As we begin this most Holy Week of the year, I want to wish you many graces and blessings as we remember God’s great love for us and to send you greetings for the magnificent feast of Easter. You will be in my prayer in a more intense way during these days. May this season bring you much joy, peace and hope – all graces we need especially during these troubled times. Here in the Generalate we celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday as a community in our Chapel, but go to various churches for the other services, each to a service in the language of her preference. I will be attending and ministering at the services with the Santa Susanna American community at the Church of San Camillo de Lellis.
Yes, Santa Susanna American Community at the Church of San Camillo de Lellis. Since July 2013 we have not been able to use the Church of Santa Susanna because of some repairs that need to be done. Since the Church is historical, this is a complicated process and requires cooperation and/or permission of several entities. Please join us in praying that we may soon return to our own Church. Right now we are having Masses in four different locations: San Camillo, St. Patrick, Santa Maria degli Angeli e Martiri and Marymount International School.
During these past days I’m sure you have the victims in the Germanwings crash, their families and friends, and also those who are investigating and helping it in your prayers. My heart goes out in a very sincere way to the parents and family of the co-pilot. And our prayers are continually needed for all those who are suffering from all the violence throughout the world. I am praying for the conversion of the terrorists so that we may all live in peace.
Life here in Rome has kept me busy over the past months. There were the end of the year reports, the preparation of the reports for the New Year, preparations for our audit, maintenance needs that had to be taken care of, and many meetings – both internal and external. But, with the grace of God, life continues.
We have an organization of English and French speaking treasurers in Rome. Here we share information and ideas and try to keep up with the changing financial regulations. In December we had an English – speaking Italian lawyer share with us. His firm has developed a webpage in different languages to help us with the many and constantly changing legal regulations. This past week he offered a meeting on tax issues and on other issues that affect Generalates.
On the national level, since the beginning of February Italy has a new president - 73 year old Sergio Mattarella. He is the third president since I came to Rome in September of 2000. In Italy the president is chosen by the voting of lawmakers and regional representatives. Mattarella enjoys the backing of the center-left Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the youngest prime minister in Italy’s history. He succeeds the very popular head of state Giorgio Napolitano, who at 89 stepped down due to his advanced age. Mattarella has a reputation for moral integrity and anti-Mafia credentials in Italy, but he is little known on the international stage. The Italian president has mostly ceremonial duties, but he also acts as political arbiter. The president's influence usually increases in times of crisis because he can reject laws, call snap elections and nominate prime ministers.
On April 1 religious women in Rome whose home state is in the northeast have been invited by Kenneth Hackett, the Ambassador of the USA to the Holy See and his wife to a Coffee in honor of Rebekah DiMartino, a 2013 Boston marathon Bombing Survivor and to hear her Inspirational Message of Hope. Sister Joanne and I will be attending.
Then on April 13 I will fly to the Philippines to spend three weeks there. Here we have a home and a workshop for the blind. I will do some financial work with the Sisters and also be another person in the house while one of the Sisters is away. We have only two Sisters at present ministering in the Philippines, but a Sister from another congregation is currently living with the Sisters. Our ministry in the Philippines is the same as the very first ministry of our Congregation – care for the blind. We have 16 resident blind or partially-sighted young girls and women. Those who are able to learn go out to school. Several have already gone on to college. For those who have handicaps other than their blindness, we have a learning center and a workshop. One of our blind, after she finished her college studies, got married, has a child and teaches at the Learning Center. I return to Rome on May 6. Please keep this trip in your prayers.
This year I will be home in the USA from July 30 to August 26. I hope to see many of you during this time. On August 21, the anniversary day of our founding, there will be a change in leadership in our province. Please keep the out-going and incoming teams in your prayers.
Once again, I ask the Lord to bless you during Holy Week and to give you the graces you need, as well as much love, joy and peace as we celebrate the Feast of His Resurrection.
With love and prayer,
First Sunday of Advent
Primero Domingo de Adviento
Be watchful! Be alert!
¡Estad antentos y vigililad!
Let us imitate the meekness of Jesus, his humility, his love, his mildness, his zeal for souls and God’s honor, his spirit of penance. 1855
The cross is the real test of faith, the true foundation and source of hope, the perfect refinement of love, in a word, the way to heaven. 1859
It is precisely the cross which Jesus offers us which we ought to embrace with great willingness and not choose our own crosses. 1843
We must pray for love of the cross. Then frequently we shall see things in an entirely different light. 1855
With a joyful heart endeavor to accept little daily annoyances out if love for God, swallowing them like water. Try it. (1877
In all suffering God sends us he has his wise designs, and to those who love him everything turns out for the best. 1878