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.

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

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

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Bishop Nevares blesses all the candles before the procession.

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Cathedral completely dark

Altar in the dark Cathedral

Candlelit procession

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

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

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Receiving Holy Communion

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

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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.

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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.

 

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

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

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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.

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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:

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

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

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Sr. Viviana with Madre Marina

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

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Sr. Sarah Cieplinski, SNDdN

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

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

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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!

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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!”
JOSEPHINE BAKHITA

Josephine-Bakhia
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¡Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año y Felicidad! I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!

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Roman Nativity Scene

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, I want to wish all of you a blessed Christmas Season and New Year, may your hearts be filled with joy, peace and love!    This time of year is one in which the light of Christ illumines brightly giving us wisdom.

St. Thomas Aquinas speaks eloquently of wisdom:

“Among all human pursuits, the pursuit of wisdom is more perfect, more noble, more useful, and more full of joy.

It is more perfect because, in so far as a person gives himself to the pursuit of wisdom, so far does he even now have some share in true beatitude.  And so a wise man has said, Blessed is the man that shall continue in wisdom (Sir 14:20).

It is more noble because through this pursuit man especially approaches to a likeness to God who made all things in wisdom (Ps 104:24).  And since likeness is the cause of love, the pursuit of wisdom especially joins man to God in friendship.  This why it is said of wisdom that she is an infinite treasure to people which they that use become the friends of God (Wis 7:14).

It is more useful because through wisdom we arrive at the Kingdom of immortality.  For the desire of wisdom bringeth to the everlasting kingdom (Wis 6:21).

It is more full of joy because her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness (Wis 8:16).

And so, in the name of the divine mercy, I have the confidence to embark upon the work of a wise man, even though this may surpass my powers, and I have set myself the task of making known, as far as my limited powers will allow, the truth that the Catholic faith professes, and of setting aside the errors that are opposed to it.  To use the words of Hilary:  “I am aware that I owe this to God as the chief duty of life, that my every word and sense may speak of him.”

~St. Thomas Aquinas (+ 1274) was a Dominican Priest from Italy.  He remains one of the Church’s premier Doctors.

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The Gift of a Diocesan Hermit:  a Life Dedicated to Growing in Wisdom and Grace

Saturday, December 1, 2018, on the Feast of Blessed Charles de Foucauld – Fr. Eugene Florea, a Diocesan Priest of Phoenix, was Consecrated as the first Diocesan Hermit, and he made First Profession of Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, committing himself to a Carmelite Rule of life.  He received a modified Carmelite habit and a religious name:  Fr. Eugene Mary of the Trinity.

Here are some photos from his Consecration at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix.

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Fr. Eugene Mary of the Trinity (left), Bishop Thomas Olmsted (center), Dcn. Doug Bogart (right).

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Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Fr. Eugene Mary of the Trinity!

Let us rejoice as we celebrate the Incarnation, God the Father’s gift to us in His Son!  Merry Christmas!    God bless you.

With prayers, I am

Your Sister in Christ,

 

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

Be a Saint, a light that shines at midnight. Sea un Santo, una luz que brilla en la medianoche.

 

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The Apostle Saint Andrew by El Greco (Spain, 1541)

Dear Friends in Christ,

God bless you, and happy Feast Day of St. Andrew, Patron Saint for Vocations since he introduced many, including his brother, Peter, to follow Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Humbly being transparent in his discipleship and service to Jesus, St. Andrew is a great model for us to bring others to Jesus Christ, to know Him, love Him and be loved by Him.

On Sunday, October 28, the Feast of Ss. Simon and Jude, we had a vibrant 4th Annual Vocations Celebration Fair at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Phoenix with Religious Sisters and many families.   The Sisters and Fathers of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity (SOLT) helped  host this life-giving gathering of children, families and Religious Sisters to celebrate Vocations.  Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted was the main celebrant of the 10:00 a.m. Mass, and he preached on the gift of being called to become holy.  God has a plan for each of us to become a Saint.  The children were invited to come to the Fair dressed up as a Saint with the awareness that God is calling each of them to become a Saint.  How important it is for each son and daughter of God to ask , “How is it that You, Lord, are calling me to become a Saint?  What is Your plan for me, Lord, to live a holy life?  What is my vocation?”

