METUCHEN – Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski will serve as principal celebrant at an evening prayer service to commemorate the 17th annual World Day for Consecrated Life at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 32 Elm Ave., Feb. 3 at 4 p.m.
The day, which was established by then-Pope, now Blessed John Paul II in 1997, recognizes those devoted to consecrated life, provides an opportunity for them to renew their dedication, and invites the entire Church to celebrate this gift of consecrated life.
During the prayer service, those celebrating significant milestones of their religious profession will be acknowledged by Bishop Bootkoski and members of the faith community.
Mercy Sister Elizabeth O’Hara, from the Mount Saint Mary Community in Watchung, will give the reflection during the service. Together with a number of her sister companions, Sister Elizabeth is celebrating 60 years in religious life.
“The consecrated men and women in the diocese share the light of Christ through a variety of ministries in our parishes and diocesan ministries: evangelization, education, health care, social services, spiritual direction and contemplative living,” said Religious Teacher Filippini Sister Ascenza Tizzano, delegate, diocesan Office for Religious. “Our way of life reflects that Jesus is the center and purpose for everything we are and everything we do.”
World Day for Consecrated Life is an invitation for all the faithful to gather in prayer, to celebrate and to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of consecrated life and to encourage young men and women to consider a vocation to religious life so there will continue to be the presence of consecrated women and men who will serve our Church and world, said Sister Ascenza.
This year’s jubilarians include: Mercy Sister Mary Kateri Smith, 75 years; Mercy Sisters Mary Daniel Schroeder and Margaret Mary Smith, 70 years; Mercy Sisters Annette Duignan, Mary Amadeo Morganti, Elizabeth O’Hara, Mary Elizabeth Roberts and Mildred Rossiter; and Franciscan Sister M. Josene Harowicz, 60 years.
Celebrating 50 years of service are: Sacred Heart Brother John Spalding, Felician Sister Cynthia Babyak, Felician Sister Rebecca Piatek, Mercy Sister Rosemary Hudak, Mercy Sister Mary Jo Kearns, and Franciscan Sister Marie Therese Sherwood.
Seven other religious women and men are celebrating silver anniversaries.
The annual day of prayer is celebrated in the Church on Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. When the feast day does not occur on a Sunday, World Day for Consecrated Life is observed the following Sunday.
All are invited to attend the prayer service and the light reception that follows. Those who plan to attend or require more information may visit www.diometuchen.org