Catholic Free Press

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  • Oct
  • 25

Retired religious honored

Posted By October 25, 2011 | 10:41 am | Local


By Tanya Connor

“You and I are the answer to the tensions” in religious communities, Msgr. Edmond T. Tinsley told the congregation that overflowed Our Lady of Providence Chapel at St. Vincent Hospital Sunday.
The occasion was the presentation of the 12th annual Retired Religious Awards from the diocesan Retirement Fund for Religious Appeal Committee. The committee promotes the annual national collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious, being taken at weekend Masses Dec. 10-11 this year.
The collection is taken because of the tensions Msgr. Tinsley, a member of the Appeal Committee, spoke of in his homily: there are too few religious women and men to do the work needed, as the frail and elderly can no longer do much of it, and need costly assistance to live. So the money collected goes to the National Religious Retirement Office in Washington, and religious institutes in need apply for grants from there.
To ease those tensions, Msgr. Tinsley first called for prayer for vocations and the religious today.
“They need our financial support,” he said next. “They have earned our support.” He said Catholics are encouraged to support specific communities or individual religious in their ministries, but once a year “we join as a single force in our nation” to collect money for the Retirement Fund for Religious.
He recalled the education he received from the Sisters of Notre Dame in elementary school and the Jesuits at the College of the Holy Cross, how the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Leo Elementary School in Leominster taught him the value of sacrifice when he was a young priest, how the Religious Sisters of Mercy shared with him in ministry for decades. He also named other congregations and said there were many individual religious too.
“I give thanks to God for them and I pray for them with joy,” he said.
Bishop McManus said women religious especially made an enormous contribution. He said he was convinced that the faith in the United States would not be as vibrant as it is without so many religious teaching it.
“The sisters were also the best vocation directors,” he said, telling how one of his teachers told the boys in his eighth grade class which of them would go to seminary, and 13 from that class did.
Bishop McManus presented the awards to two apostolic religious – Sister Louise Marie Assad, a Sister of St. Joseph, and Sister Mary Rose Zaccari, a Religious Venerini Sister – and to one contemplative monastic religious, called a nun or moniales, Sister Mary Herbert Walsh, of the Order of St. Benedict, explained Sister Paula A. Kelleher, SSJ, vicar for religious.