Meeting of the SCJ Formators in Rome

From April 16 – 20, 2018, the Dehonian formators, particularly the rectors of the scholasticates, are meeting in Rome to discuss the needs and challenges of formation at the stage of Theology.

The Philippines is being represented by Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, the head of the formation team and rector of the Dehon House in Manila. We entrust this meeting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Pilgrimage in Celebration of Jubilee Year of the Diocese of Maasin

This year 2018, the Diocese of Maasin is celebrating its Golden Jubilee as a diocese. On this occasion, besides the different activities and celebrations, each parish is encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the heart of the diocese. Heading this call by the Most Rev. Precioso Cantillas, SDB, DD, the parishioners of Medalla Milagrosa Parish in Talisay, Hilongos, on April 9, 2018, went to Maasin. On the way to the Cathedral they also visited: San Roque Parish in Macrohon, Monte Cueva and Divine Mercy Shrine in Matalom.

The Diocese of Maasin was canonically erected on August 14, 1968, through a papal decree issued March 23, 1968. In June of the same year, the Most Reverend Vicente T. Ataviado, D.D. who was up to then a parish priest of Masbate, Masbate Island, was appointed as its first bishop. He was consecrated on August 8, 1968, and installed as the First Bishop of Maasin on August 14 at Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church in Maasin, the capital of Southern Leyte.

From 1595 to 1910, the area which now comprises the Diocese of Maasin belonged to the diocese of Cebu. From 1910 to 1937 it belonged to the Diocese of Calbayog. From 1937 to 1968 it came under the jurisdiction of the Diocesan of Palo in Leyte. Today it is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

The diocese comprises the entire province of Southern Leyte, and the towns of Matalom, Bato, Hilongos, Hindang, Inopacan and Baybay in the province of Leyte, with the Maasin Parish Cathedral as the seat of the diocese. Distributed within its 2,505 square kilometers of land are 38 parishes and 1 quasi-parish. To facilitate administration these parishes have been grouped under 6 vicariates.

The province of Southern Leyte is located in the southeastern portion of the island of Leyte. And the small island of Limasawa off its southern coast is historically significant as the place where Magellan landed, after having sailed from the island of Homonhon in Samar, to celebrate the first Catholic mass in the Philippines. The chieftain of Limasawa, Kolambu and his men, with Magellan and his men, attended that first mass celebrated by Father Pedro Valderrama on March 21, 1521 . Until 1960, the island of Limasawa belonged to the island province of Leyte.

Leyte and Samar were once considered one single political unit by the Spanish government, falling under the administration of the government of Cebu. They were separated from Cebu in 1735 but still remained as a single province until 1768, when they were finally split into two provinces, with Tacloban as the capital of the entire island province of Leyte. In 1960 Southern Leyte was made a separate province with Maasin as its capital.

The population of Southern Leyte is made up mostly of Cebuano-speaking people because of its closeness, geographically, to Cebu and Bohol. This population has now reached a total of 558,804, of which 90 per cent are Catholics.

Construction of the New Church in Talisay

Three months after the groundbreaking for the new church in Talisay, Hilongos, the construction is taking its shape. With the help of volunteers from Brgy. Bun-ot, Brgy. San Agustin, Brgy. Tabunok, Brgy. Talisay, Brgy. Bantigue and many others, the two biggest beams of the church building were filled.

The nonstop filling work started on April 6, 2018 at 8:00 AM and  ended on April 7, 2018 at 3:00 PM. Among the helpers were also women and young people, who in different ways shared with enthusiasm their time, treasure and talent.

For more pictures, please click here

“Walk with Mary” 2018

On April 9, 2018, more than 400 parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro City made their “Walk with Mary.” The walk started at the “Our Lady of Snows” Parish Church in El Salvador City and ended at the Divine Mercy Shrine.

