Sister Lourdes, Sister Emma and the good sisters from Scalibrini Villa left early Tuesday morning for Nebraska. They are headed there for their Annual Retreat and Meetings of the Congregation of the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters. They will be stopping in Peoria, Illinois to pick a few more sisters and then directly to Lincoln, Nebraska.
They are spending the next few weeks of prayer, study and reflection at St. Gregory the Great Seminary where several of the FAS Sisters serve. The retreat is to be led by Mother Marietta of the Poor Clare Sisters in the Philippines. Also Mother Josephine, the Superior of the Congregation, is joining them from their Motherhouse in the Philippines.
The Franciscan Apostolic Sisters were founded in the Philippines in 1953 by an Italian Missionary Priest, the Franciscan Father Gerardo Filippetto, OFM. As consecrated women, the Sisters continue to live as their Father Founder taught them: to be humble servants reflecting Mary's presence and to be all in all in the service of everyone in the community and the Church.
I ask you to please pray for all the sisters during their time of retreat and also for their safe travels. The Sisters return to OLM in late July. Mother Josephine and Mother Marietta are to visit us in early August. May this truly be a fruitful time of spiritual renewal and rest.
On Friday morning a number of our OLM teens headed to the Steubenville East Conference this weekend in Lowell, Massachusetts. They are joining thousands of young Catholics from across the Northeast for a faith-filled and joy-filled time of prayer and celebration. Fr. Barrow and our Summer Seminarian Patrick Ryan along with our OLM Youth Coordinator Billy Burdier and some adult chaperones are with the group. It should be a terrific weekend of faith and fun. Please pray for them all as they spend the weekend celebrating Christ and His Church. The group returns on Sunday evening.
This past week several hundred priests from across the nation gathered in Providence for the Annual Thomistic Institute. The Thomistic Institute is a work of the Dominican Friars which promotes Catholic truth in our contemporary world by strengthening the intellectual formation of Christians at universities, in the Church, and in the wider public square. The thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Universal Doctor of the Church, is the foundation of their works. Each summer they sponsor a conference especially for priests.
This year’s conference was entitled, “Becoming a Better Confessor.” Over the course of three days there are lectures, holy hours, social hours and time for reflection. The conference takes place at the McVinney Auditorium and the Cathedral with the guest clergy staying at the local Hilton. It is a great opportunity for priests and a great privilege to have the Diocese of Providence host it. Fr. Barrow, Fr. Connors, and myself along with many priests from Providence and many other dioceses joined with many Dominican Friars this week in an effort to become better confessors!
Bishop Robert Reed, the Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, delivered the keynote address in which he stressed the importance of mercy and forgiveness in the life of a priest. Other speakers examined issues such as ministering to the addicted, those in irregular marriages and those with same sex attraction. Such notable speakers as Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, OP and Fr. George Rutler presented excellent talks.
It was a very fruitful time for the priests gathered and a time of serious reflection. Also it was a time of great fraternity for priests. In fact, I encountered a priest friend from Charleston, South Carolina I haven't’ seen in years who was in town for the conference. We are grateful to the Dominican Friars for providing this great opportunity for priests and to Bishop Tobin for inviting them to hold the conference here in Providence.
Now that we have studied how to be better confessors, you might wish to make your way to the Confessional Box this summer! Confessions at OLM continue all summer long on Monday evenings at 6:00pm and Saturdays at 4:00pm. Don’t take a vacation from God’s mercy and forgiveness. Come to Confession, it’s good for the soul!
Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox!