Wednesday, February 2, 2011

World Day for Consecrated Life 2011

     Many smiles and hugs were shared by all. A great deal of joy swept through the Pastoral Center yesterday. My mom had told me that Mass would be crowded Tuesday since they were celebrating World Day for Consecrated Life there. She was right. As I was walking in from the parking lot, I saw Sister Charlotte, who was in a very serious car accident a while back. She was walking using a cane, but she’d recovered remarkably well. I marveled at this woman who had gone every day to bring my grandma Communion when she was in St. Mary’s Hospital back in 2009. When she came in the building, a number of religious came up to her to tell her they’ve been praying for her. Her immediate response was: “Don’t stop!”
     It’s always been quite uplifting to hear when others have been praying for me. I could tell by the joy and surprise in their faces, all who knew Sister Charlotte were grateful their prayers for her recovery were being answered in such miraculous ways.
     I recognized many of the priests, sisters, and brothers in attendance.  Several women were there from St. Joseph's Little Sisters of the Poor, where my grandmother lives. I recognized some of the monks from Mary Mother of the Church Abbey, and others from various organizations and prayer groups I’d been involved in over the years.

Each consecrated religious was given a nametag and either a corsage or a boutonniere. Bishop Francis DiLorenzo, Monsignor Lane, and Fr. Mike Boehling processed in.  The first two readings were done by two of the Little Sisters. I couldn’t help but thinking how incredibly lovable they are. Their different accents, small stature, extreme reverence and love for the Lord allowed me very easily to see how God must just love them to pieces.     
     Bishop DiLorenzo gave the homily in which he mentioned the challenges religious men and women have faced throughout history in evangelizing and ministering to people from a variety of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and ways of life. Basically, he acknowledged the difficulties in reaching out to others and encouraged every one of them to hang in there.
     Almost every single seat in the Chapel was taken. Close to half of all those in attendance stood when it was time to renew their religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Mass was such a lively testimony to how God works in and through the people He calls to dedicate their lives to serving Him.
     Lord, thank You for the gift of men and women who have answered Your call to religious vocations. Please help them to feel Your love and tenderness as they go about the ministry work You have given them. Amen.
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