Walking with Covid-19 in Toronto

Our world is changing so quickly from day to day, even hour to hour. There just seems to be plenty of bad news out there! It is likely going to worsen but we are also being awakened to some signs of hope at this time. We decided to have a more formal conversation around how each one of us is living the reality of the quarantine in response to the Coronavirus. We divided our meeting into two moments: how each one of us is living this reality and how together as a community we can continue to respond to the reality.

Highlights were focused on community life, ministry and concern for our families and for the world. April 07 marks DAY 26 of our communal quarantine for those confreres residing at the community house in High Park. One confrere shared that this Lenten period is also the time in which we travel with Jesus. He too was in quarantine for 40 days, so to speak.

In the course of the conversation, each of us shared that it is important to understand the reality that we are living, both personal, communal, social and ecclesial. We all agreed that it is important to keep ourselves informed with official information yet, recognizing that information overload is not healthy. We also noted that it is important to remember that we are not all the same and we do not respond to stressful situations in the same way. Each confrere expressed gratitude for the support he has received from the other members of the community.

Although we are one community, confreres reside in two community residences: the rectory of Thomas More and the High Park community residence. Sadness was expressed that we do not have the capacity to live this moment together as each community entered into the quarantine at different moments. We reaffirmed that it is important for us as Dehonians to pray together every morning, celebrate Eucharist daily and to pray in the evening together. Each community has found a way to do so according to their capacity. Sharing meals together, watching Jeopardy, playing “uno”, going for walks while social distancing, and watching the 10pm evening news together but even more importantly, seeing/experiencing the special care that each one of us offers to the other has certainly strengthened our bonds of Dehonian fraternity and community. We are also very conscious that thus far, during these 26 days, both Petrus and Will have been full-time students online. Both Will and Petrus expressed gratitude for the support they have received.

Ministry has been a challenge, but we are learning new ways to be present to those with whom we minister and who minister to us. Yuliwan is gathering with members of the UKI in small groups to pray together online. Peter continues to reach out to all of the refugees and volunteers connected with the ministry of Becoming Neighbours. Antonio celebrated Eucharist online with members of the Brazilian community. Aegi is offering Holy Week daily reflections online for the parishioners of Thomas More and Our Lady of Rosary. Jim will preside at an online Holy Thursday Para liturgy for those who travelled with him on the February pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Each of us expressed concern for members of our families and how we can be supportive of them as they too live this reality. Each one of us has reconnected with people living in isolation or with people with whom we have not had contact for a long time. We can be bombarded with statistics, both those who are positive with COVID-19 but the human face of this disease has hit our community very close to home. Two members of the UKI community on one of the cruise ships tested positive and we have just become aware that a family who we know very well from St. Joan of Arc parish have also tested positive. These are people that we know, whose lives have intersected with ours and ours with them.

Yet, signs of HOPE continue to show up in the most unexpected ways and moments. One confrere pointed out that the air is more clear because so few are driving vehicles. All over the country, individuals are risking their lives to help others, as we have seen with the healthcare workers, supermarket employees and other front-line workers. We have been overwhelmed with expressions of support and the offers of help at this time. Not only have individual people offered to do grocery shopping for us, but what has also been particularly overwhelming is the generosity of the members of the UKI who continue to bring donations of food to us. Our Canadian political leaders are shining examples at this time as what it means to lead with honesty interwoven with compassion. One confrere talked about how he was amazed with how his parents/grandparents came through the Great Depression. The rest of the confreres commented about how it is all beginning to make sense to us as to why Fr. George Coppens lived with a great appreciation for frugality and was an incredibly practical man.

Together we reaffirmed the following commitments to each other:
– Practicing personal hygiene
– Following protocols of health officials (e.g. sneezing/coughing into elbows, washing of hands consistently, etc.)
– Staying home
– Practicing social/physical distancing at all times
– Cleaning areas that are frequently touched (kitchen counters, doorknobs, faucets, etc.)
– Continuing to cook on designated night each week
– Continuing to enter into and celebrate the liturgical seasons
– Being more intentional in our solidarity with the more vulnerable
– Using the food that is present and more creatively using leftovers with simplicity being our guide
– Continuing to enjoy each other’s company, fraternity and being able to laugh at ourselves and our own idiosyncrasies

Ron Rolheiser, OMI, reminds us that “The coronavirus has put us all, in effect, on a conscripted sabbatical … the danger is that we will put our lives on hold as we go through this extraordinary time and will just endure rather than let ourselves be graced by what lies within this uninvited season” (LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID 19).

We concluded our time together praying: “Look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to health care workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”

STAY HOME, STAY WELL AND STAY ENGAGED!

Aegi, Antonio, Jim, Martin, Peter, Petrus, Will and Yuliwan

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SCJ-Montréal et la COVID-19

La communauté de Montréal se veut solidaire du monde en cette période de pandémie que le Coronavirus nous oblige à traverser. Jusqu’à maintenant, toute la communauté se porte bien et nous rendons grâce au Seigneur de nous protéger. Dans le meilleur des mondes, nous pourrions rêver d’être des exemples d’humilité en acceptant que notre force se situe à la hauteur de notre obéissance. En effet, ce n’est pas facile pour des religieux-adultes d’accepter de se faire dicter des règles de conduite par des laïcs-spécialistes. Est-ce un relent de notre cléricalisme? C’est cependant là où nous en sommes pour le moment et notre solidarité se mesure à la prise de conscience de notre vulnérabilité et à notre obéissance aux prescriptions de nos gouvernants. Au Québec, les points de presse quotidiens du Premier ministre François Legault et du Directeur national de la santé, le Docteur Horacio Arruda, sont des messages qui calment les esprits et qui nous encadrent dans cette traversée du fléau qu’est la COVID-19.

