Priestly Ordination in Cagayan de Oro

On May 16, 2019, two SCJ deacons, Rev. Joel J. Bolo and Rev. Ruel C. Paalisbo, were ordained priests. The ceremony of ordination was held at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro and was presided by the local archbishop Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, D.D.

Fr. Joel C. Bolo, SCJ, comes from Ugyaban, a part of Dansolihon Chaplaincy served by the SCJs, while Fr. Ruel C. Paalisbo, SCJ from Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, where the SCJs were in charge of the parish from 1994 – 2003.

The ordination to the priesthood was a part of bigger celebration of 30 years of SCJ missionary presence in the Philippines. The ceremony was attended by Bishop of Pagadian, Most Rev. Ronald Lunas, D. D., all members of the SCJ Philippines Region, SCJs from: Germany (Fr. Horst Steppkes), Poland (Fr. Zbigniew Chwaja and Fr. Bogdan Kuta), Indonesia (Fr. Titus Purbosaputra and  Fr. Vincent Sri Herimanto), Vietnam (Fr. Loc Nguyen and Fr. Luong Van Nguyen) India (Fr. Anthony Sundar Raj Mallavarapu), diocesan priests from Pagadian, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, lay volunteers from Poland, parents and family members of the Filipino SCJs, parishioners from Quezon City, Dumalinao, Kumalarang, Bagong Silang, Talisay, Tandang Kutyo, Dansolihon, Aluba, Margosatubig, Bacolod, family members and friends of the newly ordained priests and other guests.

The ceremony started at 9:30 in the morning and ended with a common meal.

Parish Feast in Tandang Kutyo

On May 13, 2019, the parish community of the Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo) celebrated its feast. The celebration started with a procession of the faithful and the Holy Cross at 6:00 am and was followed by the groundbreaking ceremony of the new convent (priests’ residence) at 8:30 am presided by Fr. Manny Cuevas with the presence of some guest priests from the vicariate of San Ildefonso, Parish Pastoral Council and Parish Finance Council members, architect and parishioners. After the blessing, the Holy Mass was celebrated.

The Holy Cross Parish was officialy erected on June 26, 2016, and was entrusted to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. As of now, the parish is run by three SCJs: Fr. Marcial Aguirre, SCJFr. Nathaniel Robilla, SCJ and Fra. Victor Lingasa, SCJ. The parish has a long history of the devotion to the Holy Cross, the symbol of our salvation. Every second Monday of May many people would gather there to celebrate the titular feast of the chapel, not exluding the National Election held on this day. The particular date has a special meaning for the local people as it commemorates the date of finding again the cross after it disappeared from the chapel in mysterious circumstances.

Perpetual Profession of Vows in Talisay, Hilongos

On April 10, 2019, two SCJ confreres on temporary vows, Bro. Victor Lingasa and  Bro. Julius Socorro, made their final commitment to God in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred  Heart of Jesus (SCJ). The ceremony  was held in the under construction new church of Quasi Parish Medalla Milagrosa in Talisay, Hilongos, Leyte and was preceded by the SCJ regular meeting a day before. The concelebrated Mass was presided by His Excellency Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantilias, SDB, DD, the Bishop of Maasin Diocese. In his homily, the bishop welcomed all the SCJs and expressed his wish to have another SCJ presence in his diocese.

The final vows of Chastity, Obedience and Poverty were accepted by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ. Besides the SCJs, the celebration was attended by some diocesan priests from the area, religious sisters, family members of the perpetually professed and parishioners from different chapels, who worked very hard for the preparation of this event.

The Profession of Final Vows in Talisay was the first part of a larger celebration of 30th anniversary of the SCJ presence in the Philippines.

Celebrating Feast of St. Joseph at KDFI

St. Joseph is not only the Saint Patron of the Universal Church, but also one of main patrons of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ) and a Saint Patron of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc. (KDFI). Each year, on March 19, the foundation holds a special celebration, which starts with the Holy Eucharist and ends with a simple meal. As usual, the celebration is attended by beneficiaries of the foundation, staff, board members, former daughters, benefactors, SCJ priests and friends. The purpose of this  is to honor  their patron and thank him for his protection and guidance.

This year the main celebrant was Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ, the KDFI coordinator, who at the same time celebrated the feast of his Patron Saint.

St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was probably born in Bethlehem and probably died in Nazareth. His important mission in God’s plan of salvation was “to legally insert Jesus Christ into the line of David from whom, according to the prophets, the Messiah would be born, and to act as his father and guardian” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy). Most of our information about St. Joseph comes from the opening two chapters of St. Matthew’s Gospel. No words of his are recorded in the Gospels; he was the “silent” man. We find no devotion to St. Joseph in the early Church. It was the will of God that the Virgin Birth of Our Lord be first firmly impressed upon the minds of the faithful. He was later venerated by the great saints of the Middle Ages. Pius IX (1870) declared him patron and protector of the universal family of the Church.

