Communion among the Religious present at The Vigil Mass of the Presentation and World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

Candlelit procession

A Procession at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral to honor Consecrated Life, Religious Sisters, Brothers and Fathers.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Friday evening of February 1st, the Vigil of the Feast of the Presentation, Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares celebrated a Candlemas for the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life to honor the Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests of the Diocese of Phoenix.  Sixty-five Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests gathered with the lay faithful.  The Mass was very well attended with about 200 in the congregation that first gathered outdoors at the foot of the Cross in front of the Cathedral for the Blessing of the Candles.


Cross in front of the Cathedral

Bishop Eduardo Nevares, assisted by Deacon Tony Smith and the altar servers, blessed the candles that would be lit for the procession into the completely dark Cathedral.

Bishop blessing the candles

Bishop Eduardo Nevares (center), Deacon Tony Smith (right), Deacon Roy Drapeau (left)

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Sr. Cecilia and the Eucharistic Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Los Angeles

Candlemas 2019 – 3

Bishop Nevares blesses all the candles before the procession.

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Cathedral completely dark

Altar in the dark Cathedral

Candlelit procession


(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

WEB Candlemas 2019 – 9

Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit (front pew); Crosier Fathers and Brothers (next pew).

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Bishop Nevares delivers a beautiful homily with great enthusiasm about Religious Life.

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Sr. Monica, local superior of the Servants of the Plan of God (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Tempe).

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

The Servants of the Plan of God (Siervas del Plan de Dios) from Lima, Peru

WEB Candlemas 2019 – 19

Sr. Viviana Lopez (right), Sr. Elisa Monroy (center) and Sr. Juana, MCSTNJ (right).

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Sr. Mary Jordan, OP, Sr. Mary Brigid, OP, Sr. Mary Gertrude, OP and Sr. Regina Ann, OP, (Nashville Dominicans) the new leadership of St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Avondale.


Candlemas 2019 – 12

The Missionaries of Charity from Our Lady of Fatima Mission Parish in Phoenix offer the gifts.

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Receiving Holy Communion

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Bishop Nevares extends his blessing to all the Religious (who renewed their vows during Mass).

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Sr. Mary Claire of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity is clearly seen in her gray habit.

After the glorious Mass, we all gathered for a reception in newly renovated Smith Hall.

RSMs and SVs

Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Sr. Mary Angela (center left) and Sr. Mary Katerina (center right) with Sisters of Life, Sr. Mary Loreta, SV (left) and Sr. Bethany Madonna, SV (right).

Siervas del Plan de Dios

Siervas from Left to Right:  Sr. Monica, Sr. Ximena, Sr. Stephanie and Sr. May, SPD serving at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Tempe.


(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Sr. Margery, PVMI, Sr. Maria Olivia, SNDdN, Sr. Nancy, SNDdN, Sr. Dympna, IBVM and more.

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Bishop Nevares and Fr. Thomas Enneking, OSC, Provincial of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers.

(Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

FHS brothers and Bishop Nevares

Bishop Nevares with two Brothers of the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Tinker and the Wolds

Fr. Antony Tinker, FHS with East Valley Serrans, Alice and Charles “Chuck” Wold.

Sr. Bethany Madonna and Sr. Rose of Heaven

A visiting Sister of Life with Sr. Rose of Heaven, SSVM from St. Anthony’s Parish in Phoenix

Sr. Margery and Sr. Cabrini

Sr. Margery Therese, PVMI and Sr. Cabrini, DC are beaming with the love of Jesus.

Samantha D, Mary and Sr. Meg

Sr. Meg Walsh, SNDdN wiht Mary Woloschuk  and Samantha Deschane.

Sr. Colleen and Sr. Letty

Sr. Colleen Braun, CSA and Sr. Letty Regala, SDS.

Family from the Cathedral

Louis and his father with his older brothers, Nicholas and Theodore who are altar servers at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral.



All of us had a wonderful time celebrating Our Lord and Consecrated Life in Phoenix.