À la maison du boulevard Gouin, les six confrère observent les règles de confinement et de distanciation physique. Nous participons tous aux exercices d’une communauté normale: prière en commun, eucharistie avec communion par intinction, adoration, repas, récréation. Maurice a organisé notre salle à manger de sorte que nous respections nos distances: les places à tables sont organisées en quinconce. C’est l’avantage d’avoir de l’espace et du mobiler adéquat. De plus, pour nous rappeler les règles courantes pour contrer le virus, des affiches qui disent “ON SE PROTÈGE” pavoisent les murs de façon régulière.

Depuis l’opération de Dieudonné, c’est Maurice qui a repris le rôle de pourvoyeur des denrées alimentaires. C’est vraiment une dure corvée surtout à cause de tout le protocole qui existe et varie selon les magasins: lavage des mains, désinfection des chariots, distanciation, etc. La plupart des magasins ont installé des vitrines en plexiglass devant les comptoirs et la caisse. Malgré tous ces inconvénients, nous ne cessons d’admirer le dévouement des personnes qui rendent possibles tous ces services.

Le bureau de la procure continue de fonctionner… à distance. Nicole vient prendre le courrier et retourne chez elle travailler “en ligne”. Notre cuisinière Linda ne peut pas faire la cuisine à distance mais Gustave lui a suggéré de quitter son poste après le dîner. Elle prend soin de préparer le souper à l’avance. Ainsi, la communauté continue à avoir ses deux repas chauds quotidiens.

Avons-nous constaté des changements dans notre comportement? J’ai remarqué que nos repas durent un peu plus longtemps que d’habitude, que nous nous efforçons de détendre l’atmosphère par des renseignements pratiques, des histoires drôles, des moqueries gentilles et inoffensives. C’est bon pour le moral.

À quelques jours de la Semaine Sainte, la COVID-19 nous permet de nous retrouver, unis les uns aux autres, unis à Dieu et à l’Église. Comme nous aurons le privilège d’avoir toutes les cérémonies de la Semaine Sainte à la maison, Gustave avait préparé des billets indiquant qui serait le célébrant principal pour chacune des journées. C’est en retournant le billet choisi que nous savions qui ferait quoi. Greg a pigé le billet du Dimanche des Rameaux et j’ai eu celui du Samedi Saint.

Sur ce. Il est temps de vous souhaiter de Joyeuses Pâques! Profitons du temps pascal pour faire éclater nos Halleluijas et aussi prenons de l’avance pour cultiver tant de fleurs qui poussent au jardin de notre coeur: la tendresse, l’amitié, la fraternité et partage et surtout notre JOIE!

JCBscj, ce 02 avril 2020.

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Waiting out COVID-19 in Ottawa

At our regular Wednesday meeting the members of the Ottawa Community reflected on how they are coping with the isolation imposed by the Corona virus.

Since March 13 the community has agreed to keep the house safe. We cancelled the gathering for Eucharist of the Sunday community. Fr. Paul Tennyson still goes to Rideau-Perley which looks like a ghost town with severe restrictions on entry and movement within the centre. He is allowed to have a Eucharist but with only five participants. And he has instructed us about the precautions in place at the hospital.

At home, we instituted a cleanliness regime. Frequent 20 second washing of hands – the length of a double happy-birthday rendition – the cleaning of kitchen counters, the frequent washing with disinfectant of all the doorknobs, fridge handles, the dishwasher, all the handles in the kitchen and an incessant washing of all dishcloths, towels, rags… Only Fr. Bill is to remove the clean dishes from the dishwasher, Fr. Paulin does the sweeping of floors since Brenda, the cleaning lady, has not been keeping the house tidy because she has too many outside contacts.

As for our coping: yes, a bit of cabin fever. A scare on Saturday evening when a street person warned us of a stranger with body tattoos prancing on our second-floor roof. In the chapel we have a memory candle to remind us of the people affected by COVID-19: the medical people, the workers at the grocery story, the people who have died, and all the people at home who worry what this virus has done to their jobs, their investments, their pensions, their income.

But, as the Dominican Timothy Radcliffe wrote last week in La Croix, “I am deeply grateful, as never before, for living in a community, so that even in this terrible time, I can leave my room and find brethren. … Millions of people are deprived of the physical closeness that we need to flourish. On the other hand, cyberspace is filled with messages expressing love and care. ‘Are you alright?’  Suddenly, when I must not touch, I am in touch with people whom I have not seen for years. Yes, there is isolation, but also a new and wide communion of those who care.”

I think all of us can agree with his experience.

Every moment of difficulty is also a moment of opportunity. We in Ottawa will keep the world and all of you in our prayers.20200329_092811

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Letter (2) from Fr. Gustave: March 22

Chers confrères,
Nous vivons une période particulière de l’histoire de l’humanité qui touche directement l’organisation de nos communautés. C’est un moment difficile qui vient nous rappeler la fragilité et le caractère temporaire de notre existence. Nous nous retrouvons totalement désarmés pour faire face à cet ennemi invisible et redoutable, mais en même temps il nous permet de redécouvrir la richesse et la beauté de certains aspects de notre vie fraternelle en communauté qui revêtaient un caractère routinier. Être confinés dans nos maisons nous permet de passer plus de temps ensemble : prier, manger, dialoguer sont autant de moments qui nous aident à resserrer nos liens de fraternité en communauté.
Ce 22 mars 2020, la Congrégation tout entière, selon l’orientation de l’Union des Supérieurs Généraux, a manifesté sa communion avec tous ceux qui sont touchés, de près ou de loin, par le Covid-19, en priant pour eux. C’est un geste de solidarité qui nous rappelle en même temps que personne n’est à l’abri de cette pandémie. C’est pour cette raison que je profite de l’occasion pour rappeler à nous tous ce que nous connaissons déjà à travers les médias, les décisions gouvernementales et ecclésiales. Nous sommes appelés à développer des mécanismes de protection pour notre propre santé et celle des autres. Réduire les contacts avec le monde extérieur à la communauté ainsi que les déplacements qui ne sont pas nécessaires tout en observant les règles d’hygiène qui sont conseillées, sont autant de moyens pour nous de contribuer à stopper la propagation de la maladie. Ce sont certes des gestes insignifiants mais qui impliquent notre responsabilité avec un impact sur notre propre vie et celle des autres.
Je termine ce petit mot fraternel en vous partageant la situation de notre confrère Dieudonné Tchouteu qui a subi l’opération chirurgicale en traitement pour son cancer de la Prostate, le mercredi 11 mars 2020. Tout s’est bien passé selon le personnel et soignant et depuis le 12 mars, le Frère a regagné la communauté où il poursuit sa convalescence, aidé par les autres membres de la communauté. Sans trop forcer, le Frère a progressivement repris ses activités dans la communauté bien qu’au ralenti et pour le moment il attend l’appel de l’hôpital pour commencer la radiothérapie, conséquente à son traitement. Nous lui souhaitons un prompt rétablissement et continuons à le porter dans nos prières.
A tous et à chacun je souhaite un bon cheminement vers Pâques que nous allons vivre dans des conditions particulières et qui probablement nous apportera des grâces particulières aussi.
In corde Jesu,
Gustave

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Letter of p. Gustave Lulendo: March 14

Chers confrères, en ce jour où nous célébrons l’anniversaire de naissance de notre Fondateur le Vénérable Père Dehon, en même temps que nous prions pour les vocations dehoniennes, je souhaite à tous une bonne fête. Que cet événement heureux nous aide à réfléchir sur notre identité comme disciples du Père Dehon lui qui nous a montré le chemin de l’amour et de la réparation comme des voies pour notre propre sanctification et celle de nos frères et sœurs.
Cette fête qui est célébrée différemment selon les entités ou dans les différentes communautés, est marquée par un événement que le monde entier est en train de vivre, appelant les uns comme les autres à plus de discernement dans les prises de position en même temps à une solidarité aux dimensions planétaires. Il s’agit du Covid-19, virus de la grande famille des maladies à Coronavirus, ce patrimoine de la médecine vétérinaire, dont la mutation dans le corps humain fait des dégâts considérables et crée des soucis réels dans notre monde depuis le mois de décembre dernier. Certains sont appelés à modifier leurs agendas pour se mettre à l’abri et éviter d’être victime ou agent de propagation de la maladie.
Dans sa lettre du 03 mars à l’occasion de la célébration de l’anniversaire de naissance du Père Dehon, le Père Général sans faire allusion directement au Covid-19, nous exhortait à prendre conscience de l’état d’âme qu’il faut former en nous et citant le Père Dehon, il nous invitait à nous approprier cette question : « Cœur de Jésus, que voulez-vous que je fasse….. » (Notes sur l’Histoire de ma Vie 5.2); je pense que chacun dans son milieu de vie doit se laisser interpeler sur son être dehonien dans le monde et dans sa communauté; repenser au sens premier de notre engagement à la vie consacrée, tout en restant attentif aux défis et aux appels de notre temps. Il s’agit là d’une responsabilité individuelle et collective pour plus de témoignage. S’engager individuellement ou collectivement pour donner une réponses aux appels du monde, est, comme le dit Mgr Christian Rodembourg, président de l’Assemblée des évêques catholiques du Québec, le signe que les chrétiens (j’ajoute les dehoniens) ont une coresponsabilité vis-à-vis du bien de l’humanité, qui passe en grande partie par la santé et le bien-être de tous.
C’est donc pour cette raison que j’invite tous les confrères de notre région, à suivre l’évolution de la situation en étant attentifs aux orientations gouvernementales et ecclésiales de nos milieux respectifs, même si ces mesures ou orientations ne rejoignent pas nos convictions personnelles et sont sujettes à discussion. Nous devons prendre ces mesures prophylactiques avec un esprit positif même si cela fait mal de voir nos Églises et autres structures de la société revoir le déroulement de leurs activités à la baisse ou littéralement les annuler. En respectant ces règles sans céder à la panique ou à l’hystérie collective, nous nous engageons à notre manière dans le combat contre ce virus, qui pour les uns est encore loin mais pour d’autres déjà dans leurs mains.
Pour le moment, l’une des mesures qui restent à mon sens la plus envisageable, reste la prévention et c’est ici que notre collaboration est mise à contribution. La prévention ne se réduit pas seulement à vider les étalages des supermarchés comme nous le remarquons ces derniers jours; se prévenir c’est avant tout se protéger et protéger les autres. Et par rapport à ceux qui sont malades, l’isolement ou la mise en quarantaine est l’une des mesures prescrites jusque-là. Nous ne devons cependant pas confondre isolement et discrimination car même dans sa propre maison, quand on est infecté on doit opter pour un isolement volontaire pour protéger les autres.
Chers confrères, face à ce phénomène planétaire, notre attitude comme dehoniens, doit être celle de la compassion, et c’est à ce titre que nous rejoindrons le Père Dehon en étant ses dignes représentants dans un monde qui attend de nous des gestes concrets d’amour, de partage et de solidarité. Pour ma part, je renvoie la visite pastorale et canonique prévue à Toronto du 15 au 20 août 2020 à une date ultérieure qui sera fixée en dialogue avec les membres de ladite communauté. Pour les confrères de Montréal, la récollection de ce lundi 16 mars 2020, aura bel et bien lieu.
A tous bonne fête de la naissance de notre Fondateur.

 

Dear Confreres: On this day when we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our founder, Venerable Father Dehon, at the same time that we pray for Dehonian vocations, I wish you all a happy anniversary. May this happy event lead us to reflect ever more deeply on our identity as disciples of Father Dehon, he who has shown us the way of love and reparation, as pathways to our own sanctification and that of our brothers and sisters.

This anniversary, celebrated in various ways by the different entities within the congregation, takes place at a time of particular urgency for the entire world community, calling all peoples to a particular discernment of events as well as a world-wide solidarity. I speak of the growing concern over the spread of the Covid-19 virus, part of the larger family of Corona Viruses, this heritage of veterinary medicine, whose mutation in the human body has caused considerable damage and has created real concern in our world since last December. Many of us have been called to modify our plans in order to stem the spread of this disease.

In his letter of the 3rd of March, on the occasion of the celebration of the birth of Father Dehon, Father General, without explicitly referring to the Corona Virus, asked us to be especially conscious of the state of soul which we must form within ourselves; citing Father Dehon himself, he invited us to appropriate to ourselves this question: “Heart of Jesus, what do you call me to do…?” (Notes sur l’Histoire de ma Vie 5.2). I think that each one of us, in his own milieu, must allow himself to be challenged by his Dehonian presence in the world and in his own community; to re-imagine his first motivation toward the consecrated life, while always remaining aware of the challenges of our present times. This is an individual and a collective responsibility. Committing individually and collectively to respond to the calls of the world is, to quote Mgsr. Christian Rodembourg, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec: ‘…a sign that Christians have a shared responsibility for the good of humanity, which expresses itself through the health and well-being of all.’

Therefore, it is for this reason that I invite all the confreres of our region to follow closely the evolution of the present situation and to be attentive to the governmental and ecclesial orientations of our respective milieus, even if these orientations and measures may not jibe with our own personal convictions. We must accept these cautionary measures with a positive spirit, even though it may wound us to see our churches rolling back their activities and actually cancelling the celebration of holy mass on Sunday. Respecting these measures, without ceding to panic or hysteria, we participate, in our own way, in combating this pandemic, which for some is a distant possibility, while for others is already a present reality.

At the present moment, the measure which remains the most viable in my opinion is that of prevention, and this is where our collaboration may contribute the most. Prevention cannot be reduced to merely emptying supermarket shelves, as we have see plenty of in the last few days. Prevention rather is about self-protection and the protection of others. For those who have tested positive to the virus, isolation or quarantine seems to be the best solution. We should not however confuse isolation with discrimination, because even in our own homes, when we are infected, we must opt for voluntary isolation to protect others.

Dear Confreres, in the face of this planetary phenomenon, our attitude as Dehonians must be one of compassion, and it is as such that we join Father Dehon as his representatives in a world which expects from us concrete acts of love, of sharing and of solidarity. I therefore take the initiative of re-scheduling the pastoral and canonical visit scheduled for the 15th to the 20th of August 2020 in Toronto to another date to be decided in dialogue with the members of the aforementioned community.

I wish all a blessed feast of the birth of our Founder.

Montréal, March 14, 2020
Gustave Lulendo scj.

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Meeting of the Regional Council in Montréal

The Regional Council met on Thursday January 30 in Montréal. The main topic on the agenda was the Regional finances.

The meeting started with Michel Lefebvre giving us a report on our two Foundations: Les Prêtres du Sacré-Coeur Inc. and the SCJ Canada Foundation. He came with a happy message. Because of the great increase on the stock markets in 2019 he could report a gain on our investments for 2019 of 13.71% and 9.20% respectively. It meant that the return on our investments exceeded the rate of the markets. The good results made it possible for the Region to respond to a few more requests.

Council also had a lengthy discussion with Michel Lefebvre about the annuities gathered by the Mission Office. Council came to the conclusion that when the list of investors and the return on their investments were calculated, the benefits on the current annuities program was too generous. After discussion the following decision was made: (1) the Mission Office will honour the requests for this year but substantially reduce the benefits; (2) the Mission Office will stop the program at the end of this year and remove the option from our information pamphlets; (3) the Region will continue to honour our commitments to the current investors in accordance with the contracts; (4) the Mission Office will replace the annuities program with a request to benefactors to include the Mission Office and the Congregation in their last will and to make the Mission Office a beneficiary of life insurance policies.

Also Nicole Béland gave her annual report on the Mission Office. No new projects for support are proposed for this year. In general, the Office is doing well. The Office will have to make some changes in its relationship to the Banque National because of a reduction of personnel in the bank. The Office will acquire a scanner machine to read cheques and will receive access to the Bank for night deposits.

The Finance Committee which also attended the meeting proposed  three topics:

(1) Changes to our monthly statement. It proposed to eliminate the columns on the Financial Report under # 8 SCJ. The first item under #8 will now read “Region Contingency Fund”, and an addition was suggested under item # 2. There under 2.3 the report will read “Tuition and Conferences” and under 2.4 “Fees: applic. Immigr’n”.
(2) Regarding the pensions to members from other entities who have worked in our Region, the advice of the committee was that the Region pay a certain amount to all members from other entities each year. However, Council decided to pay these pensions, only if their entity had a pension fund, such as the Province of Brazil Sao Paulo. If the person stays in Canada until pensionable age and retires in Canada, the pension will come back to Canada.

(3) Jim Casper suggested that the Council add a financial expert to the committee either someone residing in Ottawa (to give direct input to Paul Tennyson) or in Montréal asking someone from ATTIR. ATTIR has shown interest in occupying the bottom floor of Maison Dehon for their activities.
At the end of this discussion on the finances of the Region, the Council thanked Paul Tennyson for his work. Also, the Finance Committee was thanked for its work.
Report on the communities
Montréal : In the review of the activities of the community, Fr. Gustave reported on the diagnosis of Dieudonné who was told just prior to Christmas that he had contracted prostate cancer. Dieudonné at the time of the meeting was on holidays in Cameroon. When he returns, he will receive the needed medical attention.
Toronto : Yuliwan Maslim reported on the events of the community over the Christmas holidays. The community gathered on December 26 for their Christmas party. Petrus is reported doing well in his language training and has learned to deal with the snow on the community property. Yuliwan also reported on the construction at St. Thomas More rectory. It is now complete. It has allowed the community to reassign the rooms in the rectory. The only renovations still to be undertaken are the renewals of the bathrooms. Jim Casper is currently receiving eye injections to deal with his macular degeneration. From February 7 – 17, Jim Casper will be going on pilgrimage with a group to the Holy Land.
Ottawa : Prof. Myriam Wijlens (Canon Lawyer at the University of Erfurt in Germany) has been visiting the community both in December and January. Peter Sanders has damaged his tendons in his right shoulder and is receiving physical therapy. The community also invited Bishop Paul Andre Durocher for supper on Sunday February 2. And since Archbishop Prendergast will be retiring this year the community also invited him to come for supper. He will visit on February 12.

Other specific points
a. Evaluations
– The November NORAM meeting in Mississauga. The meeting was very helpful, particularly for Fr. Gustave. It was his first meeting at which he presided. The meeting was held at an Airport hotel, which all thought was very helpful (even though the meeting room was a bit confining.)

– Regional administration: The Regional Administration has now been in place for one year. Gustave asked to have a brief evaluation of its effectiveness. The members expressed general satisfaction with the functioning of the council and the Regional Superior.

– Regional Bursar: There was also a general satisfaction with the new regional bursar. Our finances seem to be in good shape. What has been achieved has been the timely financial reporting of the communities. The annual report is now done and only needs to be passed to Benoit Lefebvre, our accountant, for final tune-up. Our relation with the government is back in place so that we can once again acknowledge the donations for tax receipts.

b. Feast of the Sacred Heart 2020: Organisation and tasks for the Regional celebration will be given to the communities. The celebration will take place in Ottawa as usual. It will start on June 17 at 4 p.m. for Holy Hour. The Mass of the Sacred Heart will be on Thursday June 18. Eucharist will be taken care of by Ottawa community. The Montréal will take care of adoration. The Toronto community will discuss in what way they can contribute to our gathering.

c. Regional Assembly 2020 : Council discussed the theme, dates and place of the Regional Assembly. Since the Spirituality Center in Kingston is not available, another location will have to be sought. The meeting will take place from August 24 – 27. Two themes were considered for possible consideration: Religious life: prospects and background or the revision of the Region’s  10 year plan. The assembly will coincide with the visitation of the Superior General and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter. The visitation will start in Montreal, and move from there to Ottawa and Toronto. There will be a meeting of Council with Fr. General and the General Vicar during the assembly, probably on Tuesday night.

d. Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur: On December 3 the members of the Fondation du Séminaire (M. Simon Lamontagne, Richard Woodbury and Mme. Manon Forget) met with Maurice Légaré and Gustave Lulendo to discuss the type of support the Fondation can provice to the Séminaire to overcome its deficit. The Fondation will make available $ 750.000 by way of a loan. It is hoped that with the rise of registrations to 75 students for both this year and next year that the deficit will be overcome in two years. The Séminaire had also approached the Region for financial help. Council accepted to make available $ 200.000 to the Fondation as a loan. It will be made available to the Séminaire in September. In June 2021 there will be an evaluation whether an additional $200.000 will be required to cover the deficit. Mme Manon Forget will be asked to draw up the conditions of the loan.

e. Update on the properties in Montréal. After the discussions of our last Regional Council, Pierre Berkers, one of our former members, had given Council advice regarding the possible sale of the properties. After having examined the advice, Council decided to ask for additional advice regarding the whole property. On January 31, there was a consult with ATTIR, the association of bursars of Québec, who are looking for office space at Maison Dehon’s first floor.

f. Commissions :
Theology The North American theological committee met in Hales Corners on October 4 and 5 and again on November 12 and again on January 18-19. It held a discussion on the topic of the next International Theological Seminar: ‘Sint Unum in the context of Synodality.” The theological seminar will be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, July 12- 17. Gustave Lulendo and John van den Hengel will be attending. The theological committee will meet again in Hales Corners on April 29.
North American retreats : During the NORAM meeting in Toronto on December 6, the combined councils urged for another Dehonian Retreat for North America. Jim Casper has accepted to contribute on the part of the Canadian Region. We have not yet been informed about the American members of the team. John van den Hengel will function as advisor to the group.
– Vocations : Although Willyans Prado has accepted to lead the vocations committee, he has been prevented because of his studies to give it the needed attention. For this reason, Council will ask Antonio Resende to act as the chair of the Vocation Committee. Willyans Raposo will remain a member of the committee.

– In his contacts with the Provincial of RDC Fr. Gustave received a commitment from the Congo Province that they would send Père Ushindi Kambale Sahani to Canada to help with our ministry in Montréal. However, his first visa application was refused by Canada Immigration. Fr. Gustave will now go through the Directeur de personnel, Charles Langl, to make a new application.

Leopold Mfouakouet, a former member of the General Council, has asked to be allowed to spend a sabbatical year in Canada. Council accepted his request. He will be spending it in Montréal.

Next meeting: The next meeting of council will be in Ottawa on March 26.

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Meeting of the North American Councils

Group photo of NORAM Dec 2019“We are here not only to continue a tradition, but also to commit ourselves to the future of our congregation in North America,” said Fr. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ, in his opening remarks at the December 6 meeting of the administrations of the US Province and Canadian Region. The two councils met for their twice-a-year meeting at the Best Western hotel near the airport of Toronto. The two councils meet to discuss the shared issues and concerns but also just to stay in contact with one another and find ways of collaboration. This time the convener was Fr. Gustave Lulendo, the first time that he hosted the event.
Among the issues discussed: internationality (living and ministering together as an international congregation), migration (Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, updated the councils DSC_0012on the work of the North American Migration Committee), the Dehon Study Center in North America (how to continue to support and enhance the work of the center, as well as the Dehonian Associates Office), the North American Theological Commission (in particular, its preparations –– in collaboration with other continental commissions –– for the July 12-17, 2020 SCJ Theological Conference in Cameroon), a commitment to continue the North American Dehonian Retreats, youth ministry (tentative plans for campus ministry in the United States, youth retreats with the Indonesian community in Toronto, and the 2022 World Youth Day in Portugal), and vocation promotion (the entities hope to seek more collaborative efforts regarding vocation development; the Canadian Region recently developed a vocation committee that has a new social media project: “DehonianWay”.

Pictured above are the participants at the meeting: Fr. Ed Kilianski, Fr. John van den Hengel, Fr. Paul Tennyson, Fr. Quang Nguyen, Fr. Jack Kurps, Fr. Gustave Lulendo, Fr. Richard Woodbury, Fr. Vien Nguyen and Fr. Yuliwan Maslim.

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Meeting of the Regional Council

1. On Tuesday November 26, 2019 the Regional Council met at Dehon House in Ottawa.
2. Reports of the communities
a. The Toronto community reported that in the coming year the ministry of UKI in the Toronto region will have existed 40 years. It will be celebrated in the month of April. Fr. Yuliwan also visits the Indonesian community in Calgary at least once a year. This community consists of about 100 persons. The Toronto communityDSC_0054 welcomed into its midst Fr. Petrus Maruanto who will be doing studies for a doctorate in education at OISE of the University of Toronto. Currently he is studying English in order to be accepted into the University. The community also let it be known that the renovation of the rectory of St. Thomas More is continuing. The garage is back in operation after a lengthy rebuild.
b. Fr. John van den Hengel reported on the two retreats he gave in Indonesia in the month of October. From Indonesia he travelled to Rome to participate in the International Theological Commission and the Congress on the Sacred Heart. At the Congress he delivered a paper entitled Leon Dehon’s Sacred Heart in Light of the Figure of Wisdom.
c. Fr. Gustave Lulendo reported
i. on his visit to India. He greatly appreciated greatly the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the District of India which was celebrated in the community house of Eluru. It had involved all the confreres of the District. He also had a chance to visit the other houses in Andra Pradesh. He also reported on his visit to Rome with the other major superiors. He had been part of the introductory week with those major superiors who had only recently begun their ministry.
ii. The next General Conference will be held in 2021 in Philippines. It will be on the same topic as the Conference that had been planned for 2018 but which had to be cancelled to make possible a General Chapter. The main focus of the Conference will be on the social spirituality of our founder.

d. The Montréal community reported that Br. Dieudonné Tchouteu has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had been taken to hospital on the morning of the meeting. Later we learned that he is suffering from a cancerous prostate. His doctors have advised him to take his holidays in Cameroon in December-January. After his return, he will undergo surgery. The community also reported that Fr. Louis Marie Butari has obtained the renewal of his visa allowing him to stay in Canada and to continue his work in the Unité pastoral. The community will hold an Advent retreat on December 2 as a follow-up of the regional assembly of last August.
3. NORAM meeting
In preparation of the next NORAM meeting in Toronto on December 6, the council set the agenda. The meeting will be held at the Best Western Hotel near the airport of Toronto.
4. General Visitation
In August 2020 (August 17 – 27) Fr. General and Fr. Stephen Huffstetter will hold a general visitation of the Region of Canada. The visitation will begin with a visit of the communities followed by a Regional Assembly (August 24 – 27). The theme of the Regional Assembly will be determined at the next meeting of Council.
5. The future of Maison Dehon in Montréal.
As reported above, the Montréal community met in October to discuss the future of Maison Dehon. The community put forward some options. Council decided to invoke the expertise of Peter Berkers and ask him to provide with some proposals regarding not only Maison Dehon but also the other properties.
6. Changes to the Regional Directory
Fr. Richard Woodbury presented a new draft of the proposed changes to the Regional Directory regarding the consultation procedures of a new regional administration. Council decided to accept the draft as proposed. The Region will ask for a provisional approval from the General Administration so that the next consultation will be undertaken with this new process. The proposed changes will be presented for a vote of the Region at the next Regional Chapter.
7. Committee reports
– Theological committee: The Theological committee has met in October and in November. The main topic has been the contents of the next theological seminar which will be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in July 2020. The topic will be “Synodality in the context of Sint Unum”. A first draft of papers to be presented at the seminar will be discussed at the January meeting of the committee.
– Migration Committee: The Migration Committee has met several times since the last meeting. It will make a presentation at the NORAM meeting in Toronto on December 6. It also asked that its name be changed. The committee will be known as the ”SCJ Canada Migration Committee”.
– Vocation Committee. The vocation committee presented a report of its activities. Council accepted the report and approved the budget.

8. Finances :
a. Council received the letter of the General Bursar sent after his visit to the Region in September. The letter was very positive about our finances.
b. Paul Tennyson expressed the hope to have the financial statements of 2019 in by January 15 so that the reports can be passed on to Benoit Lefebvre and to Rome and to the government. He will write a letter to the communities to advise them regarding the dates. Council will meet at the end of January with the Financial Committee and Benoit and Michel Lefebvre.
c. Council will have the next financial meeting in Montreal at the end of January so that it can approve the annual statement of 2019 and review the financial file with the finance committee and Benoit Lefebvre, our accountant, and Michel Lefebvre, our investment consultant.

9. Pointe-au-Chêne
After the report by Christian Lavergne, the director of Le Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur at the last meeting of council, both the Fondation of the Seminaire and Council have met. Here is the result of the discussions to this point :
a. The Congregation accepts the Seminaire as part of its ministry in Canada. In the course of the last three years there has developed a new understanding of the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur as a ministry of community. This is based on the clear declaration of the Conseil d’Administration of the school and the efforts made by the school to connect with the Congregation. The Director of the school M. Christian Lavergne has visited our Generalate in Rome to discuss the issue with Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, the member on council for education. He has placed our logo on the walls of the school. He has participated in the schools in collaboration program in the US and has made contacts with heads of scj schools in Germany and Spain. It is quite clear that the CA of the school sees the connection with the Congregation as essential for its own future. The school has changed in perspective and the director wants to build up the school by implementing the SCJ values as described in the meeting of the SCJ schools in Valencia in 2014.
b. The Fondation of the Séminaire has already agreed to a loan in two parts.
c. On the part of the Congregation, if a contribution will be made, it would be primarily in the form of a loan which we would ask the Fondation to manage.
d. To help its financial situation, the school has made efforts to attract international students. Up this point, 8 Ukrainian students have visited the school. Other efforts will be made to increase this number of international students.
e. The number of students from the region around Pointe-au-Chêne who have registered for next year at this point is 75. If the same number of registrations is achieved in each of the next four years, the school should be able to meet all its financial obligations.
f. Richard Woodbury will meet with the Fondation in the near future. He will ask Christian Lavergne to clarify his request to the Congregation. Paul will discuss with Michel about the possibilities of a contribution by the Region.

10. Correspondances et cas particuliers
a. Père Ushindi Kambale Sahani: At the meeting in Rome, Gustave talked with p. Albert Lingwengwe, Provincial of the Congolese Province, about a possibility to send another Congolese confrere to work with the community in Montreal. The decision was made by the Congolese Province in October to send pere Ushindi to Canada. P. Ushindi will apply for a visa at the end of November so that he can come to Canada in the beginning of next year. His stay will initially be for three years.
b. Indonesia : The Regional Superior has also spoken with the Indonesian provincial about the possibility of sending someone from Indonesia to help with the Indonesian community in Montréal. The Provincial has indicated the possiblity of someone coming to Montréal next year.
c. Brazil : The Regional Superior spoke with Fr. Ronilton of the Sao Paul Province regarding the payment of the Brazilian pension. He requested that we pay for the pension og Brazilian nationals. Gustave will find out how much we are owed. The amount will be paid through the General Bursar.
d. Angola : the District superior of Angola Bienvenue met with Fr. Gustave. He made a request regarding a Dehonian Youth group (5 young people) They live with the community in Angola. They are seeking an academic formation for 5 years (approximate cost : $ 22.000 (USA)) to make them capable to work with the community but also to re-integrate them with their own families. Council decided to give them $ 5,400 for the first year. It will ask to receive an evaluation after this year for any additional contribution.
Next meeting of Council will be on Thursday January 30, 2020 in Montréal

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Major Superiors meeting in Rome

Group photo Gustave

Fr. Gustave Lulendo shared the following from the recent Major Superiors meeting in Rome. FRENCH FOLLOWS:

Dear confreres,

With the quick change of climate in Canada, where some parts of the country are already receiving their first snow, here in Rome, the nature is still giving us good weather with temperatures that allow a good work. Some confreres still enjoy walking in the mornings and evenings and others, especially fellow students, do not hesitate to practice outdoor sports.