St. Joseph was an ordinary manual laborer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, “Foster-father of Jesus.” About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.

The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part of the work of the redemption, was not without great providential import: Joseph was to be, for all times, the trustworthy witness of the Messiah’s virgin birth. After this, he modestly retires into the background of holy Scripture.

Of St. Joseph’s death the Bible tells us nothing. There are indications, however, that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life. His was the most beautiful death that one could have, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Humbly and unknown, he passed his years at Nazareth, silent and almost forgotten he remained in the background through centuries of Church history. Only in more recent times has he been accorded greater honor. Liturgical veneration of St. Joseph began in the fifteenth century, fostered by Sts. Brigid of Sweden and Bernadine of Siena. St. Teresa, too, did much to further his cult.

At present there are two major feasts in his honor. On March 19 our veneration is directed to him personally and to his part in the work of redemption, while on May 1 we honor him as the patron of workmen throughout the world and as our guide in the difficult matter of establishing equitable norms regarding obligations and rights in the social order.

—Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

St. Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes. He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed. He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters, and of social justice. Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

Patron: Against doubt; against hesitation; Americas; Austria; Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; California; Belgium; Bohemia; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; confectioners; craftsmen; Croatian people (in 1687 by decree of the Croatian parliament) dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; Mexico; Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; protection of the Church; Diocese of San Jose, California; diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; social justice; Styria, Austria; travelers; Turin Italy; Tyrol Austria; unborn children Universal Church; Vatican II; Vietnam; Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston West Virginia; wheelwrights; workers; working people.

Symbols: Bible; branch; carpenter’s square; carpenter’s tools; chalice; cross; hand tools; infant Jesus; ladder; lamb; lily; monstrance; old man holding a lily and a carpenter’s tool such as a square; old man holding the infant Jesus; plane; rod.

Source: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2019-03-19

Prayer to Joseph,
Who is Known by Many Titles

Faithful Joseph:
Teach us to listen and not be afraid to trust
as you did in God’s promise.

Loving Joseph:
Teach us to love courageously with a heart
that is free and just.

Protector Joseph:
Teach us to protect one another and all
that belongs to God.

Dreamer Joseph:
Teach us to dream a world where all are neighbors;
a vision illuminated by God’s light.

Teacher Joseph:
Teach us to keep the Word of God close to our hearts, and to proclaim it in word and action.

Gentle Joseph:
Teach us to be gentle with our power and
strong in our tenderness.

Parent Joseph:
Teach us to be for all persons a living lesson
of goodness and truth – a blessing for all
generations to come.

Amen.

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.

40th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Forty (40) years ago on February 21, 1979, Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, member of the SCJ Philippine Region, was ordained priest. The ceremony of ordination took place in Metro, Lampung Tengah, Indonesia, his native place and was officiated by the Most Rev. Albert Hermelink Gentiaras, SCJ, Dutch, Bishop of Tanjungkarang. It should be noted that he was ordained as a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Lampung. However, knowing many SCJ priests, Fr. Yohanes had enough opportunities to learn about their charism and spirituality. Besides, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was embedded in him by his father, a great devotee of God’s Heart. These all helped him to decide entering the Congregation.

On July 20, 1980, Fr. Yohanes made his first profession of vows and in 1983 the final profession. His first assignment was as a Parish Priest in Trinity Parish in Belitang, South Sumatra, where he served for three (3) years. His next assignment from 1984 – 1988 was in Muara Bungo, Province of Jambi, Sumatra. In 1988, Fr. Yohanes was appointed to join the international mission in the Philippines and sent to the United States to study English.

On May 17, 1989, Fr. Yohanes arrived in the Philippines in a group of eight missionaries, where he stayed until the year 2003. During thirteen years of his stay in the Philippines he was assigned in parishes of Dimataling, Cagayan de Oro City, Bacolod and Kumalarang. Also for many years he was in-charge of vocations.

In Indonesia, Fr. Yohanes was assigned for two (2) years as a parish priest in Kotabumi, Lampung, where he also took care of the dormitory for boys, three (3) years in Jakarta and four (4) years in Pasangsurut, Diocese of Palembang.

In 2014 Fr. Yohanes returned to the Philippines and was assigned in the Novitiate Fr. Dehon in Lower Lucoban, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. Besides being the superior of the community and assistant to the Novice Master, Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ, he is taking care of the garden and his coffee plantation of which he is very proud of.

As mentioned above, Fr. Yohanes is a member of the first group, the very first missionary from Indonesia, the oldest member of the Philippine Region in age, ordination and first profession. He was born on June 2, 1950. Among his relatives there are four (4) priests: three (3) diocesan and one (1) SS.CC. Congregation of the Sacred Hearts and three (3) religious sisters.

The Thanksgiving Mass was held in the chapel of the SCJ Novitiate in Lower Lucoban and was attended by a number of SCJs, religious sisters and friends from the places of his assignment: Dimataling, Bacolod and Kumalarang.

