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Love, gratitude and joy on Perpetual Profession of Vows as RGS

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 11/09/2019


Love, gratitude and  joy marked the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sr. M. Nguyen Thi Bach Mai and Sr. M. Chu Thi Nguyet  Hoa last September 8 at 2 p.m., Good Shepherd Chapel in Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan. 

Good Shepherd Sisters, religious men and women from different congregations, lay mission partners and family members, guests and friends arrived for  the afternoon Eucharistic Celebration. Presider was Bishop Paul Toshihiro Sakai of the Archdiocese of Osaka, and concelebrating priests were: Fr. Marcel Fortin CSSR, Fr. Masakatsu Nakano of theToyonaka Catholic Church in Osaka, Fr. Haruo Someno CP and Fr. Shin Takayama SJ, a Vietnamese priest missioned in Japan. In the Introduction, Sr. Joanne Isejima of Sendai community identified those gathered including the family of Sr. Hoa who came from Vietnam and the United States. 

First Reading: Sr. Assumpta Takako
Second Reading: Sr. Ronafel de Leon
Gospel: Fr. Haruo Someno CP
Prayers of the Faithful: 2 Japanese - Ms. and Sr. Euphrasia Katoh
2 English- Sr. Ananita Borbon, Sr. Carmelita Arenas, 1 Vietnamese- Ms. Truc
Litany of Saints: Sr. Euphrasia Katoh, Sr. Paula Seiki
Master of Ceremonies: Sr. Elizabeth Takeda
Homily: Bishop Paul Toshihiro Sakai
Thank You: Sr. Mai and Sr. Hoa
Message: Sr. M. Regina Kuizon RGS
The readings spoke of God’s love, “Come then, my love, my beautiful one, come with me… (Song of Solomon 2:2-14), Let  us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. .. and we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us.”  

The Gospel  Jn 15:9-17 vividly captured God’s love for all, “My commandment is this love one another as I have loved you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give this life for them… I  do not call you servants any longer,,, I call you friends because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.”

In his homily Bishop Sakai, recounted the conversations with Sr. Mai and Sr. Hoa and how they have waited 12 years from the beginning of formation to Perpetual Profession of Vows.  “Did it seem too long for you to wait for 12 years?, he asked.  May be it was for Sr. Mai and Sr. Hoa, but I’m sure it must have also been quite long for the other sisters who cared for you, as well as for your respective families. But above all, the one who has been waiting for this happy moment the most, is our Lord Jesus:  He was longing to welcome you for this day for 2019 years.”

Bishop Sakai who first gave his homily in Japanese, then in English said, “So in this Profession of Perpetual Vows, and also throughout your entire religious life, I ask you to respond to Jesus with all your heart and strength—to Him who has waited for you for 2019 years.”

The Ceremony of Perpetual Profession that followed the homily  was in three parts: The Call, The Dialogue and the Covenant. Sr. Regina Kuizon, province leader of Philippines-Japan called on the two sisters Mai and Hoa to profess before the whole Assembly their commitment to the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd led by Sr. Ellen Kelly. The Dialogue between the bishop and the two sisters touched on the willingness of the sisters to follow Jesus through the Good Shepherd congregation and the living of the vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and zeal, the commitment to serve Mother Church and guided by the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to work for those in need of God’s love and mercy.  The Covenant is the individual profession of vows of Srs. Mai and Hoa and the wearing of the rings blessed by Bishop Sakai. The ceremonies included signing of the vow book by the two sisters,  Sr. Regina as province leader and Bishop Sakai as presider. Sr. Regina then announced that the congregation is happy to accept them as Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd.  All the Good Shepherd Sisters present stood and sang the Aspirations of St. Mary Euphrasia.

The Litany of the saints led by Srs. Paula Seiki and Euphrasia Katoh  followed. The Prayers of the faithful read in Japanese, English and Vietnamese gathered intentions for the pope, the church, the  congregation, the newly perpetually professed sisters and their family, for the people we serve and for vocations.

As a Mass of Thanksgiving, bread and wine were offered and the faithful called on God to receive and confirm in his love the gifts of the two sisters who perpetually professed the evangelical counsels and vow of zeal. 

Srs. Mai and Hoa rendered a Vietnamese Song during Communion.

After Communion, Sr. Mai thanked those who attended the celebration, in Japanese followed by Sr. Hoa who expressed the same message in English. “When Mai and I first came here in Toyonaka Convent of the Good Shepherd Sisters, we did not know anything about Japan, but, we came as we felt God’s call to become religious nuns. The Good Shepherd Sisters received us. They were always kind and warm to us. We felt their love for us. We are very grateful for this experience… Since we came to Japan, we are happy to meet many friends. We are grateful for all of you who support us. “

“We are especially grateful to our Sisters in Toyonaka, Sendai and Enzan communities who nurtured us in our our vocation and journeyed with us throughout our formation. Our hearts are deeply touched by God’s faithfulness in Psalm 118:1: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting.”

“Trusting in God’s merciful love, we are happy to make our perpetual profession of vows.  Full of joy, we thank all of you for your presence and we continue to ask you to support and accompany us with your prayers so that we will remain faithful in our covenant with God and to the Congregation as Good Shepherd Sisters throughout our life.

Sr. Regina, in her message quoted St. Mary Euphrasia, foundress of the Good Shepherd Congregation,  “ I no longer say, I am French.  I am German, Spanish,   I belong to all nations where there are souls to save.” Today, we are here Filipinos, Vietnamese, Japanese, Canadian… gathered to be God’s channels of mercy and compassion.

She continued, "September 8, is the day Catholics mark as the birthday of Mary, our Mother. She said Yes/FIAT to God for all eternity. She is our model of discipleship. Today is very special because this is the first Perpetual Profession of Vows of two sisters in the three-year-old Province of Philippines-Japan.

“Thank you very much, Sr. Mai and Sr. Hoa, to your families who prayed for you and also for the religious family that you have embraced. Thanks to all of you who have come and have prayed that there will be more who would have the courage to follow the Good Shepherd, so that we may be able to serve families especially women and girls, and together uphold the integrity of creation and “protect our common home”.

The celebration was followed by a group picture taking for posterity, then by sharing of Japanese and Vietnamese food, and stories of various cultures and internationality.


Please read Related Story: Perpetual Profession of Vows on September 8 in Osaka Japan

Srs. Mai and Hoa with friends. Snacks and refreshments

With Sr. Regina Munemoto and Sendai community With Bishop Paul Sakai, Good Shepherd Sisters and friends

With Sisters from the Philippines Sisters with the statue of Mary at the Toyonaka community garden.

Hoa with her brother Ky, niece Truc, father Phuc and Bishop Paul Sakai Sr. Mai, Bishop Paul Sakai and Sr. Hoa

Photos: Courtesy of Sr. Ana de Guzman, Sr. Emma Marzan and Sr. Regina Kuizon
At the Toyonaka garden