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23/01/2019

After 110 years, the Dehonians leave Asten

2019-01-22

 

Link to the Photos 2018-seta

 

 

"After 110 years the SCJ priests and brothers leave Asten with nostalgia in their hearts." These were the words of the parish priest in Asten, Piet Scheepers, at the beginning of a Mass of departure on January 20, 2019. In a church filled with people from all generations, the parish priest emphasized the importance that the Dehonians have had in the development of ecclesial life. "The merits of the SCJ Congregation must be identified above all at the level of individual priests and brothers. The social sensitivity of Dehonians, often coming from the rural context, has marked ecclesial life, and not only in Asten and its surroundings. Being close to the people, having social interaction with them on the basis of equality, is really a characteristic of SCJs."

After a reference to the founder, Fr. Dehon, and his search for a balance between spirituality and practical commitment, the parish priest Scheepers recalled the beginnings of the Dehonian presence in Asten. "In 1908 the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus opened a novitiate in Asten. About 1,000 young people did their formation here. Later they went to the missions: Congo and Cameroon in Africa; Argentina, Chile and Brazil in South America; Indonesia in Asia. They also worked in European countries like Finland, England and Germany. Many remained in Holland for teaching and for pastoral social work. When a crisis in church life appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, and vocations to religious life diminished, Asten's novitiate was transformed into a community house for elderly Dehonians...

We are here with mixed feelings because an era is over... On the main altar of our church it is possible to see the image of the Sacred Heart above. It is a memory of our Fathers and Brothers of the Sacred Heart, but also an invitation to follow in their footsteps and have a heart for each other.  

Let us give thanks for the good that has been done; thanks for all that has been accomplished. Thank you for all your friendship, your commitment and your cordiality.”

 

Pastoor Pieter Scheepers