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Mass of Thanksgiving Celebrated for Religious Jubilarians

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A Mass of Thanksgiving in Celebration of Religious Life was held Saturday, February 5, in recognition of the Jubilee Anniversaries of three women observing milestone anniversaries of religious profession. The Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Raleigh. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge was Celebrant and Homilist. Msgr. David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese; Msgr. Jerry Sherba, Chancellor of the Diocese; Msgr. John Wall, Pastor of the UNC-Newman Center Parish; and Father John Forbes, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, were Concelebrants.

Those recognized were Sister Christine Gellings, IHM, a member of the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Ms. Joanne DeGidio, MHM, and Ms. Echo Lewis, MHM, vowed members of Madonna House, a Society for Apostolic Life. Sister Christine and Ms. DeGidio celebrated 50 years of religious service. Ms. Lewis, who was unable to attend due to illness, is celebrating 40 years. (See story in January/February 2011 issue of NC Catholics.)

“We gather to give thanks to God for the vocations of Consecrated and Apostolic Life,” Bishop Burbidge said in his homily. “We honor our Jubilarians for their powerful witness, wonderful example and generous service in our midst.”

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s Bishop’s Annual Appeal, Our Gifts. Our Call. Our Mission, Bishop Burbidge said, “You are truly gifts to the Church, the Diocese of Raleigh and all those you have served and those you continue to inspire. You have faithfully served and continue to serve the Lord in your calling.

“Faithfulness to this mission,” the Bishop added, “demands the conviction that before we go forth, we must first and above all else be with the One who sends us. Thank you for your example, which reminds all of us of the foundations that sustain us in our vocations: intimacy with the Lord in Word and Sacrament, most especially the Holy Eucharist.”

At the conclusion of Mass, Sr. Christine offered a reflection on behalf of the Jubilarians.

Above: Sister Christine Gellings, IHM, and Ms. Joanne DeGidio, MHM, during renewal of vows and commitment to their religious communities at Mass of Thanksgiving in Celebration of Religious Life. (Ms. Echo Lewis, MHM, was unable to attend due to illness.)

Above and below: Friends and faithful gathered to celebrate Jubilee anniversaries.

Below: Choir made up of singers from Our Lady of Lourdes and Religious Sisters serving in the Diocese of Raleigh.