Young religious gather to celebrate vocations
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
The Catholic Telegraph
Young/new religious representing 11 area communities came together April 25 at Mount Notre Dame Convent in Reading to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life as well as their respective vocations. Forty-five religious in formation, along with their formation ministers, and women and men religious 50 years of age and younger were present.
Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Marilyn Kerbe, director of the archdiocesan Office of Religious, organized the gathering.
“When I realized how many newer/younger members there were in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, I wondered if there would be interest in coming together to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life,” she explained. “And there was. I believe it is supportive for newer/younger religious to know that they are not alone in their pursuit of a religious vocation and to learn the importance of connecting with the local church wherever they will find themselves in ministry.”
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer presided at evening prayer for the group, encouraging them to continue to be joyful and keep their faith in Jesus Christ.
“I invite you this afternoon to keep the Lord right here in your hearts and to be His disciples,” Bishop Binzer said.
Attendees then heard individual reflections from their peers who shared their vision and hope for the future of religious life. Those who spoke were Sister of Mercy Claudia Cano (temporary professed); John Boissy, a postulant with the Franciscan friars; Sister of Charity Tracy Kemme (second year novice); and Simon Teller, a Dominican novice.
“What better life is there than to serve God — praying, listening to the Holy Spirit, responding to God with our whole heart,” Sister Claudia said.
Boissy said he hopes to “grow in my relationship with God, serve others using the gifts God gave me and be with a great group of guys as we support each other on our journey through life. We can help each other grow as brothers as in community with those we serve.”
“I see religious life as alive and vibrant,” said Sister Tracy, noting the importance of looking to the past with gratitude, living in the present with passion and continuing to respond to the needs and hungers of the world.
“This is a time of possibility that allows for collaboration, connectivity and ministry,” she added.
Through religious life, “you give yourself to God and the Holy Mother Church embraces you in a special way,” Teller said. “It’s a life where Christ puts the deepest part of himself into the deepest part of you. Christ gives you His heart.”
Bishop Binzer responded to the presentations, expressing his “heartfelt gratitude for those who have been called to consecrated life.”
Group discussions and finally an “open mic” time followed. All then shared in fellowship with a meal catered by Two Women in a Kitchen, Inc.
“The feedback I have received has told me that the gathering was appreciated and meaningful,” Sister Marilyn said. “It certainly achieved my goals: a celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, supporting the vocation to religious life (exemplified by Bishop Binzer’s presence) and linking newer/younger members with the local church.”
As a result of event a Facebook page has been created to provide young religious with opportunities to stay connected.
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.