October 11th and 12th were days of blessings as we celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the canonization of St. Jeanne Jugan and the opening of the Year of Faith. On the 11th, Glenn Mohr and two members of his chorale joined us to lead the music at Mass. For the communion meditation they sang “The Hidden Heart,” a song that beautifully expresses the spirit of our Mother Foundress. The soaring music especially helped the Residents to thank God for the life of St. Jeanne Jugan. As it was also the first day of the Year of Faith, following Mass we went to the tribune to present the infirm Residents with new Bibles. The Bibles are in extra-large print and a special card with the Resident’s name and a verse from scripture was attached to the inside page. Many of the Residents were touched by this gift of God’s Word. Several remarked that even if they can no longer read as they did before, just to have the Bible with them in their room meant a lot. Monsignor Ryan, an elderly priest Resident, said that when he had moved to the Home last year from his rectory, his Bible had gotten left behind. He had tears in his eyes as he received the new Bible. He is a faithful priest, known as the “Curee of Ars of the Brooklyn Diocese.” The Little Sister who presented him with the Bible told him that even though he is unable to read God’s Word as much as in the past, he is the Gospel-in-action through his patience and charity.
The following day, October 12th, we had the joy of beginning the Year of Faith with a festive Mass celebrated by recently ordained Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez and animated by the Little Sisters and novices of the novitiate. In his homily Bishop Sanchez humbly shared his experiences of the past few months since receiving his Episcopal appointment and how the grace of God had strengthened and sustained him in his peace. He expressed his hope that the Year of Faith be a rich time of grace for each of us present. Following Mass Bishop Sanchez took time to greet and give a blessing to the Little Sisters, Residents and guests. He is tall in stature and to bless the residents in wheelchairs he got down on one knee so that they could see one another “eye to eye.” In blessing the Resident priests he asked for their blessing in return. Later that afternoon we gathered in the chapel with the more valid Residents and apartment Residents for a simple Rosary followed by the presentation of their Bibles. It was again a time of joy to share the Word of God with the Residents. Many of the Residents began reading their Bibles right away! Among them was Howard, who has recently undergone cataract surgery after a long wait and various setbacks. He is thrilled that he can now read the Gospels. He asked a Little Sister for the daily Mass readings booklet used at Mass so that he can read the daily Gospel in advance. Blessed be God!