2018-10-05 / Front Page

Mass celebrates those who serve god

Sr. Terry Gauvin Sr. Terry Gauvin “We are more elderly and diminishing in number,” said Sister Terry Gauvin, the provincial of Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec.

“This Mass and gathering give us the opportunity to come together and say that we are still disciples of Jesus.”

In commemoration of the many ways in which women and men in consecrated life have contributed to both the Catholic Church and the wider community in Maine, Bishop Robert P. Deeley celebrated a special Mass for Consecrated Life Sept. 26, at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Scarborough.

“I want to thank you for your faithful witness,” Deeley told the religious during his homily. “Time and time again, I am moved by the care you give to each other and the works of your communities.”

In the Diocese of Portland, consecrated life includes religious sisters and brothers, associations of the faithful, hermitesses and hermits, consecrated virgins and secular institutes. Among the many communities represented at the Mass on Wednesday were the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the Sisters of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, the Secular Institute of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec).

“It’s good to see all the sisters because we don’t have many opportunities to all come together,” said Sister Patricia Pora, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Portland. “This is nice. We get a chance to talk about evangelization. Even with our older sisters, there are still things that can be done.”

Over the years, different communities have been instrumental in providing education, health care, social services and pastoral ministry not just to Catholics, but to all in need in Maine.

“Consecrated life, in whatever form it takes, is the living of the Gospel,” Deeley said. “In whatever form it takes, it is always related to community. Religious life has community at its center. The life of the hermit or the consecrated virgin is also consecrated life. It, too, though not lived in community, is related to the community by prayer and dedication. All consecrated life is devoted to the perfection of charity, which, by its very nature, engages the community. Even when your physical condition makes it more difficult to walk the corridors of a hospital or teach a class, you are united in prayer and mutual support for the work of the church.”

The bishop asked those assembled to keep up their magnificent work.

“Continue to be that sign of what the church is called to be, a community in which the love of God is known and lived in service to others. Your fidelity to your call to consecrated life is the flame of hope within the church. It reminds us of what Jesus called us to.”

The bishop’s request was one that those in attendance took to heart.

“I view today as a day of thanksgiving for the gift of vocation, and to have the bishop’s presence here says how much the religious means to the church. It’s a blessing,” said Sister Karen Hopkins, who has taught in Catholic schools for more than 40 years, most recently at St. Thomas School in Sanford.

In an effort to honor the past and encourage future growth in consecrated life, Pope Francis declared a Year of Consecrated Life beginning the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2014, and concluding on Feb. 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated Life. The celebration also served as an opportunity to learn about the many forms of consecrated life in the church. In the Diocese of Portland, statewide events, parish celebrations, and luncheons were held to commemorate the year.

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