Once again in this Year for Consecrated Life Religious men and women including those from the Anglican Church gathered in the Grimshaw Room and St Chad’s Cathedral on Saturday 7 February.
Una encouraged us to choose life and walk alongside those who are in the twilight zone. She reminded us of Pope Francis words on his recent visit to the Philippines when he spoke to the people who were in distress because of the frequent natural disasters: ‘All I can do is walk with you and I walk with you with my silent heart’.
On the Opening Day of a Magnificent Cathedral a man was admiring the building when a young girl asked him: ‘Do you like this Church Mister?’ He replied that he did and she went on to say: ‘I’m glad you like it because I helped to build it’. The man said: ‘You are a young girl, how could you help to build this magnificent Cathedral?’ The girl replied: ‘My daddy is a bricklayer and he was working on this Cathedral and I brought him his lunch every day.’ Each person contribution is important even though it may seem very little.
As Consecrated women and men we need to stop asking the questions of yesterday. We can focus on the past to avoid engaging with the present and the future. Like St. Joseph we need to believe the promise we have been given: The Magi had a Star, the Shepherds had a Song but Joseph only had a Promise and he trusted that the Promise would be fulfilled. As in the words of the Hymn: ‘We walk by Faith and not by sight’. We are no longer in control as we were in the past in schools and hospitals. It is important that we are what we say we are and keep our spirit of Joy. We need to follow the ‘ninth’ beatitude: ‘Blessed are those who are able to laugh at themselves, they will never cease to be amused.
Archbishop Bernard’s Homily
Bishop Bernard quoted from the Reading from the Song of Songs: ‘Set me as a seal on your forehead, a seal on your heart like a seal on your arm. Christ is the seal on our forehead because we always profess him, the seal on our heart because we always love him and the seal on our arms because we are always working for him. Religious have a life in Community and a common purpose. Many belong to National and International groups but their contribution to the life of the Archdiocese is very important and the local Church would be impoverished without its Religious men and women. Jesus asks us to carry our Yoke and as a carpenter he knew the importance of the yoke corresponding to the shoulder of the bearer.
Special Congratulations were offered to this year’s Jubilarians some of whom were unable to be present:
Sr Jacinta Mary – Little Sister of the Poor
Sr Marian Elizabeth – Little Sister of Poor
Sr Therese O’Neill – Sister of Charity of St. Paul
Sr Catherine Burke – Sister of Charity of St. Paul
Sr Regina Mary – Sister of Divine Love
Sr Mary Stella – Carmelite Sister
Sr Mary of Jesus – Carmelite Sister
All present renewed their vows concluding with words:
‘We continue to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to serve God and the Church, and to spread the kingdom of Christ with love and zeal.