In his, not very short homily, Fr. Yohanes shared about his vocation, way to the priesthood and experiences. The ceremony was very nice and solemn.

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY OF ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD!

Regional Assembly 2019

On February 11, 2019, the SCJ Philippine Region started its annual assembly. The assembly is being held at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro City and is attended by 35 confreres, including Fr. Alexander Sapta Dwi Handoko, SCJ, General Councilor for Asia from Rome, Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, the Vice Provincial of the US Province and Fr. Khoa Nguyen, SCJ, from the District of Vietnam.

The assembly started with the welcome address of the superior of the community Cagayan de Oro I, Fr. Patrick Gutib, SCJ and the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, followed by a service of reconciliation led by Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ. The next activity was a short reflection by Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, focusing on the “Year of the Youth” in the Philippines and the 30th Anniversary of the SCJ presence in the Philippines, ending with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession.

In the afternoon of the first day, the participants following the guide questions shared in groups their personal experiences of the last year in the light of the incoming anniversary.

The day ended with the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, followed by the supper and common recreation.

The second day was dedicated to the reports by communities and different commissions of the Region. The main celebrant  of the Eucharist was Fr. Robertus Sutopo, SCJ, who on February 12 celebrated his 50th birthday.

On the third and fourth day the group will discuss the agenda that came out of the reports, future celebrations and plans.

The assembly is to conclude on February 14, 2019 lunch time.

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)

Letter of the Superior General for Christmas 2018

Returning to Bethlehem

Dear confreres and all the members of Dehonian Family,

At this time of year, we often speak about paths. The voice of the prophets invites us to repair the ones that have suffered damage and to build new ones to continue to give direction to our life. In these days, the voice of the Gospel speaks more about the travelers than the path, of a young couple from Nazareth, magi come from afar and a group of shepherds surprised during their work. All of them traveled. None of them traveled alone.

For many, Mary and Joseph are simply fulfilling their duty, but even before that, they had cer­tainly undertaken a moving journey. They were accompanied by the faith and intimate solida­rity that united them, and especially by God’s everlasting benevolence. The shepherds, on their part, felt invited to be witnesses of the Pastor who always acts for the good of His people. They overcame their fears and traveled during the night. They found a shared joy in a new era that that began before their amazed eyes that very night. The magi, the foreigners who came from the greatest distance, were wise enough to know that to reach their goal they needed to discern and be guided. None of these travelers was disappointed. The encounter with Jesus illuminated their faces and shined a great light upon their culture. Nobody felt like a stranger and no one thought of the other as a stranger. The only one who remained estranged from all this was Herod. He himself wanted to be estranged and remain excluded. He did not want to go beyond himself, and even less did he want to set himself on the road and start walking with the others. He was a prisoner of his power. All the others were able to enter Bethlehem, especially the simple ones, receptive to surprise, who had no ambitions of power or prestige, restless ones seeking the truth. It is they who teach us the path we must travel and inspire us to continue along the way.

The voice of the XXIV General Chapter that we celebrated just this year invites us to continue walking together, growing in the synodal culture. It means walking in the light of the Spirit, each day creating more space for the Good News that comes to us from Jesus in everything we do. It is Jesus who gives life and flavor to our journey. “His way is our way “(Cst. 12). Fr. Dehon has left us this living legacy. We must welcome it, live it and share it.

In this month of December, we remember that 150 years ago Fr. Dehon was preparing to cele­brate his first Christmas as a priest. His ministry in the Church was a continuous learning to walk with others and for others. If this is so, it is because he fully understood the road to Beth­lehem.

Contemplating once again what happened there spurred the life of our Founder. Bethlehem, the Holy night of Christmas, was the starting point for him. There he learned to remain and to walk hand in hand with God, to go out of himself and go out to meet others. He directed his way to meet and accompany those he knew would be most in need of attention and care, especially the youth around him. He never forgot to search for new horizons: «Ou faut-il aller? Je suispret : “Ecce venio!”. Faut-il aller a Bethleem, a Nazareth, en Egypte, en Galilee? “Ecce venio!”». [“Where must I go? I am ready: ‘Ecce venio!’. Must I go to Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Egypt, to Galilee? ‘Ecce venio!’”] (CAM 1/63).

It is time to return to Bethlehem, to enter Bethlehem. We do not remain outside, as foreigners, or alone, because in Bethlehem we will always find closeness and tenderness, reparation and encouragement to keep going forward in the stages that will come. Bethlehem is a living testi­mony and a shared mission. “[…] May the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ “.[1]

We wish you a merry Christmas and a new year full of hope and generosity to continue on the journey together. May we all be attentive to the Day of God who comes to dwell among us.

In the Heart of Christ,

Fr. Carlos Luis Suarez Codorniu, scj
Superior General
and Council

[1] Paolo VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80 (citation from Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 10).