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Bishop Thomas Olmsted with St. Padre Pio and his family.

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Look who came? St. Padre Pio with the stigmata!

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Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted with Fr. Dale Craig, SOLT, Pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Phoenix.

 

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A magic show by Fr. Jim Blantz, CSC captivated the audience, especially Robert.

 

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Fr. Jim Blantz, CSC, a Holy Cross Father, gave a magic show to remember forever!

 

 

 

 

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A great conversation with Sister Mary Angela Alexander, RSM, Director of CCHD/CRS in Phoenix.

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Sweet Salvatorians Sisters Georgene Faust and Leticia Regala, SDS, visit with Bishop Olmsted.

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Lovers of the Holy Cross of Saigon in Vietnam cannot hide their enthusiasm with Bishop!

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The Missionaries of Charity, founded by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, were there smiling!

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Let’s hear it for the Daughters of Charity from St. Vincent de Paul Parish and School in Phoenix!

And the winners of the prized baskets were…

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Zoe Faustina Zuk, dressed up as St. Gianna Molla, won a basket.  Her mom, Kelly Zuk, is expected to have a baby very soon on Christmas Day!  Thanks be to God!

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Fr. Fernando Camou presents a big reward to a very happy and grateful Saint Anthony of Padua.

Congratulations!

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A great time was had by all, and there will be more to come.  Don’t miss out on next year’s Vocation Celebration Fair.  Come and join the family at St. Andrew’s in Chandler!

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A double rainbow brightens a rainy day in Phoenix, Arizona, the Valley of the Sun!

Remember the Fidelity of Jesus:  Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Family.  This is the theme of the 50th Anniversary of the Diocese of Phoenix which we are celebrating this year up to the date of the Anniversary of the Diocese, December 2, 2019.   The rainbow is a sign of God’s Covenant with His People, and He will be faithful forever.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Creator and Redeemer is always faithful – yesterday, today and forever.  As we begin the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Diocese this Sunday, December 2, let us have deep gratitude and joy for God’s love and fidelity to us.   His Mercy endures forever.  Let us always be faithful as we are led by Our Father in Heaven to be holy.

God bless you.

With prayers, I am

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons to Celebrate this new Season! ¡Razones para celebrar esta nueva estación!

Dear Friends in Christ,

Let us thank God for the many reasons to celebrate in this new autumn season of 2018! As we continue to pray for our beloved Church, let us celebrate the Canonization of Ss. Pope Paul VI and Oscar Romero who were canonized in Rome on Sunday, October 14.  Here is a link to Pope Francis’ homily from the Canonization Mass of these shining lights:

https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-canonization-of-paul-vi-oscar-romero-5-other-blesseds/

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Just recently in this month of October, we had wonderful news of new assignments for Religious communities here in the Diocese of Phoenix:

  • The Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate from New York (Sr. Mary Eileen Jewell, PVMI and Sr. Margery Therese Harkin, PVMI) are now serving in adult faith formation, catechesis and evangelization at Our Lady of Joy Parish in Carefree, AZ.
  • The School Sisters of Notre Dame (Sr. Patricia Gehling, SSND and Sr. Ann Marley, SSND) are serving in the Parish Office of Christ the King Parish in Mesa, AZ.
  • The Eucharistic Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Los Angeles are establishing a new foundation and convent at Immaculate Conception Parish in Cottonwood, serving as bilingual Religious educators at Immaculate Conception Parish in Cottonwood, AZ and Saint John Vianney Parish in Sedona, AZ.  They are a great blessing for us!

