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Dehonian Spirituality includes prayers and reflections based in spirituality of Fr. Leo John Dehon; it is published weekly by the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
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December 4, 2015


 
 
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart 
 
I want to convey a special word of encouragement to my dear missionaries.  They go far away to work for the reign of the Sacred Heart at a cost of great sacrifices and great hardships.  Their life is a life of reparation and immolation as our vocation requires.  May they be generous to the end.  May it be their desire to die in the missions so that their sacrifice may be complete and unreserved. 
 
In all things may they have a pure intention and a supernatural outlook.  St. Ignatius said to those who were leaving for the foreign missions, “Remember, my brother, that it is the Lord himself who is sending you toward foreign shores so that you may conduct his business there, paving his way, as they say in common parlance.” 
 
As for us, we should be completely on fire to spread the knowledge and love of the Good Master and the wonderful love that he has revealed to us in all his mysteries and that he continues to disclose to us every day in the Holy Eucharist.
 
Above all, dear missionaries, remember that the first condition of success in the missions is holiness.  Go with the ardent desire to live there as saints.  I humbly pray that he will make your ministry fruitful and shed his countless blessings on you.

 
Leo John Dehon, SCJ, Excerpt from a letter he sent to missionaries in Brazil, Canada, Congo, Finland, and Sweden
 
 
 
  
 
 

Lived and Shared: contemporary expressions of Dehonian Spirituality

I was blest with the opportunity to serve in Southern Africa for about 18 years.  Over a period of time, I grew in witnessing our SCJ charism and mission as I lived them out in the various ministries that called them forth.  The call for being a prophet of love and a servant of reconciliation found deeper roots within my life and ministry.  The following are examples of the ministries that called them forth as an SCJ serving in a diocese where there were many more diocesan clergy than religious.
 
There are two examples that were most important in my ministry in South Africa.  Both of them spoke to me as being a prophet of love and a servant of reconciliation.  The first was at a time when I was asked by our deanery priests to serve as a reconciler between our local bishop and one of the clergy.  I was able to work with them on being reconciled with one another.  This experience led to other ministry to ministers.  This ministry has been a gift and a privilege for me.
 
The second experience was when I led the RENEW program—a three year conversion process in our diocese and country   Our diocesan team was multi-racial.  We conducted training for the different parishes in the various deaneries of the diocese.  I remember so clearly a statement made by one of our team members at the start of multi-racial weekend trainings.  Phindiela said, “This weekend we are making history in our diocese even if we have nothing else beyond this weekend”  The history being made was that for an entire weekend we had Black, Colored, Indian, and White parishioners gather together for the first time in one place for more than just a couple of hours.  RENEW was a building block as the country was preparing for the end of the apartheid era.  I was privileged to serve both as the diocesan and the national director of RENEW.
 
What did I learn from being in South Africa?  A deeper sense of Christian community, patience, a heartfelt love of the poor, compassion, to live more simply, and the grace of ministry to the ministers.  I believe that I continue to grow into being a prophet of love and a servant of reconciliation from my missionary experiences.  I have a profound sense of thanksgiving and gratitude for the opportunities to minister as an SCJ in a most special place, during an important time, and to a people who remain in my mind and heart.

 
Bill Pitcavage, SCJ
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reflection Questions: seeds for personal understanding and growth

In a sense, we are all missionaries, and the “foreign shores” to which God sends us may be whatever or whoever is unfamiliar, challenging, or uncomfortable to us.  In such situations, how might I “conduct God’s business there”?
 
In what way, in what circumstances, and among whom am I sent to be a herald of God’s Reign, stirring up the love of Christ in human hearts, promoting human dignity, and inviting all to share in the fullness of God’s grace?
 
 
 
 
 

Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve

In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer SCJs who serve in a country or an area that is that is initially foreign to them.  Pray also for your own “missionary” witness.  You may find helpful the following Advent Prayer of Reconciliation, in the Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
 
God of peace,
in a broken world grown cold and dark,
we wait for your reign to dawn in its fullness.
We wait in hope
for we remember the tender love
you have offered us throughout history:
freeing those oppressed by slavery,
bringing exiles home,
and sending Jesus to save us from death.
 
O God,
as we remember your deeds of mercy,
we offer you our lives.
Send us into the world as heralds of your reign:
stirring up the love of Christ in human hearts,
promoting human dignity,
and inviting all to share
in the fullness of your grace.
So may we prepare the way of the Lord.
 
Amen.


 

 
The backstory
 
Each week reflections and prayers based in the Dehonian charism are published on the Dehonian Spirituality page of the U.S. Province website of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. This is an email version of that update. 

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The Dehonian Spirituality updates are edited by David Schimmel, U.S. Province director of Dehonian Associates. Questions or comments for David? 
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