On January 11, 2019, Bishop Olmsted was the main celebrant for the Mass and First Profession of Vows of Sr. Viviana de la Inmaculada Lopez, Missionary Carmelite Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus from Puebla, Mexico.  The First Profession of Vows took place at Saint Daniel the Prophet Parish in Scottsdale, AZ, where the US Novitiate is located.  Here are pictures from this wonderful and joyous occasion:

Family with Bishop Olmsted

Bishop Olmted with Sr. Viviana Lopez (left) and her family (parents, 4 Sisters and 1 brother).

Bp Olmsted incensing the altar



Sr. Viviana de la Inmaculada Lopez makes her First Profession of Vows:

Sr. Viviana with microphone

Sr. Viviana with Madre Marina

Sr. Viviana with her Novice Mistress, Madre Marina Coatl, MCSTNJ.


Sr. Viviana's clothing

Sr. Viviana received a black veil showing that she is “Professed”.



Sr. Viviana with Madre Virginia

Sr. Viviana with her Mother General, Madre Virginia o Madre “Vicki”, MCSTNJ.

Group shot in front of the altar

Sr. Viviana with Bishop Olmsted, Madre Vicki (right), Madre Marina (left), Padre Sergio Fita (far right), Fr. Thaddeus McGuire (2nd row, 2nd from right), Father David Loeffler (behind Bishop Olmsted) and Deacon John Barelli (left).


Bishop Olmsted with Sister Viviana

What a joy it was for me attend this celebration of Sr. Viviana’s vocation and vowed life!  God bless you!  He rewards us a hundredfold!


On Sunday, January 20, 2019, in the evening, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur celebrated the Solemn Vows of Sr. Sarah Cieplinski, a vocation from Phoenix, while on a visit with her family.  The celebration took place at the Crosier’s Priory in South Phoenix. Sr. Sarah made her Final Profession of Vows at their Convent in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Sr. Sarah Cieplinski, SNDdN


Photo of Sr. Sarah Final Profession of Vows in St. Julie’s Chapel in Cincinnati, Ohio.



vowphoto-young and new sisters



Sr. Sarah’s Renewal of Vows here in Phoenix on January 20.


The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Phoenix – Sr. Sarah (center), Sr. Meg Walsh (left), Sr. Margaret Campbell (right), Sister Nancy W. (2nd from the left) and Sr. Carmen Silva (far left).

God bless you, Sr. Sarah and all the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur!  Thank you!


Happy Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman who was a slave, a trafficked woman and virgin who gained her freedom consecrating herself to Our Lord.  Her story inspires us all as we follow Christ with lamps lit giving great hope in this dark world.

“If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today… The Lord has loved me so much: we must love everyone… we must be compassionate!”

Feast Day: February 8
Canonized: October 1, 2000
Beatified: May 17, 1992
Venerated: December 1, 1978

In 1869, a little girl was born in Sudan in Africa. As a child she was kidnapped into slavery. This experience was so frightening that she could not even remember her name. So, her kidnappers named her Bakhita. The name Bakhita means “fortunate.”

An Italian official, Callisto Legnani, purchased Bakhita. For the first time since she had been kidnapped, she was treated with care, rather than being beaten. When the time came for the Italian consul to return to Italy, he brought Bakhita with him. Once there, Legnani left Bakhita with Augusto Michieli and his wife. When the Michieli’s daughter, Mimmina, was born, Bakhita became her caretaker and friend.

When the Michielis went to Suakin to run their large hotel, they left both Mimmina and Bakhita with the Canossian Sisters at a convent in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God. When the Michielis returned, Bakhita asked to remain at the convent with the Sisters. She became a Catholic and was given the name “Josephine.”

On December 8, 1896, Josephine Bakhita became a Sister at the convent and committed her life to God forever. For the next 50 years, she served the Schio convent community by cooking, sewing, and attending to the door. When she was on duty at the door, her friendly, sweet voice was pleasing to children, comforting to the poor, and encouraging to others.

As she grew older, Mother Bakhita suffered greatly in sickness. She died on February 8, 1947, at the Canossian convent in Schio, surrounded by the other Sisters. She was named a saint of the Church on October 1, 2000, by Pope John Paul II.


May this merciful virgin Saint teach us to forgive and be compassionate!

With prayers for you and your communities, I am

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

Diocese of Phoenix















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