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Grand Opening and Dedication of St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Avondale

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On August 21, we had the grand opening and dedication of St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Avondale.  The first day was on August 13 with Freshman and Sophomore Classes.  Sister Mary Jordan Hoover, OP is the principal accompanied by 3 of her Sisters,  serving as the leadership of this wonderful school which is forming our children well.

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Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted addresses a large crowd which overflowed.

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Front:  Bishop Eduardo Nevares left of Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, OP.  Behind: Superintendent of Schools, Harry Plummer with Deacon Doug Bogart. Third row: Dr. Maria Chavira, Chancellor of the Diocese, and Fr. Fred Adamson, V.G.

There were many people who came to be part of this grand opening and dedication.

 

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Father Fernando Camou, the new high school chaplain.

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Sister Mary Gertrude Blankenhagen, OP

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Bishop Thomas Olmsted blesses the new school building with holy water.

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Thank you, Bishop Olmsted and all who were involved in making this dream a reality!

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Have you ever been to the St. Joseph Shrine in Yarnell, AZ?   Why not go sometime? The Stations of the Cross are the highlight.

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The weekend of September 7-9, we celebrated the 85th Anniversary of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Arizona, beginning in Tucson and thriving in Phoenix, AZ.  On Friday evening, I joined the celebration at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale, AZ.  Sister Mary Elizabeth Lawrence, SC was playing the steel drums. Hearing her play reminded me of the music of the Caribbean Islands.

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Representation of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill from Greensburg, PA.

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Recently, I made a trip to Our Lady of the Rosary Dominican Convent in San Jose, CA.  They have beautiful stained glass windows in their chapel of Dominican Saints as well as a small shrine to Mary, Mother of God, Mater Dei.  The roses there are breathtaking!

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Ss. Agnes of Montepulciano and Margaret of Hungary, pray for us.

 

With prayers, I am

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

La Vida Consagrada: Esposada a Cristo…Seeking the Face of God

 

 

Did you know that two years ago on June 29, 2016, Pope Francis wrote an Apostolic Constitution on Women’s Contemplative Life, Vultum Dei Quaerere?  Prepárate…

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Pope Francis with Las Servidoras del Señor y de la Virgen de Matará

“Consecrated persons, by virtue of their consecration, ‘follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way’.  They are called to recognize the signs of God’s presence in daily life and wisely to discern the questions posed to us by God and the men and women of our time.  The great challenge faced by consecrated persons is to persevere in seeking God “with the eyes of faith in a world which ignores his presence”, and to continue to offer that world Christ’s life of chastity, poverty and obedience as a credible and trustworthy sign, thus becoming “a living ‘exegesis’ of God’s word”.  ~Pope Francis

(Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere on Women’s Contemplative Life, #2)

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost this Sunday, let us rejoice that the Lord has chosen us to follow Him and be configured to His Son, Jesus Christ.  May the Holy Spirit touch all our hearts, purifying us and sanctifying us to become holy.  Holy Spirit, come into our hearts and minds, inflame in us the fire of Your Love.

Holy Spirit with Gifts

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, the West Valley Serra Club hosted a beautiful Religious Appreciation Dinner at the Diocesan Pastoral Center where we honored 22 Sisters celebrating Jubilee Anniversaries from 25 years up to 75 years of Religious Life!

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Front left to front right:  Sr. Gabby Marry, IBVM (60 years), Sr. Sandra DeMann, FSPA (50 years), Sr. Cecilia Warner, SSND (50 years), Sr. Kathleen Janiak, RSM (60 years), Sr. Lillian Lila, BVM (70 years), Sr. Ann Marley, SSND (60 years).  Wow!  2nd row left to right:  Sr. Betty Banja, SHS (25 years), Sr. Mary Brigid Burnham, OP (25 years), Sr. Mary Gertrude Blankenhagan, OP (25 years), Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, OP (25 years), Sr. Mary Lynn Heiser, SSND (60 years), Sr. Elizabeth Carey, IBVM (70 years), Sr. Georgene Faust, SDS (75 years).  Back, left to right:  Sr. Margaret McBride, RSM (50 years), Sr. Maria Olivia Pacheco, SNDdeN (45 years), Sr. Linda Campbell, OSB (50 years).  What a blessing you all are for the Diocese!

