the confreres killed and presented as models for Dehonian consecration and vocation: Blessed Giovanni Maria della Croce and P. Martino Capelli, whose 75th anniversaries of martyrdom are being celebrated and are recognized as important steps in the process of Canon for beatification. The relics of Blessed Giovanni Maria della Croce and the original 1931 document of the renewal of the vows of Fr. Martino Capelli were present in the meeting room. At the end of the day the superiors of the entities and several members of the Generalate community went to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew, to honor these Dehonian martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. Together with the Community of Sant ‘Egidio, they prayed Vespers and transferred the relics and memories of these confreres, placing them in the chapels.

For more information please visit the webpage of the congregation http://www.dehoniani.org/en/

Meeting of New Superiors in Rome

Superiors of the different entities of the Congregation, in their first triennium as superiors, take part in a meeting organized by the General Curia in Rome, Italy, from November 5 to 7, 2019. The meeting will be followed by the meeting of all entities superiors that will be held in the same venue from November 11 to 15, 2019.

All participants were welcomed by the General Superior Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniu, SCJ. In the morning, the new superiors shared their experiences on what they consider as the blessing, cross, hope and fear. The workshop was guided by the General Councilor, Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ.

In the afternoon, the new superiors met with the General Secretary Fr. Iglesias Pedro Curto, SCJ, who explained the different administrative procedures in the Congregation.

The Philippines Region is being represented by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ. The new superiors had the opportunity to meet Fr. Vincentius Sri Herimanto, SCJ, the new General Councilor who replaced Fr. Alexander Sapta Dwi Handoko, SCJ. Fr. Vincent for many years was a member of the Philippine Mission.

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.

25 Years of SCJ Presence in India

On October 6, 2019, falls the 25 anniversary of SCJ presence in India. It started in 1994 with the arrival of +Fr. Martin Van Ooij, SCJ, a Dutch missionary in Indonesia, who later was joined by other missionaries from different provinces. Many of them, due to the visa restrictions or other commitments in their places, were able to stay only for six months. Some others managed to stay longer. In this way many missionaries from different entities passed through India, of whom some have already gone to the Lord. Also, some of the missionaries moved to the Philippines or China.

Officially, the Mission in India became a District of India on May 1, 1999, thirty days before the Philippines became a District (May 31, 2019). It grew very rapidly. Today the District of India has around 100 members of which a half are priests. Some of their priests are assigned in other entities of the congregation. They have 13 communities.

The two-day celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Dehonian presence in India started on October 5, 2019, with the Holy Eucharist presided by the General Superior Very Reverend Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Cordorniú, SCJ. The homily was a shared reflection by several Dehonians. After the homily, the district’s first Lay Dehonian made a year-long commitment to Dehonian spirituality; Fr. Carlos Luis received her commitment.

The Holy Mass was followed by a cultural show and Agape. The celebration was held at the SCJ Theologate in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, South India.

The main celebration is scheduled on October 6, 2019. Among the invited guests were former missionaries to India, heads of different entities and members of the congregation. Philippines is being represented by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ and Fr. Showe Bala Reddy Nekkanti, SCJ.

Congratulations to the District of India!

SCJ Meeting in Tandag Kutyo and Anniversary Celebration at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish

On July 16, 2019, the SCJ Philippine Region held its regular meeting at the Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo).

On the following day on July 17, 2019, all SCJs gathered at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Tierra Verde Homes I, Brgy. Culiat, Tandang Sora, Quezon City, to celebrate in Manila Zone, the 30th Anniversary of SCJ Presence in the Philippines. The Thanksgiving Mass was presided by the outgoing bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., at the moment an apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Bp. Tobias was one of the two bishops, who together with Most Rev. Federico O. Escaler, S.J., D.D., of Prelature of Ipil, accepted the Priests of the Sacred Heart into his Diocese of Pagadian in 1989.

On July 1, 2016, Bp. Tobias entrusted to the Dehonians San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, where he also ordained many SCJ deacons and priests.

The SCJ Philippines Region is thanking Bp. Antonio for his friendship and fatherly care.