Tuesday, May 20, 2008

International Visitors

I apologize for being so tardy in posting a new blog. Our little community has added a new member, Sister Lupe. She arrived three 3 weeks ago. On the evening of her arrival, Sister M. Paul and I attended a Confirmation in St. Thomas Aquinas parish, under 10 minutes from here by car. I was asked to be a sponsor for a young man named Eduardo Michael, and Sister Paul sponsored a young lady named Kathy. One of the Toronto auxiliary Bishops, Bishop Greco presided at the Confirmation and confirmed 101 young people. Bishop Greco gave a very energetic and memorable homily. He stressed three points which he explained with colorful examples. The first point was the total emphasis on the fact that Confirmation and of course, grace, a free gifts from God. We do not "buy" them or earn them.
After the Mass, Sister and I each went to the celebrations of our confirmed young person. Michael's Mom had baked a lovely cross shaped cake and she had another cake for Michael's younger sister whose birthday was the same day. Michaels "abuelos" (grandmother and grandfather) came, and some other relatives and cousins. Somehow there was a whole dinner waiting for us when we arrived at the house.
One day along with Sister Marlyn I attended a seminar on "end of life" issues which was especially for health care givers and chaplains. Several people were pleased to purcahse my book "Tender Mercies, Prayers for Healing and Coping." The attendees often have to deal with people suffering from grief and other sorrows. I pray that all the folks who will read and pray with "Tender Mercies" will be strengthened and consoled.
The past month seemed to have been filled with extra meetings and preparations for various events. One of the"events" was the visit of two of our General Councilors who are from our Rome headquarters. Both of the Sisters were very thoughtful, enthusiastic and sisterly. One of them, Sister Samuela Gironi, served in Africa for the past 23 years. She was the superior of the Nairobi delegation which includes Tanzania, Zambia and Sudan. Yes, despite all the problems in parts of the Sudan, our Sisters from Nairobi opened a Catholic book centre in one of the southern dioceses of that huge Afrian nation. Four Sisters are there. If I remember correctly they are from four nations, one African, another Maltese, another Indian, and an Italian. When our Sisters visit from the Generalate they also connect us more with our sisters all over the world.
Tomorrow our Superior General, Sister Antonieta Bruscato, will arrive for her once-every-six-year visit. Another councilor, Sister Inocencia Tormon, will be with her. Sister Antonieta is a Brazilian of Italian descent. Her term is for six years at a time. During her term she is to get to see every Sister of our cognregation which numbers about 2,500 Sisters scattered in 53 nations. When I lived in Rome four years ago, I stayed at the Generalate where Sr. Antonieta, her six councilors, their secretary and bursar all live. It was good to get to know the major Superior and to see her more often. I look forward to her visit. I will let you know more in my next blog.
In the next blog, I will say something about another event I and Sister Hosea are preparing for: The Annual Catholic Communicators' Convocation to be held next week: May 28, 29, and 30th in downtown Toronto. Sister and I are on the Toronto planning committee, and each of us has some roles to play. I will be writing the Prayers of the Faithful for the three eveing Masses with our Archbishop, CArdinal Ouellet of Quebec, and Cardinal John Foley an American who lives in Rome. For more than 25 years Cardinal Foley served as the head of the Vatican's office for comunications. Even though he has another post, Cardinal Foley has always remained a member of the Catholic Press Association, and he is much loved by all those involved in Catholic media.
Keep that three day event in your prayers too.
Have a blessed ending of Mary's month of May!

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