We had a such a lovely time together with the Serrans, our dear, supportive friends!

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Sr. Georgene Faust, SDS (right) celebrates 75 years of Consecrated Life!

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Sr. Gabrielle Marry, IBVM celebrates 60 years of Consecrated Life!

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Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, OP, Sr. Mary Brigid Burnham, OP and Sr. Mary Gertrude Blankenhagan, OP are classmates, celebrating 25 years since they professed their First Vows.  Congratulations, Sisters!

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Sr. Betty Banja, SHS (left) with Sr. Sophie, her former Postulant mistress.

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Bishop Eduardo Nevares (right) in conversation with Josefina Camou, mother of Fr. Fernando Camou of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale, AZ.

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Sr. Raphael Quinn, IBVM smiles with delight as she enjoys the evening.

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Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, Sr. Mary Beata and Sr. Margery.

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Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa from Kerala, India, left to right:  Sr. Nidhi, Sr. Sheena & Sr. Tessy, who teach at St. Mary-Basha School in Chandler.

 

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Thursday, May 10Sr. Rita, SHS and Sr. Rael, SHS, two Council members of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus came for visitation from war-torn South Sudan.  They were welcomed by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Fr. Robert Aliunzi and myself.

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Left to right:  Sr. Sophie Lado, SHS (local superior), Fr. Robert Aliunzi, A.J., Sr. Betty Banja, SHS, Sr. Rael, SHS and Sr. Rita, SHS.

On Saturday, May 12, there was a special Silver Jubilee Mass at St. James Parish in Glendale for the celebration of Sr. Betty Banja’s 25 Anniversary of Religious Vows and Fr. Benedict’s 25th Anniversary of Priesthood.  Bishop Nevares celebrated the Mass, and there were many present for the great celebration Mass and reception.  Sr. Betty Banja renewed her vows, Fr. Benedict shared his vocation story and Bishop Olmsted was present for the dinner celebration after Mass.  It was glorious!

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Sr. Betty with BEN and Fr. Ben

Fr. Benedict, AJ, Sister Betty Banja,SHS and Bishop Eduardo Nevares.

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Left to right:  Fr. Benedict, AJ, Sr. Rael, Sr. Betty, Sr. Rita, and Bishop Nevares.

What beautiful celebrations we had to celebrate Consecrated Life here in Phoenix!

With prayers, I am

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

 

¡Feliz Día de las Madres! Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Ora Por Nosotros…

Dear Friends in Christ,

Happy Mothers Day!  As we celebrate motherhood and the Blessed Virgin Mary, we love the tradition of crowning the Queen of Heaven and showering her with roses.  This Mothers’ Day coincides with the Solemnity of Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  As our Mother, she intercedes for our sanctity and salvation.  Let us approach her with trust and confidence, consoled by her Immaculate Heart.

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International Statue of Our Lady of Fatima at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Tempe.

Since Easter Sunday, God has blessed me abundantly as a spiritual mother.

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Sophia Maria Davis, daughter of Carrie Davis, admires the Mercy Cross.

On April 2nd, I made a special trip to the Diocese of Gallup, NM to give a retreat to the Sisters of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Joseph (Las Hermanas de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y San José) to help them prepare for their first official General Chapter of Elections and Chapter of Affairs.  The Holy Spirit directed all the conferences, prayers and proceedings.  It was a truly blessed time.  God’s magnificent love embraced me in every sunrise and sunset of each day.  The beauty and the precious experience I had with the Sisters will always be cherished.  What touched me most was that all 9 Sisters called me their madrina or Godmother.

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Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup with Las Hermanas de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y San José & Sr. René Backe, CSA (right).

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We enjoyed our meals together each day of the 5-day retreat.

