April 9 marked a very special day for the Little Sisters of the Poor. A special Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church in Jamaica, NY to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Little Sisters in America. The Principal celebrant of the Mass was Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. This was most fitting in that it was the very first Bishop of Brooklyn, Bishop John Loughlin, who welcomed the Little Sisters to America in 1868.
The Mass was concelebrated by six Auxiliary Bishops from the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Presiding at the Mass were 45 clergy, and several seminarians and deacons. The religious procession into the Church was led by members of the Knights of Columbus and of the Order of Malta. The Mass was attending by Sisters, Residents and guests from all of our Residences in our Province, as well as numerous other religious communities from the greater New York City area. In addition, Mother Provincial Alice Marie Monica of the Brooklyn Province, Mother Provincial Marie Christine Joseph of Chicago and Mother Provincial Lorraine Marie Clare of Baltimore were also in attendance.
Assisting our numerous guests throughout the day were students from Kellenberg Memorial High School. Their ever – present smiles and positive and respectful demeanor added a special blessing to the day.
In his homily, Bishop DiMarzio spoke fondly of the mission of the Little Sisters of the Poor in their care for the elderly poor with dignity and respect, and by extension, their embrace of life at all stages. The Bishop reminded those present that in such care, the Little Sisters are serving Christ in the presence of those served.
After Mass there was a delightful reception held in the parish Hall of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, which was well attended. It was a wonderful time to gather, share fellowship and celebrate such a time in the storied history of the Little Sisters.