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Centennial Eucharistic Celebration

by Sr. Pat McGraw, icm

The grand Centennial Celebration and the honoring of three Jubilarians was marked by praise and thanksgiving in the Eucharist Celebration at the St. Patrick’s Church in Frederiksted. The main celebrant was Fr. Patrick Lynch, CSsR., Pastor of St. Patrick’s. Concelebrants were Msgr. William John-Lewis who represented Bishop G. Malzaire of the Diocese of Roseau, Msgr. Michael Kosak, Pastor of St. Anne’s and Fr. John Mark, Pastor of St. Joseph’s.  The sanctuary had been transformed into a Caribbean flare of madras and the beautiful Caribbean flora arrangements enthroned the altar. Music with a typical Caribbean rhythm filled the church from beginning to the end. The St. Patrick’s Choir led by Sr. Lovey Reyes icm and musicians outdid themselves in singing a large selection of Caribbean hymns. 

After the opening songs of praise and worship the ICM Sisters came in procession as the entrance hymn began. Sr. Annamma Augustine, District Superior of the Caribbean welcomed all the clergy, honored guests and friends to this milestone liturgy of our Centenary. She remarked there has been a century of graces and blessing to our district so we cannot say thanks enough to God. She then asked the pardon of the Caribbean people for any misunderstandings, cultural blunder or inappropriate actions or attitudes of our sisters in the past and present. She then thanked the Caribbean people for the times they have evangelized us, ICM Sisters, through their simple vibrant faith, resilience in hardships and their love of their families and church. The Second Reading of the Liturgy was take from Article #8 of the ICM Constitutions. This article highlighted the missionary charism that compelled Marie Louise De Meester to leave Belgium and go to India to serve the poor. Her charism is the living flame of missionary zeal that still invites women all over the world to live this very charism, a gift of the Spirit, to the universal mission of the Church.

A stirring homily preached by Fr. John Mark, invited the ICMs to look at Mary, the first disciple, whose heart was centered on Jesus. Mary, was a woman of great faith, who was engaged in the mission of her Son. Fr. Mark pointed out that Mother Foundress learned from Mary, and she has left you the ICM charism of a deep interior life coupled with undaunted zeal for others. Fr. Mark concluded by addressing these words to us, “Do as Mother Marie Louise recommended call on the name of Jesus continually in times of joy and times of trials.” As my own personal life was touched by an ICM sister, may you continue to draw many people to Jesus in today’s world.

After the homily the three Jubilarians: Srs. ClainaLetang, Ledenila Moreno, HerminiaAballe renewed their Religious Vows as an ICM Sister.  During the offertory two young women of the St. Patrick’s Youth Group did a splendid choreography to the Hymn As We Gather Round the Table. The Sisters from Haiti sang a Meditation Hymn after Communion in French. The Hymn, Mangnificat Alleluia, was a thanksgiving to Mary for our century of blessings. This was followed by the congregational Hymn, Your Greatness Was Your Faith. During this hymn the three jubilarians each offered a bouquet of flowers at the altar of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. At the conclusion of the Mass Sr. Lieve came forward and offered to Sr. Annamma the Papal Blessing from Rome for the Caribbean District. 

The Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis was extended to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for their Century of missionary work in the Caribbean region, and their support and development of the Caribbean Church. After leaving the Church, a group photo was taken on the Church steps. Then the sisters proceeded to the church cemetery to pray at the grave of our first Crucian ICM Sister, Sr. Helen Golden. Then they sang their ICM theme song, Lord, You called Us Graciously. They prayed and  asked Sr. Helen to intercede for their District to be ever faithful for another new century of ICM presence in the Caribbean.

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