We all Have One

10-22-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Nun-sense, nun-vasion, nun-the-less, is coming next weekend as we host the Annual Diocesan Vocations Event. Yes, expect an invasion of nuns, sisters, consecrated women as they are variously called. It all begins at the 9:00am. Mass where Bishop will be the Celebrant. This is also a “your parents are coming to visit so straighten up the house” kind of letter! In addition to welcoming our Bishop, we will welcome religious communities of women (a few men’s communities, too) of every flavor that serve here in our Diocese. Our goal is to expose as many young people as possible to the work of the religious in our Diocese and have them consider if it is a way of life they are being called to. For the rest of us who already have our vocations set, it is a time to pray for vocations to the religious life and to thank those who serve us here in the Diocese.

It’s also time for us to celebrate as a Parish the one year anniversary of Mt. Carmel being “back in the Habit” with the arrival of the first four Servants of the Plan of God: Sisters Veronica, Maria Jose, Maria Cristina and Maria Alejandra (Sr. Stephanie arrived a few months later; they saved the best for last). How time flies when you are having nun fun! Personally, I am deeply grateful for their presence and the joy that they bring to us each and every day. This is also a time for us to express our thanks to God for allowing our Parish to be part of the Plan of God in a new way. Still, wherever I go, people continue to ask me, “How did you get these Sisters?” The answer is simple -  art of the deal; I made them an offer they couldn't refuse! Not really. I truly believe it was Our Lady who showered this blessing upon our Parish.

Now if you haven’t had enough nun-sense, the invasion will continue. In the beginning of November, we will welcome two novice Sisters of the Servants who will be spending a few months learning and experiencing mission and Convent life with the other five. So prepare to welcome Sr. Maria Garcia and Sr. Alejandra (yes, another Alejandra! -  she will be Little (menor) Alejandra, and Sr. Maria Alejandra will be Big (mayor) Alejandra, less confusion!). Both of the novices are natives of Lima.

I’m not done yet. We will be honored once again to welcome Sr. Carmen, the Superior General of the Servants of the Plan of God worldwide from Nov. 2 until Nov. 10. So, too, the Sisters will also have to straighten up the house, as Mother Superior is coming! Please when you see her, make sure to thank her for sending the 5 Servants to our Parish and trusting us to help them begin their first U.S. foundation. Sr. Carmen gets many requests from Bishops throughout the world for her Sisters, which makes it all the more important to thank her for letting us establish Servants of God-North America, as I like to call them.

I say the first Convent in North America because I believe it is the Plan of God that the Servants open up many more convents in the U.S. Hence, the need for a Vocations Fair. Make sure to bring your children, even the little ones, as that is where the seeds of a vocation get planted. Please invite all the young single women you know, and challenge them to consider a life of service as a disciple in mission, a consecrated person. Just as when the apostle Andrew asked Jesus, “Rabbi, where do you stay?” and Jesus responded, “Come and see,” this event is so that young people can come and see what the life of a religious is actually like. And what they will see is women religious who serve the Church in varied ways with their unique charisms: parishes, schools, health care, hospitals, nursing homes, social services, evangelization, colleges and universities, retreat houses, and sisters who live cloistered monastic vocations.

I recall, years ago, bemoaning the lack of religious sisters in our schools, parishes, hospitals and other Catholic institutions. After all, the history of the Church in the U.S. amply demonstrates that while the priests and Bishops usually mucked things up, it was the women religious who really got things moving -  think of Mother Cabrini, Mother Katherine Drexel, or Mother Angelica, to name a few. Someone once said to me, “Why don’t you pray for more Sisters?”  So I did. And as you can see, God has been very generous in His response!

So please join us next weekend for the invasion of the nuns! Come experience our “Nun Raiser” (it's a People Raiser in a habit). Pray for vocations and thank the religious who will join us next weekend.

“O God, we earnestly beseech Thee to bless this Diocese with many priests, brothers and sisters who will love Thee with their whole strength and gladly spend their entire lives to serve Thy Church and to make Thee known and loved. Choose from our homes those who are intended for Thy work.”

“Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for us. Pray for our priests and religious. Obtain for us many more.”

Love,

Fr. John B.

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