Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners hosted two celebrations July 16 and 17 to mark 100 years of ministry in the United States by the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). (Submitted photo)

Bishop Jeffrey R. Haines, auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee, and Bishop Donald DeGrood of Sioux Falls, were among the hundreds of guests at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology on July 16 for the first of three centennial celebrations for the Priests of the Sacred Heart, or Dehonians.

Dehonian ministry began in the United States in 1923.

The July 16 celebration was a moment to say thank you to the community’s benefactors. Donors from around the country filled the seminary chapel. The next day was the “family celebration,” at which family, coworkers and other collaborators (including representatives from Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Chancery Office), and leadership from several Milwaukee-area religious communities joined members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart for liturgy and a meal.

The final celebration will be July 30 at the birthplace of Dehonian ministry in the United States: Lower Brule, South Dakota. The first Sacred Heart priest celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s Parish there in 1923. Bishop Peter Muhich of Rapid City will be the main celebrant of the anniversary Mass and Fr. Stefan Tertünte, S.C.J., provincial superior of the German Province (the “mother province”), will be the homilist.

The Priests of the Sacred Heart is an international religious community of priests and brothers located in more than 40 countries on five continents. Founded in France by Fr. Leo John Dehon, the order is now based in Rome.

Dehonian ministry in the United States extends from South Dakota to Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas and Florida, reaching across ethnic, social and economic lines.

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Dehonians’ Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners prepares men from around the country — and the world — for ordained ministry, including academic formation for seminarians for the archdiocese. Sacred Heart also offers master’s programs for lay students, and an internationally regarded ECS (English and Culture Studies) program specifically designed for those in or preparing for ministry in the Church.

The Priests of the Sacred Heart minister at St. Martin of Tours Parish in Franklin, where they also serve the Vietnamese Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Just a few miles away, Dehonians operate Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, a senior apartment community with several units reserved for those who are economically challenged.

In Houston, the Priests of the Sacred Heart are in the central city parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the oldest Hispanic parishes in Texas.

In Mississippi, Dehonians are responsible for the Church’s ministry in the five northwestern counties of the state. Through Sacred Heart Southern Missions, Dehonians offer social services and emergency aid, advocacy, housing, education, job training and counseling. The Sacred Heart Auto League, which promotes safe, prayerful driving, is also a part of SHSM’s ministry.

One of the order’s oldest ministries in the United States is St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota. Since it first opened its doors in 1927, the school has expanded its outreach well beyond the classroom with family counseling, healthcare, social programs, and education in Lakota traditions. Dehonians also continue to minister in reservation parishes on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations.

And just as the Dehonian presence in the United States was begun by missionary outreach, the U.S. Province is committed to building the Church by supporting missions throughout the world, including Vietnam, India, the Philippines, South Africa, Congo and Indonesia. Representatives from each of these entities were present for the centennial celebrations in Hales Corners.