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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January 4, 2019

Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart 

The Chinese and the Japanese are two prolific races that would gladly sweep like a tidal wave across the Pacific and flood the United States.  Their salaries are so low in Asia!  It’s so much more prosperous in America!  With regard to the Chinese, they are no longer allowed to immigrate except in very controlled numbers; however, they have a way of infiltrating by way of Mexico and Canada.  As for the Japanese, they complain about the limitations on their immigration.  They are looked down upon and humiliated in the big cities of California, but they come anyway, because they find their fortune here.  The hourly wage in the United States is twice the daily salary in the land of the Rising Sun.
One of the biggest problems facing the United States is how to preserve a national identity when such an extraordinary variety of peoples from every corner of the globe are flooding its boarders each year.  Since 1822, the United States has welcomed 28 million immigrants.  In 1842, there were 100,000; in 1850, the number increased to 300,000, and in 1880, to 600,000. Since 1905, the yearly total is more than one million.
In general, North Americans are very hospitable.  They include in their ranks the Anglo-Saxons, French, Germans, Italians, and Slavs.  Their customs and ways influence each other, and they form one people among themselves. But there are races they don’t want to assimilate with because they consider them inferior and deserving of contempt; these are the races of color:   Black, Yellow, and Red.  The Yankees allowed the Indians to grow weak and die out, they held the Negroes in a kind of servitude, and they blocked the Yellow race from entering their borders.

Daily NotesXXV-XXVII [while traveling in the United States and Canada]


Lived and Shared: contemporary expressions of Dehonian spirituality
It has been 25 years since I first set foot on American soil.  The journey that led me to the United States is incredible.  I spent days on a small, fragile fishing boat crossing the South China Sea, lived in refugee camps in the Philippines awaiting approval for asylum in the U.S., and once I made it here, had to adapt to the new culture.
This country was founded and built by foreign-born immigrants from every corner of the globe.  They helped lay the railroads, built cities, and pioneered cutting-edge technologies and companies.  I, and other immigrants, want to help build and strengthen our nation just as this older generation of immigrants did.  A prosperous, successful, and peaceful future for ourselves and our children.
And just as the Catholic Church in the U.S. grew through waves of immigration from Europe, I and other immigrants want to take part in the evangelization and revitalization of the U.S. Catholic Church as well.  As indicated in surveys compiled by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate [CARA], as of 2013, 33% of all U.S. Catholic adults were Hispanic/Latino. There are an increasing number of foreign-born students in various levels of religious and priestly formation. New immigrants have helped offset the decline in vocations to religious life and priesthood and religious affiliation among the U.S. born population.  I am proud to be part of that group!
I am Asian.  I am Vietnamese.  I am an immigrant.  And I am proud of it!

Vien Nguyen, SCJ
Excerpted from North American Dehonian Story of Immigration


Reflection questions: seeds for understanding and growth
For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. This year’s theme, “Building Communities of Welcome,” emphasizes our responsibility as Catholics to engage and welcome newcomers on their arrival, and help to ease their transition into a new life here in the United States.
You might find opportunities to engage migrant communities through your local Catholic Charities and other community organizations.  You might also consider engaging in advocacy with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that resources are in place to support refugees and immigrants during their transition and beyond. 
More information about the Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign may be found at and at


Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve
This year, National Migration Week is January 6-12. In your kindness throughout this week, please remember in your prayer immigrants, refugees, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.  You may find helpful the following prayer from the U.S. Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign.
Loving Father,
protect, we pray
all those forced from their homes
by violence and persecution.
Guide them to places of shelter and safety,
and grant that people migrate always
by choice and not necessity.
Watch over children who migrate alone,
protect them from the risks they face all by themselves,
help them reach their destinations safely,
and reunite them with those 
from whom they have been separated.
Guide all migrants who seek a better life,
to new opportunities,
and grant them a new beginning.
We beseech you to give each of us
the strength and generosity 
to welcome the stranger
and to open our homes to the newcomer,
and in doing so
to comfort those who are suffering.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

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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