On Saturday, February 4, 2012, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh to recognize the World Day for Consecrated Life and to honor two vowed women religious in our Diocese: Sister Maria Goretti Timperio, IHM, and Sister Rita Finnen, DW, who have worked for 60 years each to bring God’s love to His people. (Sr. Rita was unable to attend the Mass due to illness.)
Concelebrating with Bishop Burbidge were Msgr. David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese; Msgr. Girard M. Sherba, Judicial Vicar/Chancellor of the Diocese; Msgr. John A. Wall, Pastor of the Newman Catholic Center Parish in Chapel Hill; Fr. Marcos Leon, AAMEN Vicar for the Diocese, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Whiteville and Dean of the Cape Fear Deanery; and Fr. David Chiantella, Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
In his homily, the Bishop said, “Today we recall in a special way how Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Rita, over sixty years ago, upon hearing the Lord’s call in their lives, said, ‘Lord, You can have my gifts. You can have all that I am, my very life.’
“In their Consecrated Life, they have used their gifts, talents and expertise as teacher, nurse, catechist, administrator and servant to respond effectively to the pastoral and spiritual needs of the Lord’s people, especially those in most need.
“Through their holiness of life and generosity,” the Bishop continued, “they are, with God’s grace, an ‘eloquent sign of the presence of the Kingdom.’”
At the end of Mass, Sr. Joanna Walsh, FCJ, offered a Reflection on consecrated life.
“What is that thread that is somehow common to our two jubilarians...to all of us who are consecrated women in the Church?” Sr. Joanna asked. “What is it that they/we never let go of, no matter where we are living or what we are doing?
“The thread, of course, is that personal relationship with Jesus. The thread is that mysterious thing we name a call or a vocation. Like the Apostles and those first women who traveled with Jesus on the roads of Galilee, apostolic women religious hear a call deep within their being and set out on unfamiliar paths in companionship with Him.”
A reception in the Fallon Center for the jubilarians and all in attendance followed Mass.
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Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily (Windows Media)
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Above: Sister Maria Goretti Timperio, IHM, renews her commitment to consecrated life and receives the Bishop’s blessing. (Click photo to view larger.)