by Sister Mary Grace
To celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we were joined by members of three religious congregations from the Brooklyn Diocese – the Franciscan Brothers, the Marianist Brothers and priests and the Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor – for a special holy hour and Evening Prayer followed by supper together in the auditorium. Resident Fr. Dominic Pappa, a Passionist priest, also joined us for the evening. The holy hour began with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Time for silent prayer was followed by Evening Prayer, which we sang together. The reading was from chapter 15 of the Gospel of St. John, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” Marianist priest, Fr. Thomas Cardone, gave a memorable homily in which he posed the question, “Who are you?” to which we replied in unison, “I am a branch!” As branches, Fr. Tom reminded us that we as religious can do nothing without the Lord. We are branches of the living God who, in order to bear fruit, must allow the graces of our religious profession to flow through us to touch the world and others. We are all called by our Baptism to be witnesses, to seek and encounter Jesus and proclaim what we have found. As religious we should be experts in communion with God and one another, a fruit of a close, intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The holy hour ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
We then proceeded to the auditorium for dinner, finding our seats through an icebreaker in which each person was given a slip of paper with someone from the Bible or another biblical category and we had to find all of the members of our group … for example Judah had to find the rest of Joseph’s brothers; Joel had to find the rest of the prophets; “King of Kings” had to find “Lord of Lords” and other titles of Jesus.
At the end of the evening we left feeling renewed in spirit with the promise to keep each other in prayer.