Regarding the activities for which we came to Rome, I must admit that I am enjoying my time here by participating in the various activities organized these days. Today (or better yesterday, Thursday, for those who want precision), we have completed the training session of the new major superiors and districts superiors and it has been a great wealth. In addition to what we learned in the management of our entities, we experienced also the “We Congregation” in its aspect of internationality that greatly enriched me. The exchanges in plenary or in the corridors were very rich and inspiring.After the closing mass presided by Father Carlos Luis, our superior general, the 9 new superiors who took part in these meetings, as well as the members of the General Administration, had a supper  in the little hut behind the property and shared a nice  to delicious Brazilian meal prepared by the General Counsellor Levi (Originally from Brazil).

Tomorrow we begin the the international colloquium on “The devotion to the Sacred Heart”, which will serve as a transition before initiating the great meeting of all the major superiors of the Congregation. As if to say that we, the new superiors, had to go through an upgrading work to put ourselves on the same level as the old ones and that goes through the first session and the colloquium. On the sidelines of the meeting of the superiors, the international Dehonian theological commission met the last two days to schedule and evaluates the progress of the preparatory work for the theological seminary to be held next July in Cameroon. Father John Van Den Hengel, president of the Dehonian Theological Commission in North America took part in this meeting which will resume on Sunday after the colloquium which will certainly allow the members of this commission to make adjustments and enrich their reflections in order to give a definitive guideline with regard to this great meeting.Next week will be very busy for the 48 participants registered for the meeting of the superiors. Among the points that will be discussed, we will have the opportunity to analyze the programmatic letter proposed by the general administration which outlines the guidelines of the new general administration which will lead us during the next 5 years.

We commend ourselves to your prayers and assure you of ours, hoping to give you further news.

In corde Jesu,

Gustave

FRENCH:

Très chers confrères,

Francis and GustaveAvec le changement rapide du climat au Canada où certains coins du pays commencent déjà à recevoir sa première neige, ici à Rome où nous nous trouvons, la nature nous donne encore de beaux jours avec des températures qui permettent un bon climat de travail.  Certains confrères prennent encore du plaisir à marcher les matins et les soirs et d’autres, surtout les confrères étudiants, n’hésitent pas à pratiquer les sports collectifs dehors.

Concernant les activités pour lesquelles nous sommes venus à Rome, je dois avouer que je profite bien de mon temps ici en participant aux différentes activités organisées ces jours-ci. Aujourd’hui (ou mieux hier jeudi, pour ceux qui veulent la précision), nous avons terminé la session de formation des nouveaux supérieurs majeurs et des districts et cela a été d’une grande richesse. En plus de ce que nous avons appris dans la gestion de nos entités, nous avons pu faire l’expérience de  « Nous Congrégation » dans son aspect de l’internationalité qui m’a fortement enrichi. Les échanges en plénière ou dans les couloirs ont été très riches et inspirants.

Après la messe de clôture présidée par le Père Carlos Luis, notre supérieur général, les 9 nouveaux supérieurs qui ont pris part à ces assises, ainsi que les membres de l’Administration générale, se sont retrouvés dans la petite cabane en arrière de la propriété pour partager un repas à la Brésilienne préparé par le conseiller général Levi (Originaire du Brésil).

Demain nous commençons le colloque sur la dévotion au Sacré-Cœur qui servira de transition avant d’amorcer la grande réunion de tous les supérieurs majeurs de la Congrégation. Comme pour dire qu’il fallait que nous, les nouveaux supérieurs, nous passions par un travail de mise à niveau pour nous mettre au même diapason que les anciens et cela passe par la première session et le colloque. En marge de la rencontre des supérieurs, la commission théologique dehonienne  internationale s’est réunie pour programmer et évaluer l’avancement des travaux préparatifs du prochain séminaire théologique qui aura lieu au mois de juillet prochain au Cameroun. Le Père John Van Den Hengel, président de la commission théologique dehonienne en Amérique du nord a pris part à cette rencontre qui reprendra le dimanche après le colloque qui certainement permettra aux membres de cette commission de faire des mises au points, des ajustements et enrichir leurs réflexions en vue de donner une ligne directrice définitive par rapport à ce grand rendez-vous.

La semaine prochaine sera très dense pour les48  participants inscrits à la rencontre des supérieurs. Parmi les points qui seront traités, nous aurons l’occasion d’analyser la lettre programmatique proposée par le gouvernement général qui trace les lignes directrices de la nouvelle administration générale qui nous conduira pendant les 5 prochaines années.

Nous nous recommandons à vos prières et vous assurons des nôtres, espérant de vous donner d’autres nouvelles en temps opportun.

En union de prières,

Gustave

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Migration Committee meets in Hales Corners

On September 23/24 members of the North American Migration Committee met at the US Provincial Conference in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. The committee, whose members include SCJs and lay persons from both the Canadian Region and United States Province, has developed a wide variety of educational efforts and actions in response to what refugees and migrants are experiencing. The group is currently developing a presentation on human trafficking. Being an international, intercultural, intergenerational committee, lots of different perspectives, experiences and ideas surfaced as to how to join with members of the local SCJ communities in North America to respond to the pressing needs of migrants and refugees. Members of the Migration Committee include Fr. Jan de Jong, Mark Peters, Fr. Peter McKenna, Fr. Tony Russo, Lily Ooi, Br. Diego Diaz and Fr. Richard MacDonald. [Fr. Mac was unable to attend this week’s meeting and so is not in the photo.]71592972_10157174027615073_1904587510651027456_o

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