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“Love and Fidelity of the Good Shepherd... Gratitude!”

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 08/06/2021

It was one festive day after another as Good Shepherd Sunday fell on April 25. After some time of relative quiet, with the absence of live Masses and gatherings in our Good Shepherd compound in Quezon City, the two days of St Mary Euphrasia’s Feast and Good Shepherd Sunday brought life and joy to the community, and even beyond, despite missing the presence of other sisters, family and friends.  

St Mary Euphrasia’s Feast

Mass for SME’s feast was presided by Fr Robert Leus, CJM. In his homily, Fr Robert emphasized how the same love that motivated Mary Euphrasia to establish the Generalate continues to connect all sisters and partners in the world, keeping alive the mission to women and children.  We witnessed this love in the excitement of our four children (program participants) who received their First Communion at Mass. After completing their catechism with Sr Carmelita Medenilla, they had the joy of receiving Jesus on the Eucharistic bread. It was also the day of renewal of vows our two temporary professed sisters, Sr Corazon Arcega in Quezon City and Sr Roselle Pascua in Butuan City. In the afternoon, the sisters enjoyed (and cried!) watching “Euphrasia the Musical”. It was truly a day of rekindling the spirit of Mother Foundress.  Our lay partners’ turn came the following days.

 

 

 

In Japan, Sr Euphrasia Katoh, who had her Golden Jubilee last year had a belated celebration with the Toyonaka community with a mass presided by Fr Noda, also on April 24.

  

 

 

16 Jubilarians on Good Shepherd Sunday

The next day, Good Shepherd Sunday, Mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for our 16 sisters celebrating their Jubilee this year with the theme: “Love and Fidelity of the Good Shepherd… Gratitude!” Ten of them were present while some of the others joined simultaneously through live-streamed mass. All are virtually and spiritually united!  Our Silver Jubilarians: Srs Gemma Dinglasan and Juliet Abrigo; Golden Jubilarians: Srs Carmelita Arenas, Celine Cajanding, Antonia Lopez, Henedina Mananzan, Milagros Santos, Christina Sevilla, Aurora Tan, and Olga Malou Cristobal (Mid-North America Province); Diamond Jubilarians: Srs Josephine Bacaltos, Carmela Cruz and Bernard Derayunan; and, Platinum Jubilarians: Srs Irene Lat, Herminia Mendoza and Amabilis Oliva.   Sr Susan Montano, Province Leader, in her message, thanked all the Jubilarians for their passionate and generous sharing of selves through the years. She affirmed their continued witnessing whether in active involvements or in quiet ministry of presence and prayer. Mass was presided by Fr Noel Rosas, O’Carm.

 

The Good Shepherd’s Community Pantry

Love and fidelity of the Good Shepherd was also concretely felt in  the “community pantries” that opened in various mission areas of the Good Shepherd.  The “community pantry” an initiative of a concerned private citizen, Ms Ana Patricia Non, to address the growing hunger among those most impacted by the pandemic was like the Gospel’s multiplication of bread. What started in a small cart in a street corner in Quezon City where people can “get what they need and give what they can”, multiplied quickly in many parts of the country.

In partnership with generous friends, families and benefactors, five community pantries in Cebu, Quezon City, Catanduanes, Batangas City and Alitagtag opened from April 24 and the days that followed. Tables full of blessings speak of the promised life in abundance by the Good Shepherd, surely a source of hope amidst the dim reality we are living in.

To this “divine extravagance”, our resounding response, “Gratitude!”

 

A Personal Reflection

To celebrate during this time of great fear and anxiety is seemingly paradoxical. How can we celebrate when the rest of the world is agonizing? Thousands are dying, millions are starving. When our group was planning for this event last December, we were hoping that things will change by this time. Yes, it did, but not for the better as we face another COVID surge.  We then decided to do with a private celebration without guests, with food distributed in bento boxes to avoid any gathering.  There was danger and fear, yet, we decided – we will celebrate! Just like our years in religious life, coupled always are the joys and sorrows, triumphs and crosses. In my 25 years, I noticed this trend of God’s presence.  God is more conspicuous after every crisis, but also more recognized in daily events, when life is simply lived. This is the very reason why we have to celebrate – to celebrate God’s fidelity and love. Truly, celebration is not for us but for this faithful God who remains.   

Sr Gemma, Silver Jubilarian