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We prayed morning and evening prayers (Liturgy of the Hours) together with Eucharistic Adoration during the evening Holy Hour.

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Perpetual Adoration Chapel of Las Hermanas at Casa Reina Convent.

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Front of Casa Reina, the new Convent of Las Hermanas.

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Three parakeets greeted me as I entered the Convent, Casa Reina.

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The sunset over Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Gallup, NM.

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Mini, a very affectionate cat, became my friend.

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The Hermitage at Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Gallup.

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Saint Clare Hogan

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Main Chapel of Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Gallup, NM.

Meal with Bishop Wall

It was a time of blessings and communion with Las Hermanas.

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

 

Blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter!

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Triptych with the Crucifixion by Cornelis Engebrechtsz (1520) currently located at the National Gallery in Prague

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Blessed Holy Week!  From March 9-11, we had the Spring Convocation for Religious at the Franciscan Renewal Center with the theme of “Mercy, Forgiveness and Healing” featuring Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS and Sr. Esther Mary Nickel, RSM as speakers.  It was a blessed time of prayer and retreat as we had Eucharistic Adoration throughout the weekend coinciding with Pope Francis’ call for “24 Hours for the Lord” of continuous Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Confession.  It was a prayerful weekend with the blessing of Mass with Bishop Olmsted accompanied by Deacons and wives who were on a formation retreat that weekend.  The group of Sisters that attended took this opportunity to make a spiritual retreat.

Spring Convocation 2018

Communities in this photo:  Sisters of Loreto, Sisters of the Divine Savior, Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa, Missionary Carmelites of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Lovers of the Holy Cross of Saigon,  Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Servants of the Plan of God, Congregation of St. Agnes, and Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, MI.

What a great group we had!  Others included, the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, the Consolata Missionaries, the Daughters of Charity and Sr. John Mary, ESEH.

Both talks were marvelous!  Sister Esther Mary gave a wonderful talk from a Sacramental theological perspective on mercy, forgiveness and healing of Penance.  Father Ignatius spoke about the process of forgiveness which is the beginning of the process of the healing of the heart.

Here are the complete notes from his talk for us:

Copy of Fr. Ignatius’ Talk

We had wonderful weather throughout the weekend, and it even rained!

 

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Sr. Anthony Mary Diago (left) and Sr. Esther Mary Nickel (right).

 

 

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The Franciscan Renewal Center, affectionately known as “The Casa” is a very nice place to make a retreat.  A new church, Our Lady, Queen of Angels, was built there with beautiful stained glass windows, made in Germany:

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Our Lady, Queen of Angels

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Creation

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The Word became flesh in MARY and dwelt amongst us.

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Christ is the light of the world.

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There is a new Sister who came to the Convocation who I would like you to meet: Sister Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad a novice of the Missionary Carmelites of St. Therese of the Child Jesus from Puebla in Mexico.

On November 21, 2017, on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, I attended her entrance into the Novitiate at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which she was invested in the Carmelite habit of her Religious Community at St. Daniel the Prophet Parish in Scottsdale.  Bishop Olmsted, Fr. McGuire, the Pastor, Fr. Loeffler and Fr. Fita were present to witness the investiture of Sr. Isabel by her Mother General.

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Sr. Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad Hernandez with her Mother General, Madre Virginia.

Sister Isabel shares her reflection of this wonderful experience with you:

“I am very grateful with God and St Therese of the Child Jesus because by her intercession she has helped me to recognize my vocation and pursue religious life. God has granted me many blessings one of them was getting the opportunity to know the sisters. I met the sisters at Saint Anne’s Parish in Gilbert, AZ in 2012, it was through them that I began to wonder what it was like to live like them. Who knew that God had already chosen me to follow Him? In December of 2016, I had the opportunity to go to Puebla, MX for an experience. Seeing so many young sisters willing to give their life to God, affirmed my willingness to be part of this religious life. I received the habit in the congregation of Carmelite Missionaries St Therese of the Child Jesus on November 21st   of 2017. The memorable mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and Rev. McGuire, Rev. Loeffler, Rev. Lorig, and Rev. Sergio as the co-celebrants. It was very exciting as well as nerve-wracking because I was taking a much bigger step. There were a lot of things that were scaring me because I was taking a decision that would change my life. Interiorly, I was afraid of what my family members and friends would think, but once I was in mass, seeing Jesus on the cross I realized that if Jesus had died for me. Why not me give my life to him?