Divine Mercy Shrine is located at the Divine Mercy HillsPSB-Ulaliman, El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental which is overlooking Macajalar Bay. The shrine has a 50-feet long  statue of the Divine Mercy , the biggest statue in Asia.

The pilgrims were accompanied by their parish priest: Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ and the parochial vicar Fr. Niño Etulle, SCJ.

The walk was held a day after the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday and was culminated with the Eucharistic celebration.

For more pictures, please click here


Divine Mercy Sunday 2018

MA Thesis Defense of Fr. Sergio Shoiti Matumoto, SCJ

On April 2, 2018Fr.Sergio Shoiti Matumoto, SCJ, member of the Philippine Region, has defended his MA Thesis entitled “Shema Israel! An Investigation into the Meanings and Significance of ‘Ehad in Deuteronomy 6:4-5”  The Board of Examiners was composed of Fr. Marian​​o Cisco, C.S., S.T.L., S.T.D. and., Fr. ​Rogel Anecito Abais, S.J., S.T.D. ​and.​, and Fr. Manuel Montesclaros, S.J., S.S.L  The MA Thesis Adviser was Sr. Helen Graham, ​M.M., ​Ph.D.  The defense was held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Biblical Theology.

The Shemaʿ Yisrael (Deut.6:4-5) is an important verse of the Old Testament. It is recited by the religious Jews twice daily and even Jesus quoted this passage in Mark 12:29-30. It states that God is One and also the commandment to Love the Lord. This thesis investigates the meaning of ’ehad in the context of the Shemaʿ since there is no consensus among the translators if it should be translated as “one” or “alone”. The study notes grammatical as well as theological and historical arguments of the possible translations. It is considered that a more appropriate translation for today’s reader is “the Lord is One”. Also, the study discusses the meaning of Love in Deuteronomy and its significance since “Love the Lord” is a consequence of believing that “the Lord is One”. Moreover, it gives some meanings for the “Lord is One” and its relevance for today’s believers. This thesis also proposes a spirituality of unity and tolerance through the Shemaʿ and through the belief in One God because for believers in the past and for some in the present belief in One God leads to violent attitude towards those who who have other beliefs.

Alleluia! He is Risen!

God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today
raise us up and renew our lives
by the Spirit that is within us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Celebration of the Patron at Kasanag Daughters Foundation

On a gloomy late afternoon March 19, 2018, the Kasanag Daughthers Foundation (KDF), Kauswagan, Zone 1, Cagayan de Oro City celebrated the feast of Saint Joseph, the husband of Blessed Virgin Mary, the foster father of Jesus and the Patron Saint of KDF.

The celebration started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 5:45PM, officiated by Rev. Fr. Franciszek Pupkowski, SCJ, the outgoing regional superior of the Philippine Region, assisted by Deacon Nathaniel Robilla, SCJ, vicar deacon of the Immaculate Conception Parish and concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Niño Etulle, SCJ, assistant parish priest of Immaculate Conception, Rev. Fr. Khoa Viet Nguyen, SCJ, formator of aspirants in the Sacred Heart Formation House, CDO I and Rev. Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ, project coordinator of KDF.

Approximately, there were more than 90 people who attended the celebration, including the 24 daughters residing in the foundation, former kasanag daughters, staffs, counselors, board members, local benefactors, seminarians, collaborators, friends and guests.

Indeed, the celebration went very well and it was concluded with a simple dinner together.

By: Fr. Joseph C. Butlig, SCJ

Celebration of the Founder and Installation of the New Administration

The celebration of 175th Birth Anniversary of Fr. Leo Dehon, the Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, on March 14, 2018, was connected with the 6th anniversary of Erection of the Philippine Region and installation of the new administration.

The main celebration, held at 6:00 pm at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro City, was preceded by a meeting of all members of the Region. The meeting started with a short recollection, conducted by Fr. Delio Ruiz,SCJ, and adoration, followed by the proper agenda.

