SCJ Novice Henry Nguyen in service to a unique community

SCJ Novice Henry Nguyen in service to a unique community

As a part of the religious formation of potential members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, a candidate spends a year as a novice, learning what it is like to be a fully professed religious SCJ. It is an intense period of time which includes prayer and public service with minimal distraction from normal everyday life.

A day in the life of a novice includes many things, such as personal prayer, Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, study of the writings of the Founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon and the inter-community novitiate program. The Novice Master is Fr. Byron Haaland, SCJ. In formation emphasis is given to living life according to the SCJ Rule of Life so to know what it means to be a religious as Fr. Dehon was. It is a call to follow Jesus by Living with an Open Heart and Mind.

As a part of Henry’s formation, he accompanies Fr. Byron for liturgy. He interacts and builds relationships with the residents at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, a facility for the elderly and disabled in Milwaukee.

This was initially challenging to Novice Henry because he had not had experienced being with persons with disabilities. Here was a new life changing opportunity for him. 

He soon learned that he needed to take Fr. Dehon’s instructions to heart, to “get out of the sacristy and go to the people.” At St. Ann’s where he first only saw disabilities, now he was able to see the whole person. Their wheelchairs were just things that they needed to get around. Each resident is a unique gift from God!

Novice Henry has learned how to be present with this unique community and to help them with their spiritual needs.

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