“True moments of celebration remind us that we are made in the image and likeness of God.” ~ Pope Francis

Coronation of the Virgin by Diego Velazquez

Coronation of the Virgin – Velazquez

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are reminded that we are created in the image and likeness of God.  Pope Francis in his Audience in Rome on August 12, 2015 teaches about facets of family life – celebration, work and prayer:

We begin now a series of catecheses on three facets of family life: celebration, work and prayer. Let us turn first to celebrations which, as we see from the Story of Creation, are the invention of God, who on the seventh day rested from his work. It is God himself who teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplating and enjoying the fruits of our labours, not only in our employment or profession, but through every action by which we as men and women cooperate in God’s creative work, even in times of difficulty. In the workplace too, we celebrate – a birthday, a marriage, a new baby, a farewell or a welcome. True moments of celebration make us pause from our work, because they remind us that we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is not a slave to work, but the Lord of work! 

Let us welcome three new Sisters this month to our family of the Diocese of Phoenix:

Sister Caritas, SOLT

Sister Caritas, SOLT – We can’t wait to meet you!

Sister Maria, OP

Sister Maria, OP – What a beautiful smile!

Sr. Peter Joseph, OP - you are a gift!

Sr. Peter Joseph, OP – You are a gift!

On August 11th, I visited the Disciples of Hope, a Religious Order of Priests which was founded in the Philippines by Fr. Romauld Zantua, D.S. who lives in Phoenix.  It was a joy to visit with Fr. Zantua, two visiting priests from the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, TX and Deacon JR who serves at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Phoenix.

Fr. Zantua in the center with his 3 brother Disciples of Hope.

Fr. Zantua in the center with his 3 brother Disciples of Hope.

The Disciples of Hope strive to imitate Jesus Christ through the example of John the beloved disciple who stood with Mary, His Mother beneath His Cross on Calvary. With Mary they see the suffering Jesus in the sick particularly those near death. They share with them the hope in eternal life. In addition to their prayerful presence, their friendly visits or sacramental  ministrations, the Disciples of Hope also  offer a special retreat designed to witness to the redemptive value of suffering, stressing  the dignity and value of human life at any stage especially at its final approach to a life of unending joy with God.

“The Disciples of St. John the Apostle” or “Disciples of Hope”  for short was founded  by Fr. Romuald P. Zantua  with the assistance of Fr. Julian A. Barrosa, in the Diocese of Daet, Camarines Norte, Philippines. It was canonically erected as a clerical public association by Bishop Benjamin J. Almoneda on Feb. 24, 1996 . Presently, its principal seat is in the Diocese of Novaliches, Quezon City,  Philippines under the protectorate of Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, D.D. Since 2001 it has branched out to two dioceses in the United States namely, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas and the Diocese of  Phoenix in Arizona.

 
D.S. Logo is a circle encircled by another circle with the words, 
 In the center is a figure of the Cross-with the Crucified Christ facing four figures that represent the ideals of the community.  These ideals are: prayer, unity, reconciliation and help.

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On Friday, August 14th, I visited two Sisters from the Sisters of the Divine Savior, Sister Georgene Faust, SDS and Sister Leticia Regala, SDS who reside on East Elm Street in Phoenix, one block away from Xavier College Preparatory.  The Sisters of the Divine Savior have lived in this home in the City of Phoenix for the past 35 years. Sister Georgene teaches adults at Rio Salado College, and Sister Leticia volunteers in prison ministry in the Diocese of Phoenix.  These two Sisters are just delightful!

Sister Georgene Faust, SDS

Sister Georgene Faust, SDS

Sister Leticia Regala, SDS

Sister Leticia Regala, SDS

The Sisters of the Divine Savior (SDS) is one branch of the global Salvatorian family, which also includes priests and brothers and lay men and women. We work with one another to make Jesus, our Savior, known so that all may experience fullness of life. Learn more about our Salvatorian family here.

As a family, they share a common mission:

Salvatorians are called and sent in mission to proclaim the Gospel message to all people, everywhere and at all times, and to do this through whatever ways and means the love of Christ inspires.

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More exciting news for me to share is that next month, we will be receiving 4 new Carmelite Missionaries of St. Therese of the Child Jesus from Puebla, Mexico.  Three of these will be entering the Novitiate here in the Diocese of Phoenix soon.  They will be part of the community at St. Daniel’s Parish Convent in Scottsdale.

As we celebrate the coming of new Sisters, we will also be welcoming two new Franciscan Brothers, Brother Scott and Brother Sam who are assigned to St. Mary’s Basilica in central Phoenix.   Brother Scott is the Vocations Director for the Franciscan Friars.  This gives us such hope and joy during this Year of Consecrated Life as we give thanks to God for our vocations and all the blessings received!

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

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