Mother Teresa of Calcutta successor, Sister Nirmala, dies

MC, NJ Viehland

MC sisters join Lament service in Paco Church, Manila,2013. – NJ Viehland Photos

Sister Nirmala Joshi, who had succeeded Mother Teresa as the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity in 1997  passed away around midnight June 23. She was 80.

The nun has been suffering from a heart ailment, The Indian Express reported.  Her remains will be kept at the Missionaries of Charity headquarters in Kolkata until her funeral on June 25 afternoon.

The Missionaries of Charity under Sister Mary Prema Pierick’s lead since 2009 continue to care for the homeless and dying in Kolkata. The congregation that began as a small community with 12 members in Calcutta currently has over 4,500 Sisters running orphanages, AIDS hospices, charity centres worldwide, and caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe and Australia.

After Pope Paul VI granted in 1965 Mother Teresa’s request to expand her congregation to other countries it established its first house outside India in Venezuela. Others followed in Rome and Tanzania, and eventually in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, including Albania.

The first home of the Missionaries of Charity in the United States was established in the South Bronx, New York. In the USA, the Missionaries of Charity are affiiated with the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, a body of female religious, representing 20 percent of American nuns.

By 1996, the congregation was operating 517 missions in more than 100 countries. Today, more than one million co-workers and donations from ordinary people reportedly support the group.

In the Philippines mission, 53 foreigners and 50 Filipinas are among some 138 members a Catholic Directory published by Claretian Publications reports.. Six are contemplative sisters. Some 116 Filipinas are serving abroad, and the rest care for sick and malnourished children and destitute adults in centers located in five archdiocese and eight dioceses around the country.

 

 

Thy will be done…even on The Voice!

Ursuline Sister Cristina Scuccia’s success in The Voice certainly breaks stereotypes, including,
nun = spinster (to borrow from Pope Francis’ message to some 800 women religious representing International Union of Superiors General (UISG in May 2013)

 

CNS Blog

ROME — Ursuline Sister Cristina Scuccia’s landslide victory on The Voice of Italy last night wasn’t as big a surprise as much as what she did with her winner’s platform.

prize

She thanked everyone on the talent show for their help and support, but left her highest praise for God.

“My final and most important thanks go to the one who is up there,” she said to applause.

thank him

She said her presence on The Voice wasn’t to walk away a winner or a music star, but to show people a different kind of victory:

“My dream is to recite the Our Father together, maybe we can all hold each other’s hands and pray. I want Jesus to come right here inside!”

It left most people perplexed and unsure, but Sister Cristina was in charge, telling the band to strike up a soft melody to set the mood.

Half-joking, the MC said…

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In pictures – ‘Nazareth Workshop’ sews together fabric and workers’ lives

There’s more to these albs and clerical shirts than meets the eye.

The Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) specializes in producing clerical shirts, Polo shirts and school uniforms, and helps to sell albs primarily produced in the Cebu City workshop. - NJ Viehland Photos

The Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) specializes in producing clerical shirts, Polo shirts and school uniforms, and helps to sell albs primarily produced in the Cebu City workshop. – NJ Viehland Photos

They are created through a careful and deep process of nuns, with a team of trainers, teaching workers, mostly women, how to sew with their hands and using various kinds of sewing machines…

Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns in Mandaluyong City has 34 single and special machines including some with two needles for sewing garters. Workers, mostly women, are required to wear masks mainly to protect them from inhaling loose fiber and other elements harmful to their lungs. - NJ Viehland Photos

Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns in Mandaluyong City has 34 single and special machines including some with two needles for sewing garters. Workers, mostly women, are required to wear masks mainly to protect them from inhaling loose fiber and other elements harmful to their lungs. – NJ Viehland Photos

how to draw and cut patterns, how to cut fabric …

Master cutter in action at the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret run by Siervas of San Jose nuns that was working to stay on schedule for school uniform production for school year 2014-2015 that starts in June. - NJ Viehland photos

Master cutter in action at the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret run by Siervas of San Jose nuns that was working to stay on schedule for school uniform production for school year 2014-2015 that starts in June. – NJ Viehland photos

 

