REGINA — The communities have different names, have different charisms; some members wear identifiable clothing, others are indistinguishable from the general population; but they have one thing in common: they serve God and the Roman Catholic Church in uncountable ways.
And it’s a lifelong commitment with retirement mainly a transition to a different level of service. They are the consecrated women and men of the Regina archdiocese. Together they were recognized and thanked for their service at a special Feb. 1 ceremony at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church. The event was organized by SARA (Sisters Association of Regina Archdiocese).
Rev. Peter Pham celebrated the mass with concelebrant Rev. Jon Meehan, SJ. Pham thanked the consecrated men and women who influenced him in his journey to the priesthood which began in North Vietnam.
SARA president Sister Bernadette Feist, OSU, welcomed everyone, noting that “consecrated life is very much alive in the world and in our diocese.”
Sister Marilyn LeBlanc, RNDM, read the five invitations Pope Francis issued when he proclaimed in an Apostolic Letter 2015 the Year of Consecrated Life. The invitations were repeated in a message issued by Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB): to be living witnesses to the joy of the Gospel, to be prophetic, to create communion, to go to the peripheries and to see God’s will.
Each of the five invitations carried an explanation of what is expected. Listening to the activities of the congregations described by individual representatives at the invitation of Feist, all five of the pope’s invitations have always been met.
They are engaged in education, working with the poor, pastoral work in churches, Aboriginal ministries in both urban and First Nations, working with refugees, volunteering and visiting in hospitals and senior care homes, providing accommodations for young people attending universities, chaplaincy, encouraging vocations and much more.
“So much we have been given, so much we have to share,” said Sister Anastasia Young, SSS, former director of Pastoral Care for the Regina archdiocese.
Sister Alvina Marie Charlebois, SFCC, is busy at several churches and the Wascana Rehabilitation Hospital. “I suppose someday I may settle down but right now I’m having too much fun,” she said after describing her activities.
Almost all belong to communities that have members serving all over the world and many of them now living in the Regina archdiocese have served in other countries.
The Year of Consecrated Life began November 2014 when Pope Francis issued his Apostolic Letter and will end in February 2016. The year is to be devoted to honouring and recognizing the women and men who have dedicated their life in service to God and the world.