BLOOMFIELD — Through their poverty, chastity and obedience, consecrated religious men and women live the radical demands of the Gospel that Jesus did in his time on earth.
And while these three evangelical counsels are most associated with men and women religious, all baptized Catholics also should aspire to incorporate poverty, chastity and obedience in their lives, said Archbishop Leonard P. Blair.
Archbishop Blair, the principal celebrant of a Mass for Consecrated Life Day on Oct. 28, told the gathering of more than 230 men and women religious in his homily that “consecrated religious have borne witness to them in a very striking way for the sake of the rest of us.”
Speaking in the chapel at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Archbishop Blair reflected on the greatest commandment that Jesus spelled out in that day’s Gospel reading.
“In some sense,” the archbishop said, “nothing could be more straightforward than today’s Gospel. We are told to love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. In the context of the day’s celebration, his message encompassed love of God and neighbor through the charisms of consecrated life and the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.
“The love to which we are called leads to poverty, chastity and obedience, the radical demands of the Gospel which Jesus showed us in his earthly life,” he said.
Sister Mariette Moan, vicar for religious, organized the Mass and reception that honored 21 men and women who are celebrating significant anniversaries in their religious life.
The honorees were: Father Joseph Cheah of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary, 25 years; Father Joseph Gillespie of the Legionaries of Christ (LC), 25 years; Sister Virginia Herbers of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (ASCJ), 25 years; Sister Jacinta Ibe of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Ragusa, 25 years; Father James Aherne of the Missionaries of La Salette, 50 years; Sister Anne D’Alessio, ASCJ, 50 years; Sister M. Clare Millea, ASCJ, 50 years; Sister Genevieve Regina Nugent of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 50 years; Mother M. Jennifer Carroll of the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception (DM), 50 years; and Sister Marilyn Lagermann, ASCJ, 50 years.
Also, Sister Esther Nowel, DM, 50 years; Sister Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ, 50 years; Sister Mary Anne Sharron, ASCJ, 50 years; Sister Maryann Cerkanowicz, DM, 55 years; Sister Collean Doyle of the Sisters of Mercy (RSM), 60 years; Sister Elizabeth Mary Knight, ASCJ, 60 years; Sister Claire Filippone, RSM, 60 years; Sister Gina Piazza of the Religious Teachers Filippini (MPF), 60 years; Sister Marie Roccapriore, MPF, 65 years; Sister Mary Ernestine Krupa, DM, 70 years; and Sister Mary Cyril Sudol, DM, 75 years.
Blaise Falbo, a hermit of the archdiocese who was consecrated a year ago, renewed his vows before the representatives of approximately 50 archdiocesan religious communities.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the archbishop blessed the jubilarians. He congratulated them and wished them many more years of witness and service to the Archdiocese of Hartford.
At the reception that followed, Felician Sister Nancy Piskiewicz spoke for her table as she reflected on the importance of Consecrated Life Day.
“It’s so much about the camaraderie with the sisters, whether you’ve ever met them or not doesn’t matter because we have so much in common through community living. Other than our retreats, we don’t often get together, so it’s good for us. A very enjoyable evening.” she said.
In her remarks during the dinner, Sister Mariette, who also is a member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, thanked the jubilarians and offered special gratitude to Archbishop Blair for his continued support to all the religious of the archdiocese.
“Jubilarians,” she said, “your witness renews our hope and strengthens our resolve to continue our journey. Thank you for showing us the way. God’s fidelity graces us to be faithful, always willing to begin again, always willing to go where he leads us. Thank you for your example and your witness.”
Sister Mariette continued, “Each of the charisms of the many religious institutions in our archdiocese represents a unique gift of the Church that unite us. The language of the Spirit, the language of the Gospel is the language of communion, and this is what this evening is all about.”