In the afternoon, during the Holy Eucharist presided by the outgoing regional superior Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, the newly appointed superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, made his “Profession of Faith.” The new superior will be accompanied by four Councilors: Fr. Rico O. Lapinig,SCJ, Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, SCJ, and Fr. Janusz Burzawa, SCJ.

From the left: Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, Fr. Rico O. Lapinig, Fr. Delio Ruiz, Fr. Patrick L. Gutib, and Fr. Janusz Burzawa


The celebration, as usual, was attended by the SCJs from all communities, members of the Dehonian Family, religious, and friends.

We wish all the best to the new administration and support it with prayers!

Happy 175th Birth Anniversary of Fr. Leo Dehon

Leo Dehon was the son of a wealthy family in the North of France (La Capelle ). Against the wishes of his father, Dehon decided to answer the call to the priesthood. He studied in Paris and Rome, earning doctorates in law, theology, canon law and philosophy. In 1871 he began his ministry as a parish priest in the working-class town of Saint-Quentin. The living conditions of the workers and their alienation from the Church led him to promote numerous social and educational initiatives such as: a Youth Center for young workers, construction of homes for the workers, and groups to study the social situations of the people. As Dehon began to be more and more involved in social ministry, he began to feel the need of a community whose life would be rooted in God’s love symbolized in the Heart of Christ. So in 1877 he not only founded Saint John’s College, but also the Congregation of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart, later renamed the Priests of the Sacred Heart. While his spirituality in the tradition of the French School (Berulles) lead him to a life of union with Christ, the influence of the Ignatian tradition gave him the ability to live this union and make it fruitful in the midst of a society undergoing rapid change. Dehon’s spirituality is mainly from these two traditions, which promote an awareness of the presence or absence of God in the midst of a world characterized by the social question. For Dehon, the contemplation of the pierced side of Jesus fully reveals the mystery of a love that is in solidarity with the fate of those who are oppressed and marginalized, especially the workers. In 1889 he began the publication of a periodical entitled The Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus in Souls and in Society. Two years later Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Rerum novarum, the same Pontiff then invited Dehon to preach his encyclicals.

In the 1890s Dehon put all his energy into the social formation of the clergy through conferences, seminars and publications. He urged them to «get out of the sacristy» and «go to the people.» His Social Christian Manual became an authoritative commentary on Rerum novarum. In the Christian Democracy movement Dehon tried to convince Catholics to join the democratic system and the struggle for a more just society. This commitment is the most authentic expression of Christian Democracy as «the kingdom of justice and charity for the good of all, with a particular
focus on the workers and the poor … Christian democracy, the triumph of the Gospel, is the realm of the Sacred Heart. « Recognizing the commitment of the Dehon, Pope Leo XIII appointed him Consultor to the Index Congregation.

At the same time Dehon sought to consolidate his young congregation that was growing continuously. From the beginning he sent confreres to distant missions. In 1903 when the Priests of the Sacred Heart were expelled from France, their presence in Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Brazil , Congo and Italy provided a life beyond the tragedy of the France. The definitive recognition of his congregation by the Holy See came in 1906. The last years of his life were marked by World War I and the resulting consequences for his works and his congregation. At the same time period saw an intensification of his activity as a spiritual writer. He reflected further and deepened his writings on spiritual life with Trinitarian hermeneutic. Even after leaving the public arena of social activity he remained faithful to the contemplative dimension of his life – an action that characterizes his life. He wrote in 1910 : «I have been led by Providence to plow many furrows, but two in particular will leave a lasting mark: Christian social action and the life of love, reparation, and immolation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On every page, my books, translated into several languages, bear this dual movement originating from the Heart of Jesus. Thanks be to God» (NQT XXV /1910, 33).

He asked his confreres to continue this life of love for the poor being convinced that for Jesus «the poor are another himself» (OSP IV, 138). On August 12, 1925, Leo Dehon died in Brussels. Today about 2200 Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJs) are present in more than 40 countries around the world.

By: Fr. Stefan Tertunte