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Building Faith

Ministry magnified his heart

Recently ordained Fr. Patric Nikolas SDS, has hit the ground running. In just his first month as a Salvatorian priest he presided at three weddings, three baptisms and a funeral, scripture discussion groups, anointings, special anniversary blessings, weekday and all weekend Masses, including regular preaching as he covered for another priest on medical leave.



Fr. Patric Nikolas SDS


For I was hungry and you gave me food

Br. David Buer OSF, and a diocesan priest, had the vision to establish a winter shelter. They received grants to buy cots, but a space to host the shelter eluded them. So, instead of buying cots they rented a van for two months to serve soup and hot chocolate to the homeless on the streets of Tucson, AZ. Food was donated by Caridad, a feeding program founded by the pastor of another church in the area. Br. David and a group of volunteers, including some from the Salvatorian-led parish of Most Holy Trinity (MHT), worked together during the winter of 2006-07. They were able to serve for only two months.

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Br. Jeffrey St. George SDS with the Souper Van!

Understanding grief

Novice Ricardo Rivera SDS 

"Novice Ricardo Rivera Gutierrez has a history of interest in helping people process their grief whether it is from the loss of a pet, a parent, a relationship or even a job."

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Salvatorians Celebrate the Priestly Ordination of Four Men!


Milwaukee, WI. A Nigerian, a Mexican and two American men, will gather together to share and celebrate their priestly ordination on Sunday, June 23rd at the Salvatorian-led parish of Mother of Good Counsel in Milwaukee, WI. The ordinations will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Jeffrey Robert Haines, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. These men have spent the last year, their diaconate year, immersing themselves into all aspects of parish and community life, as a way to put into practice all the lessons learned during religious formation.

“These men come from very different backgrounds, but each one is truly Salvatorian,” said Fr. Jeff Wocken SDS, USA provincial. “Universality is one of our core values. We are a diverse community called to serve people from many different walks of life. This unity in diversity requires respect and forgiveness, which is a powerful witness of Communion in our Church and world.”

“The formation journey is a very involved process of discernment and spiritual awakening,” said Fr. Peter Schuessler SDS, vicar provincial and director of formation for the Society. “Each of these men has immersed himself in the Salvatorian charism and is now prepared to take that next step of commitment to life as a Salvatorian priest.” 

Dn. Patric Nikolas

Native of San Jose, Calif. 

 “My diaconal year gave me the opportunity to preach, participate more thoroughly in the mass, and get accustomed to the view from the front of the church. I used to sit in the back like a good Catholic,” he said. “Priesthood is the permanent commitment I’ve been formed to take on, and I approach June 23 with profound gratitude and humility.” 
Nikolas will be teaching theology and doing sacramental ministry full time at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in the fall.

Dn. Octavio Trejo-Flores

Native of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico  

“Preparation for the priesthood has taken years of arduous preparation both spiritually and academically. My Salvatorian formation has given me a solid foundation for my future ministry,” said Trejo-Flores. “Throughout my diaconal year, the love that the faithful have shown me, has inspired me. I ask God to help me serve His People with the same love that God shows me every day.”

Returning to the Salvatorian-sponsored, Camp St. Charles, in Newburg, MD, Trejo-Flores will minister for a third summer saying Mass and participating in leadership activities with the campers. In the fall he will head to our southern region to begin service as the associate pastor of a parish in Florida.


Dn. Virginus Osuagwu

Native of Nigeria

“Formation has played a critical role in preparing me for both the upcoming ordination and the mission ahead,” said Osuagwu. “I have come to understand the meaning of grace, that is, how Jesus walks into the lives of ordinary people like me and transforms them into usable instruments to promote the reign of God.”

Osuagwu will be exploring ministry possibilities on the east coast, where Salvatorians have a significant presence. After his ordination, his interest lies within a new social justice ministry that he hopes to develop.  

Dn. Paul Wilkin

Native of Cincinnati, Ohio

“This blessed journey has included using the gifts God has graced me with so that I can serve others,” said Wilkin. “I have also received many grace filled gifts back from those I serve whether in the U.S., Vietnam or the Philippines,” 

Post ordination Wilkin will continue to serve at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Milwaukee, WI. He will return to SHSST to complete his final semester and has begun looking at ministry for the future.  Wilkin’s heart is set on ministry in one of the Asian countries where Salvatorians currently serve. 

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Salvatorian Named First Hispanic Rector & President at SHSST


Fr. Raúl Gómez has returned to the USA after serving six years as vicar general and general secretary for the international Society of the Divine Savior, in Rome, Italy. He has now been appointed the president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (SHSST) in Hales Corners, WI.  Gómez is not only the first Hispanic to serve as rector and president of SHSST but also the first native-born one of a major Roman Catholic seminary in the US. He will assume the duties of this position in early July.  