I have been a novice for two months already and I can assure that it has not always been easy living in the community with the sisters, but I can say that it has been worth everything. I am glad that God placed in me the curiosity of wanting to know more of how the Religious Life was like. Even though at the beginning I was not sure I was called to be a Religious Sister, with the help of God through the Scriptures I was able to discern the will of God. I recognize that I still have a long way to walk in this pilgrimage, I wish to continue following Jesus and help others find happiness like I did.”

Sister Maria Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad Hernandez Guardado, MCSTNJ

~~~~~~~~~~Translation in Spanish~~~~~~~~Traducción en Español~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Estoy muy agradecida con Dios quien por gracia me ha llamado y Sta. Teresa del Niño Jesús, porque por su intercesión me han ayudado a reconocer mi vocación y seguir al Señor en la vida religiosa. Dios me ha concedido muchas bendiciones a lo largo de mi vida una de ellas fue el tener la oportunidad de conocer a las hermanas.

Conocí a las hermanas  Misioneras Carmelita de Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús en la parroquia de Santa Ana en Gilbert, AZ el 2012, fue a través de ellas que me empecé a preguntar qué era vivir como ellas. ¿Quién se imaginaba que Dios ya me había elegido para seguirle? En diciembre de 2016, tuve la oportunidad de ir a Puebla, Mex., para hacer una experiencia y conocerlas mejor. El ver tantas hermanas jóvenes dispuestas a dar su vida a Dios, afirmó mi vocación y el deseo de abrazar la vida religiosa. Regrese a la Diócesis de Phoenix para continuar mi vocación, recibi el Hábito en la Congregación de Misioneras Carmelita de Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús el 21 de noviembre de 2017.

La memorable Misa fue celebrada por el Obispo Thomas J. Olmstead y concelebrantes los Reverendos Padres McGuire, Loeffler, Lorig y Sergio Fita. La misa fue muy emocionante y estresante a la vez, porque estaba dando un paso más. Había muchas cosas que me estaban asustando porque estaba tomando una decisión que sabia que iba a cambiar mi vida. Interiormente, tenía miedo de lo que podrían pensar mis familiares y amigos. Pero una vez estando en la  Misa y viendo a Jesús en la cruz. Me pregunté ¿Por qué no me darle mi vida a él?

Ahora llevo ya dos meses de novicia, y puedo asegurar que no siempre ha sido fácil vivir en la comunidad con las hermanas, pero puedo decir también que ha valido la pena. Me alegro de que Dios haya puesto en mí la curiosidad de querer saber más de cómo es la vida religiosa. Aunque al principio no estaba segura de que estaba llamada a ser una hermana religiosa, con la ayuda de Dios, a través de las escrituras puedo ir descubriendo la voluntad de Dios cada día. Reconozco que todavía tengo un largo camino que recorrer en esta peregrinación, deseo continuar siguiendo a Jesús y ayudar a otros a encontrar la felicidad al igual que yo lo voy logrando continuamente.

Hermana Maria Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad Hernandez Guardado, MCSTNJ

Thank you, Sr. Isabel.  It is a special gift that you shared your entrance into Novitiate.  Muchas gracias, Hermana Isabel.  Que Dios la bendiga.  God bless you.

 

 

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As we take time to listen to the Lord in His Passion and suffering this Holy Triduum, let us rejoice in His victory over death for our salvation and citizenship in Heaven!

 

Blessed Holy Triduum and Happy Easter!

With prayers, I am

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM

Director of the Office of Consecrated Life

Diocese of Phoenix