Sharing the graces of the Candlemas: Praying Together on the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life!

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This past Monday, February 1, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, the Religious Sisters, Brothers, Priests, Consecrated Virgins and an IVE Deacon gathered to pray together for the Candlemas on the Vigil of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 25th Anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life at Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix. It was such a joyous reunion after an entire year on not gathering together in this way! The weather and all aspects of the evening were ideal as we were open to God taking charge to provide for us. There were many blessings during this evening from the encounters among the Consecrated Men & Women. Participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was one of prayerful union.

I would like to share the many graces that we experienced during this beautiful and inspiring Liturgy. This blog post will feature the meaningful photos taken by Billy Hardiman, a young and very gifted photographer:

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Religious Sisters, Brothers, Priests and a Deacon gathered at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral for the Candlemas on February 1.
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Sr. Mary of Holy Hope, SOLT, Sr. Mary Joy of Our Father with a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
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Consecrated Virgin from Mexico, Claudia Edith Lopez Medina, with her friend, Vivian, who she met on her way to the Candlemas.
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Sr. Mary Dominic, OP, Sr. Rose, OP and a Missionary of Charity.
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Sr. Nicoline, MC, local superior of the Missionaries of Charity founded by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
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Sr. Maria Rose Metzger, OP (center) speaking to Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM. Sr. Mary David Klocek, OP (right).
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Sr. Maria Jerome, OP in conversation with Sr. Mary Joy of Our Father, SOLT and Sr. Mary of Holy Hope, SOLT.
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Sr. Ana Maria Bibiano de la Cruz, MMSCJ, serves at St. Mary’s Parish in Chandler, AZ.
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Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, also having a wonderful time getting to know new faces, Sisters recently assigned here.
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Sr. Mary Angela Alexander, RSM, Director of the Office of Catholic Social Teaching of the Diocese of Phoenix.
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Sr. Jacinta Claire Guzman Lopez, MC serves at Our Lady of Fatima Mission Church in Phoenix.
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Br. Xavier Koslowski, FHS, Seminarian Mason Thorman and Br. Lawrence Hogue, FHS processing to serve at the Mass.
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Fr. Fabio Schilereff , IVE (left) and Fr. Emmanuel Galvez, IVE. These are Priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in the same religious family with the Servidoras del Señor y la Virgen de Matará.
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Fr. Antony Tinker, the Guardian of the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit, reaches for a candle for the procession.
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Sr. Riccardina Silvestri, MC (left), Sr. Maria Cristina (right), Sr. May (center) approaching for a candle.
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Altar Servers and Priests waiting for the Bishop to arrive: Fr. Peter Teresa McConnel, Fr. Antony Tinker, FHS on the far right.
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Sr. May, SPD (left) and Sr. Monica, SPD (right) of the Servants of the Plan of God serving at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Tempe.
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Fr. Paul Sullivan, Rector of the Nazareth House Seminary, Vocation Director and Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in South Phoenix.
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Monse (short for “Monserrat”) with the Servants of the Plan of God encounters Sr. Nicoline, MC.
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Madre Maria Ancilla Humilis, SSVM just arrived as the new superior, and she moved from Papua New Guinea! Welcome!
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Sr. Bernadette de la Santa Faz, EFMS of Los Angeles, CA. She serves at Immaculate Conception Parish in Cottonwood, AZ.
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Sr. Maria Magdalena Santoyo, EFMS of Los Angeles who serves at St. John Vianney Parish in Sedona, AZ.
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Deacon Gonzalo Arboleda, IVE (left) is adjusting the mic as he will proclaim the Gospel. Br. Basil Kersting, FHS assists him.
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Bishop Olmsted, our shepherd, prayerfully watches out for all the Religious Priests, Sisters, Brothers, Virgins and Seminarians.
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Bishop Olmsted and Father Fernando Camou, Vice-Rector of the Nazareth House Seminary and Associate Vocations Director.
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Sr. May Olan-Olan, SPD with eyes that are smiling.
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Deacon Tony Smith, Director of Liturgy for the Cathedral, is guiding Bishop Olmsted and all in the procession.
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Bishop Thomas Olmsted blessing the candles in the presence of the Religious Priests, Sisters, Brothers and Consecrated Virgins present.
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“May I have this for the Bishop?” ~ Deacon Tony Smith
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Following Fr. Fernando Camou is Fr. Brian Kennedy, CSC stationed at St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, AZ.
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Hna. Maria Bibiana Martinez Herrera, MMSCJ carefully keeps watch to keep her light aflame.
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Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist followed by the Sisters of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity.
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Servidoras del Señor y la Virgen de Matará
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Sr. Mary of Holy Hope Cheng, SOLT, a Sister of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity
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Las Misioneras de la Misericordia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus de Parral serving at St. Matthew’s Parish and School in Phoenix.
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Sr. Victoria Marie Edge, OP was the Lector for the First Reading.
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Sr. Monica Nobl Grau, SPD was the Lector for the Second Reading in Spanish.
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Sr. Mary of Holy Hope, SOLT, an accomplished harpist and organist, played the organ beautifully for the Mass.
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Deacon Gonzalo Arboleda, IVE reverences the altar to proclaim the Gospel.
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Bishop Olmsted gave a wonderful homily in honor of this day celebrating Consecrated Life.

Here is Bishop Olmsted’s homily:

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Sr. Joan Fitzgerald, BVM, Principal of Xavier College Preparatory School in Phoenix.
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Sr. Mary Lillian Lila, BVM
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Kimberly Zeeman, a Diocesan Consecrated Virgin Living in the World at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale, AZ.
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Consecrated Men and Women stand to renew their Profession of Vows.
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Bishop Olmsted gives us his blessing as he processes out at the end of the Candlemas.
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Bishop Olmsted, the Priests and altar servers pray together after Mass.
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Bishop Olmsted with members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, IVE.
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Claudia Edith came to give Kimberly Zeeman a special gift of a wooden cross and Rosary with its hand-carved case.
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A BIG “Thank You!” to Christopher Lukaszewski, a Seminarian and altar server, who humbly served until the very end.

We give thanks to God for the abundant blessings during this special Candlemas and gathering among us. God’s grace continues to strengthen us during this time in which we have great gratitude and joy! We thank the Lord for each and every Consecrated man and woman, and with gratitude pray for them with great hope.

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, Director of the Office of Consecrated Life of the Diocese of Phoenix

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