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More than 700 celebrate closing Mass for Year of Consecrated Life

December 3, 2015
Sister Rosina Conrotto, PBVM

More than 700 people gathered in St. Mary’s Cathedral on Nov. 22 for the celebration of the closing Mass for the Year of Consecrated Life. After the entrance procession led by four students from Mercy High School’s sacred movement group, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone warmly welcomed the congregation. He was joined at the altar by Archbishop John R. Quinn, Archbishop George Niederauer, Bishop Daniel Walsh, Bishop William J. Justice, priests representing various religious congregations and chancery staff.

As a prelude, students from St. Brigid School choir sang “Wake Up the World,” a song written specially for the Year of Consecrated Life. They joined the cathedral choir and representatives from Immaculate Conception Academy, Junipero Serra High School, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and Notre Dame High School choirs for singing throughout the ceremony.

To illustrate the number of religious orders serving in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 33 women and men religious representing 33 of the 67 orders accompanied the gift bearers in the offertory procession. Carrying the gifts were the two major superiors – Sister Maureen McInerney, OP, and Sister Stephanie Still, PBVM – and the two provincial superiors – Sister Sharbel, MC, and Sister Mary Litell, OSF, residing in the archdiocese

In his homily, Archbishop Quinn challenged consecrated persons with the question: Where do the priorities of consecrated life come from? As his homily progressed he noted that “the first priority of apostolic life in the New Testament is service” and “service of Jesus Christ is the very heart and soul, the foundation and the meaning of all other forms of service.”

Archbishop Quinn also reminded the women and men religious gathered that the insistent call of Pope Francis is “to go to the peripheries: to the peripheries of degradation and poverty and war and terror and slavery. But also to the deep peripheries of the human heart. …” In closing, Archbishop Quinn said that “the consecrated disciple stands square in the midst of the human reality as a witness of hope.”

In her post-Communion reflection, Mercy Sister Mary Waskowiak shared her vocation story. She said “my story is your story, is our shared story, and ultimately it is God’s story.” She recounted events that led to her embracing religious life and she spoke of the impact of the Second Vatican Council, the Quinn Report, and her roles in leadership for the Sisters of Mercy and in the presidency of Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

In her final remarks she said, “We close this Year of Consecrated Life, trusting in God’s promise of a future full of hope. We ask for the grace to be alert and responsive to our founders’ call to serve those whose needs are still unmet and cry for attention. …. And, finally, we remember always Jesus’ words to those who would follow him: ‘The gift you have received, give as gift.’ That is exactly what we will do! It is an honor, a gift. It is our call.”

Presentation Sister Rosina Conrotto is director of the archdiocesan Office of Consecrated Life.

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