Professing his first vows with the Salvatorians in 1982, Gómez was ordained to the priesthood in 1987. Prior to his term in Rome, Gómez had served nearly 25 years at SHSST in a variety of capacities including more than 15 years as director of Hispanic studies, which was one of the first programs of its kind in a seminary setting. His roles at the seminary also included service as vice rector and as vice president for academic affairs and director of intellectual formation. Gómez has an MDiv, MPA, and PhD. 

Asked about how his background may play into this new role, Gómez responded, “Hispanics represent fifty percent of the Roman Catholic population in the US. This is a sign that we are able to serve at all levels, and that the Church is opening up new ways. I pray that my international experience and cultural diversity will bring further direction to what Sacred Heart represents, what it needs to be and where it is going."


Fr. Raúl Gómez (l) pictured here in his duties as VP for Academic Affairs & Director of Intellectual Formation for Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.


Intellectual, pastoral and spiritual formation, are the foundations of what it means to be a priest. “The fourth component, human formation, which is to learn those aspects of how to live celibately, treat and work with people well, and to resolve conflict, needs to dovetail with the intellectual, the spiritual or prayer life, and pastoral abilities of these men in formation who will go on to serve in the Church,” said Gómez. “This component is the weakest right now. We need to pay attention to it with our feet on the ground.”

Salvatorians have a rich history at the Seminary. “When I began in 1988 there were already Salvatorians on staff and others had studied there in preparation for ministry,” said Gómez. “Since then, about 15 members of the US Province as well as Salvatorian Sisters have served as full-time and adjunct professors. At one point there were more Salvatorians on staff than members of the order that owns and operates Sacred Heart!”

Camp | It never really takes a break

This group of campers escaped with 20 seconds to spare!


Nestled on a peninsula on the shores of the Charleston Creek and Wicomico River in Southern Maryland, the Salvatorian inspired Camp St. Charles never really takes a break. In some ways, it never really slows down. Early registration for the 2019 camp season has been incredibly strong, with the program being already 85 percent full for this summer.  

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Container arrives in Syria

For Achraf and other Syrian refugees who have settled in the U.S., the joy felt in finally getting their families to safety is tempered by the memories of all those left behind. But it is through these relationships that the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse (SMW), located in New Holstein, Wisc. is able to get relief goods into Syria when very few organizations are successful.

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Children in Syria received Land's End©
winter coats from a recent shipment.


Reaching millennials in campus ministry

Whether it is on a secular or religious campus, helping young adults find ways to embrace, and live their Catholic faith daily is clearly at the heart of this ministry. The Society has three men serving in campus ministry, with combined years of service spanning 70 years! 

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Fr. Mike Neeland SDS ordained in 2017, now serves
in campus ministry at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT)


United in Christ | Unidos en Cristo

At the Salvatorian-led parish of Mother of Good Counsel (MGC) in Milwaukee, Wis., implementation of a Spanish Mass more than two years ago helped attendance take off, as well as a meaningful Hispanic ministry. 

Fr. Reed Mungovan SDS serves as the administrator at the parish, and has an affinity to the Spanish language that started back in middle school. However it was in seminary school that he received the push he needed, when his mentor, and fellow Salvatorian, Fr. Raúl Gomez capriciously signed him up for a minor concentration in Spanish. “Despite my hesitation, I was being an obedient servant,” he said with a laugh. “So, I just did it!”


Fr. Reed, Marco Melendez, Novice Liam Helms and Dcn. Sergio celebrate with Maria at her quinceañera at MGC parish


Return from Africa

Fr. Jim Weyker SDS has returned home from his ministry in Tanzania, Africa which spanned more than 25 years! Fr. Jim was the last American Salvatorian Priest serving there. He served in many parishes throughout Tanza­nia. His last years there included serving the sisters in Masasi and taking care of his cashew grove.


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Fr. Jim in his cashew grove. 


A stand out person

When Louinel was a small boy in Haiti, managers of the Salvatorian-led Haiti Project took him under their wing. They found him a sponsor, which, in turn, opened the door for Louinel to attend the recently opened school in the village of Garcin. “Louinel was always friendly. As we started to spend extended periods of time in Haiti, he would come and visit us regularly,” said Denise Snyder SDS. “He would help me practice my Creole, share meals with us and play dominos in the evenings.” 


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Louinel helps the children who come to the library


Finding more ways to help

A Salvatorian priest, along with the director of our Mission Warehouse and his wife, the president of South­west Medical Aid and a mission nurse (all of whom are, or soon will be, Lay Salvatorians) gathered together to fly to Tanzania, Africa. The group had high hopes of establishing stron­ger relationships with our Tanzanian Pro-Province and finding ways to help provide medical supplies needed at various clinics and out­stations.


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Dave, Fr. Joe and Michael spending some time with the kids.


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