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.

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!

Celebration of Benefactors’ Day in Cagayan de Oro Community

Each year on Sunday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the formation community of Cagayan de Oro invites benefactors from the area for a special Thanksgiving Mass. In this way, the Priests of the Sacred Heart want to say “Thank you” to those who support them spiritually and financially. For benefactors it is always an opportunity to learn more about the spirituality and different projects of the Congregation.

This year, the celebration of Benefactors’ Day was held on June 30, 2019. It started with the Holy Eucharist celebrated by  Fr. Francis Pupkowski, scj, who is also in charge of the Fundraising Office and Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, scj, the superior of the SCJ Philippine Region, Fr. Patro C. Gier Jr.,scj, a former missionary from Finland and Fr. Szymon Bendowski, scj, the assistant parish priest from Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Aluba.. At the end of the Mass, the benefactors could watch a short video presentation containing an information about one of the projects run by the Philippine Region Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc.

As usual, the celebration was culminated with a common meal. It was noticed that every year the number of benefactors participating in the Thanksgiving Mass is bigger and bigger.

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.”

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.

First and Perpetual Profession of Vows

Today, on June 28, 2018, five (5) SCJ Novices from the Philippines, Rene D. Adorable, Francis S.J. Atayza, July P. Zambrano, Giovanni B. Bautista, and Rackie M. Roxas, made their commitment to God in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. By the profession of three vows: Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, they declared their readiness to follow Jesus more closely. They were preparing for this moment for almost fourteen (14) months under the guidance of the Novice Master Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ and Fr. Yohanes Sono Pribadi, SCJ, the “Socius.” Together, with five (5) Vietnamese Novices, who made their First Profession of vows in Vietnam last May 31, 2018, they have had been learning about the Congregation, the Founder, vows and religious life.

During the same celebration, two SCJ brothers on temporary vows: Fra. Ruel Paalisbo, SCJ and Fra. Joel Bolo, SCJ, made their final profession of vows.

Both Professions of Vows, First and Perpetual, were accepted by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ.

The ceremony that was held on the 140 anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, took place at the St. Isidore Parish Church in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur, and was attended by the SCJ confreres from different parts of the Philippines, family members and friends of the newly professed religious.

The newly professed will move to the Manila Community at the Dehon House, where they will study Theology and prepare themselves further for the ordination to the priesthood.

As we thank God for this beautiful moment, we entrust the new SCJs to our prayers. May they grow in their vocation and become effective instruments of God’s Love to the world.

2nd Regional Assembly Chapter

27 SCJs, after final vows, took part in the 2nd Regional Assembly Chapter, held on June 5 – 6, 2018, at the Sacred Heart Formation House in Cagayan de Oro City. The participants were welcomed by Fr. Rico Lapinig, SCJ, and after that by the Regional Superior Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, who officially declared start of the Chapter. As usual, the first part was a spiritual preparation for the main activity. Fr. Francis Pupkowski, SCJ, led a reflection based on the theme “With open Heart and Mind to the urgent needs of the Church and the World”, which was followed by the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Sacrament of Reconciliation.

After the break, Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, delivered the “State of the Region Address” (SORA), summarizing the main activities and achievements, that had happened since the 1st Regional Chapter in 2014. Following this, Fr. Delio Ruiz, SCJ, the chairman of the Preparatory Commission, explained the goal and procedures of a workshop that was going to be held, in five groups, in the afternoon. The purpose of this was to come out with some concrete proposals for the next six years, based on the last and this year conclusions of the assemblies.

On the following day, June 6, 2018, the assembly discussed the proposed motions, coming from the working groups, and voted on it. The last activity of the Chapter was election of the delegate for the XXIV General Chapter in Rome and his substitute, who will accompany the Regional Superior in July 2018.

The 2nd Regional Assembly Chapter was well prepared and conducted in a very fraternal atmosphere.

Parish Feast in Dumalinao and Kumalarang

On May 15, 2018, the two SCJ parishes celebrated their Patronal Feast of St. Isidore, the Farmer. In Dumalinao, the Holy Eucharist started at 9:30 am. The main celebrant was Fr. Lukas Hadi Siswo Sasmito, SCJ, the Regional Superior and Parish Priest. The celebration was attended by a number of SCJs, who will attend the SCJ meeting on May 17, 2018. The celebration of the Eucharist was followed by a common meal, including some “lechons” (roasted pigs).

In Kumalarang, the main celebrant was Fr. Indra Pamungkas, SCJ, the Master of Novices. The celebration of the Eucharist was followed by a common meal and after that cultural show prepared by different zones. Some SCJs were able to attend the second part of the celebration.

In both cases the celebration was very well prepared, so the people from different chapels could enjoy the feast of their patron, St. Isidore the Farmer.