Tradition & Vision: Education
Education became a prominent ministry for the Salvatorian priests and Brothers in the United State, going back to the 1890's. Their teaching approach aligned with the community's basic charisms, which took it to a level beyond the academic basics of reading, writing, arithmetic, and philosophy.
Brushstroke Prayes: Fr. Reed Mungovan, SDS
Sitting in an Eastern Catholic Church in San Francisco, CA roughly 20 years ago, Fr. Reed Mungovan, SDS, became enthralled with the small icons displayed throughout the tiny church. There were many icons in the church that day and it fevered his love of these little paintings. “I love them,” he said. “One summer around that time, I painted my own icon using a book to guide me.” It was the beginning of something special and spiritual for Fr. Reed.
New Father in the House
Simon knows that religious life and the priesthood can be challenging. However, like our recently beatified founder, Blessed Francis Jordan, he has placed his trust in the guidance of God and the community...
An Indirect Path - Fr. Sal Ragusa, SDS
God’s intended path for us is not always direct between two points. Fr. Salvatore Ragusa, SDS, bears witness to that. He recalls attending a benediction with his dad as early as five years old. Then, standing on a pew, he proclaimed, “I want to be a priest.”
Listen as Fr. Sal shares his story...
Greetings from Tanzania
Our USA Tanzania Mission Director, Fr. John Tigatiga, SDS, traveled home this past December to visit family and get some quick updates on how the mission is doing in the area.
Like many, we have learned to be resilient and creative during the pandemic. This resiliency holds true for our vocation recruitment process, led by Bobby Pantuso, SDS, since 2014. We were not utilizing technology in those early days. Now, we have a presence on multiple social media platforms; we stream large Salvatorian events worldwide, and we’ve made video conferencing a central part of the discernment process. The COVID pandemic pressed us to change our approach.
“I was incredibly struck by thekindness of the Salvatorian community at the high school I attended. That is truly what initially attracted me to discerning life as a Salvatorian religious brother,” said Fr. Paul Portland, SDS. “I was called first to be a Salvatorian and later a priest.”
Before he had accepted his calling to the priesthood, Fr. Paul worked as a college English professor in the late 70s. While teaching a college writing course, Fr. Paul was helping a student who had written a very personal story. As he was assisting her, she commented, “I wish you were my parish priest. It is so easy to talk to you.” As simple as that sounds, it was the nudge he needed and a turning point that led him to discern priesthood as his vocation.
Everything is possible with God ~ Fr. Peter shares his story
Fr. Peter Schuessler, SDS, Vicar Provincial and Director of Formation for our USA Province, recently shared this personal account of his own vocation journey:
"I was initially drawn to the idea of monastic life. During a Trappist monastery retreat in Utah, one of the brothers and I were bagging bread together."
Oh Brother: Bro. John Hauenstein
A school fair planted the seed for boys in 7th and 8th grade to consider a vocation. John Hauenstein, now Bro. John, SDS, was there and became interested in the priesthood. The people in his life supported him but also encouraged him to finish high school first, rather than going straight to minor seminary from junior high. So, he did.
A Humble Life ~ Bro. Kilian Harrington, SDS
Bro. Kilian Harrington, SDS, was drawn to a life of poverty and working on the land he loved. Celebrating his 70th Jubilee as a Salvatorian Brother... we share his 'humble story"
O God, Accept My Thanks
Fr. Virginus Osuagwu, SDS, released his first music CD made up of all original songs, this past summer. The album is a musical thank you to God for helping him through the trials and tribulations he has endured throughout his life.
Buidling Relationships ~ Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS
Fr. Joe shares in this article...
“Baked in my head and written at 350 degrees is a mixture of scripture and current affairs, sprinkled with bits of humor to keep their attention. I hope, each time, for a ‘taste and see’ from them and hope their digestion is shared in their relationships during the new week,” he said.
Ministry of Service
Taking his Salvatorian religious journey another step, the Salvatorian Center’s spiritual director, Bro. Silas Henderson SDS was ordained a Deacon on Saturday, February 20, at the St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson, AZ.
Exciting Summer News
While things may look a little different this summer, we have received exciting news about summer camp operations from the Governor of Maryland, where our beloved Camp St. Charles is located. We can confidently welcome campers this season, and we are so excited!
Bro. Ervan Digman - It was God's grace
On a small farm in Dickeyville, Wisconsin, the seeds of hard work, simplicity, and faith were well planned for Donald, now Bro. Ervan Digman SDS. As a young boy, Bro. Ervan assumed the chores and labors of a dairy farm, milking 30 cows before he left in the mornings to attend a nearby small Catholic school which Salvatorian Sisters ran.
Fr. Roman Stadtmueller - life of commitment
Fr. Roman has led a busy and full life as a Salvatorian, beginning with his ministry as a professor at Jordan Seminary in Michigan for seven years. The Society then asked him to go to Africa, and he willingly accepted the assignment. He learned the language of the land, Swahili, and spent five years in what is now known as Tanzania. He was a missionary, and when the Benedictines, who started the mission, transferred leadership to the Salvatorians, Fr. Roman became the pastor.
One priest - Two plans
When we make plans, the Lord laughs and guides us to His plan for us. “The Lord has a sense of humor,” said Fr. Paul Wilkin SDS.
“On June 23, 2019, I was ordained a Salvatorian priest, and I thought my plan and God’s were the same,” said Fr. Paul. “However, between then and January 2020, my plans kept being revised by the Lord.” The obvious goal in Fr. Paul’s heart was that three days later, with a U-Haul in tow...
