02 February 2008

Seven new novices; the cost of discipleship

Today, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, is 'World Day of Consecrated Life / Religious Life. So it was fitting that I celebrated Mass this morning as six young women and one not quite so young, began their novitiate with the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family. The Sisters came from Spain to the Philippines in 1982 and include members from Central America and especially from Colombia, where the Congregation is strong. They now have many young Filipino Sisters.

Here's something I wrote about the work of the Sisters here in Bacolod City. It's on the website of the Columbans in the USA.

Please pray for the new novices; Rhea Lei, Willyn, Leslie, Irene, Franes Laraine, Mylah and Antonieta. They're in reverse chronological order, starting with a 19-year-old. Antonieta had been working with the Sisters for some years before hearing God's call.

Antonieta and I have a mutual friend, now on the 'Simeon and Anna' side of 50, who is a novice with the contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity. Sr Mary Anthony has a sister with the Siervas de San Jose, Sr Violeta, and a brother, Father Bert Layson OMI, who is working in Mindanao, where the family is from.

Father Bert was working at the Cathedral in Jolo when Bishop Benjamin de Jesus OMI was murdered in front to the church on 4 February 1997, 11 years ago come Monday. Ten days later Bishop Antonino Nepomuceno OMI, at the time a former auxiliary bishop of Cotabato in Mindanao, died immediately after the funeral of his confrere and brother bishop when the small plane he was in crashed just after take-off.

On 28 December 2000 Father Benjamin Inocencio OMI was murdered at the back of Jolo Cathedral and this year, on 15 January, Fr Jesus Reynaldo A. Roda OMI was murdered in a kidnap attempt on one of the most remote islands in the Vicariate of Jolo, which includes the most southerly islands of the Philippines. Please keep the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in your prayers.

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