Sunday, July 25, 2010

745 Years Consecrated to God

745 Years Consecrated to God

It's taken me 2 weeks, unfortunately, to get to posting something on a happy event celebrated on July 11, namely, the annual Jubilee of Profession of the Salesian Sisters.

At Mary Help of Christians Academy's chapel on that Sunday morning Srs. Ann Cassidy, Angela DeCapua, Catherine Hurley, Clare Kennelly, Betty Ann Martinez, and Beatrice Valot celebrated 40 years of religious profession as Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters); Srs. Catherine Altamura, Candide Asselin, Estelle Johnson, Elizabeth Russo, and Mary Anne Zito reached 50 years; Srs. Inez Molano and Catherine Novo, 60 years; Sr. Rosalie Di Peri, 65 years; and Sr. Antonia Cvetko, 70 years! All those years add up to 745 years.

The celebration took place within a Mass presided over by the Salesian provincial, Fr. Tom Dunne, and concelebrated by Salesian Frs. Bill Keane, Frank Wolfram, and Jim Mulloy, and diocesan priest Fr. Brendan Murray from Dover, N.J. As they always do, the FMAs provided marvelous sacred music. As always for their festivals, a large crowd of their families, alumnae, and friends filled the chapel. As always, an excellent meal followed Mass--this time at The Tides of North Haledon.

Led by Sr. Phyllis Neves (far left), superior of the FMAs' Eastern U.S. Province, the jubilarians renewed their vows after the homily.
Fr. Tom's homily, based on the gospel of the day (the parable of the Good Samaritan) was much appreciated. He said that the sisters' answer to the question that the lawyer asked of Jesus--"what must I do to inherit eternal life?"--is their lives of consecration. The Good Samaritan of the parable is an image of the behavior to which all Christians are called: compassion and long-term commitment toward those in need. The witness of these virtues by consecrated religious is essential today for the Christian people--they see the Gospel lived out in the lives of people like our jubilarian sisters.

A happy but unusual aspect of this particular celebration was that it included the jubilees of sisters from all 3 of their U.S. and Canadian provinces. All 3 provincials were present.

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