The ever-changing and growing presence of social media opens the door for new ways to communicate and share the Salvatorian charisms. Adapting to the times has a significant role in how we are called to respond.
Showing the Salvatorian humanity and humor, Clr. Ricardo Rivera Gutierrez has taken the social media, TikTok by storm, gaining over 70,000 followers in just a few months.
Pope Francis declared on June 19, 2020, that a miraculous healing was worked by God through the intercession of our founder, Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan. We are now able to share more details of this miracle which has paved the way for our founder to be called “Blessed.”
Front Line Faith
Caring for spiritual health during a pandemic
Nurses and doctors are hospital front liners dealing with the physical health of so many during this Covid-19 Pandemic. Who takes care of the spiritual needs of staff, their patients, and patient families during these unprecedented times? Fr. John Vianney Muweesi SDS, a Society of the Divine Savior priest, serves on the front line as a hospital chaplain at All Saints Hospital in Racine, Wisc.
Br. Silas welcomed as new spiritual director
Silas grew up in Eastern Tennessee. He attended the local high school, was active in various clubs and activities. During these formative high school years, he also began to think about the possibility of religious life.
As a Benedictine monk for nearly 11 years, he holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree in liturgy from Catholic Theological Union at Chicago and a Masters in Theological Studies from St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.
What does it mean to be a religious brother?
Recognition of the Miracle Attributed to Fr. Jordan!
Venerable Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan soon to be called “Blessed”
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has officially authorized the promulgation of the decree regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Salvatorian Founder, Venerable Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan. This completes the process on the miracle and definitively opens the way towards beatification of our Founder, who will soon be called “Blessed Francis Jordan.”
Fr. Jordan’s beatification process began in 1943. After the death of a holy man or woman, their history is written and their works are collected and sent to a special Vatican congregation for review. If everything looks good, the person is given the title, “Servant of God.”
Hope comes in a container
In 2019 our Salvatorian Mission Warehouse based in New Holstein, Wisconsin was able to ship more than 1.5 million pounds of relief goods. Medical equipment, supplies, and products were packed into 47 containers, which departed from a little town in Wisconsin for 24 missions in 14 countries around the world, including Ghana, Panama, Haiti, Guatemala, and the Philippines, to mention a few.
Fr. Virginus | Social justice ministry
Fr. Virginus, a survivor of gun violence himself, has been invited to speak on the topic numerous times. "To share my story, as a victim of gun violence, sheds light on the impacts on the victim. Although it is very emotional, I feel like God is using the darkest moment of my life to bring light into a politically polarizing area," he said. "I believe that my ministry is growing out of my misery."
Fr. Gregory Coulthard Retires
Navigating multiple ministries within various locations around the world has been a common mode of operation for Fr. Greg Coulthard SDS throughout his 60 years of service as a Salvatorian priest.
Fr. Greg, born in Milwaukee, grew up in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. He attended Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz through high school and went on to our junior college in Colfax, Iowa, before heading to the Catholic University in Washington DC for Theology. He was ordained a priest in June 1967.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I'm going
Octavio Trejo Flores SDS recently shared an update on life
as a new Salvatorian priest. Ordained this past summer,
Fr. Octavio began ministry at the new Salvatorian-led parish
community of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Melbourne, FL,
"I serve in a congregation that is very diverse and
culturally expressive; that is, there are people from almost
all continents, and they bring their uniqueness with them.
Still, our parish family comes together to form a single
community," he said. He helps to meet the needs of the entire
parish, which also includes the school.
"To be a priest has been a special blessing. I have seen
the goodness of people, and to be honest, it gives me so much
hope because I have witnessed the grace of our Savior, Jesus
Christ, in the work and life of the people I serve here."
He was a cowboy, hunter, farmer, cook, and soldier before being called to religious life. When Br. Peter Farnesi SDS became a Salvatorian more than 60 years ago, no words could ever have been more real. "My Lord God, I have no idea where I'm going." His heart remained open to how the Lord needed him to serve during his first year as a Salvatorian brother. He said 'yes' to cooking at a Salvatorians' boys camp, helping on the farm and in the kitchen, working with cattle, and making bread for the seminarians. Little did he know this winding path was preparing him for his missionary life in Tanzania, which would span 24 years and leave an indelible mark not only on his soul, but on the country he came to love, and its people.
He was brought to tears, overwhelmed himself, by the helplessness and loss a family had to endure when they could not say a final goodbye to a parent. In one instance, a parent passed away shortly before a Visitor Visa to the USA was granted. They had not seen each other for more than ten years.
Catalyst for change
It all began when a Salvatorian priest was assigned to Huntsville in 1950 to establish an all-black mission; St. Joseph's Church was born. By September 1952, records indicate that approximately 18 black parishioners attended the first Mass. By May 1953, the first wedding took place, and in the mid-'50s, the first children and adults were baptized.
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.
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.
"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."
Salvatorians Celebrate the Priestly Ordination of Four Men!
DIVERSITY AT THE
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
“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
“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
“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
“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.
Camp | It never really takes a break
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.
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.
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!
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!”
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.
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.”
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.
View HOPE Now
IN THE NEWS
An inspiring example of the spirit and history of our Salvatorian mission! Read the full story from National Catholic Reporter
"Fr. Jordan showed great concern for cities' peripheries and the marginalized. From here, they oversee missions and projects in 43 countries. The congregation is characterized by the formation of its members and by living close to the most needy. "