In the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns, workers are taught to sew a complete garment so that if someone is not around, the job moves ahead, and also to enable them to produce a complete product. Workers who have sewed in garment factors told Catholic In Asia they were trained only to sew parts of a garment, like sleeves or collars to protect the company's business. For these parts of the garment, factories pay them per piece.  Sister Lucy Camiring on April 30 discussed with a leading seamstress the status of their job of sewing school uniforms. - NJ Viehland Photos

In the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns, workers are taught to sew a complete garment so that if someone is not around, the job moves ahead, and also to enable them to produce a complete product. Workers who have sewed in garment factors told Catholic In Asia they were trained only to sew parts of a garment, like sleeves or collars to protect the company’s business. For these parts of the garment, factories pay them per piece. Sister Lucy Camiring on April 30 discussed with a leading seamstress the status of their job of sewing school uniforms. – NJ Viehland Photos

 

Project development and planning are among skills that nuns hone to enable workers in Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to stand on their own and collaborate to sustain the workshop. Their production meetings turn out plans and schedules that are written on a whiteboard in the shop. - NJ Viehland Photos

Project development and planning are among skills that nuns hone to enable workers in Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to stand on their own and collaborate to sustain the workshop. Their production meetings turn out plans and schedules that are written on a whiteboard in the shop. – NJ Viehland Photos

Sister Lucy Camiring and fellow Siervas de San Jose nuns and aspirants who take turns in working with the workers in the five Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) in the country. - NJ Viehland Photos

Sister Lucy Camiring and fellow Siervas de San Jose nuns and aspirants who take turns in working with the workers in the five Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) in the country. – NJ Viehland Photos

Some products require washing normally done by hand in the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to be more economical and provide people work. - NJ Viehland Photos

Some products require washing normally done by hand in the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to be more economical and provide people work. – NJ Viehland Photos

Margie Rose Butlig (right) takes charge of production in the Mandaluyong branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshop) run by Siervas de San Jose to where Sister Lucy Camiring (left) has served after returning from 9 years in mission in Papua New Guinea. - NJ Viehland Photos

Margie Rose Butlig (right) takes charge of production in the Mandaluyong branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshop) run by Siervas de San Jose to where Sister Lucy Camiring (left) has served after returning from 9 years in mission in Papua New Guinea. – NJ Viehland Photos

On the eve of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker May 1 Margie Rose reflected on the role of Siervas de San Jose Sisters in her own and her family’s life. “They have been to me like Saint Joseph was to Jesus – only they are nuns,” the worker in charge of production said. To understand why click on ‘Nazareth Workshop’ sews together fabric and workers lives”

Local Church – what is it?

“Local Church is more than a geographical reality. A local Church is a theological and spiritual reality with concrete socio-cultural dimensions.

AMOR musician nuns by NJ Viehland

It is after all the insertion of the mystery of Christ’s Church in a local culture…

Alleluia was sung in Vietnamese at the opening Mass for the 16th Asia-Oceania Meeting of Women Religious at the Benedictine Sisters' Saint Scholastica's House of Prayer in Tagaytay City, Nov. 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

Alleluia was sung in Vietnamese at the opening Mass for the 16th Asia-Oceania Meeting of Women Religious at the Benedictine Sisters’ Saint Scholastica’s House of Prayer in Tagaytay City, Nov. 2013. NJ Viehland Photo

AMOR lord have mercy chinese by NJ Viehland

‘the local church is the realization and the enfleshment of the Body of Christ in a given people, a given place and time (FABC Plenary Assembly I, no.9)…'” 

Nuns from around  the region opened their 16th Asia-Oceania Meeting of Women Religious  with a Mass at the Benedictine Sisters' St. Scholastica's House of Prayer, Tagaytay City, Philippines. NJ Viehland Photos.

Nuns from around the region opened their 16th Asia-Oceania Meeting of Women Religious with a Mass at the Benedictine Sisters’ St. Scholastica’s House of Prayer, Tagaytay City, Philippines. NJ Viehland Photos.

– Witnesses & Prophets Building Up the Local Church in Asia,
Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI
          The Role of Religious in Building Up the Local Church, FABC Paper 116

80 Years of Pontifical Mission Societies – Philippines

By N. J. Viehland

Marikina City, Philippines – Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), the pope’s worldwide office for missions operating in the Philippines, has contributed greatly to promoting mission in the Church in the Philippines, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president said at the closing Mass for the 3-day Grand Mission Festival.

At least 5,000 Catholics gathered here east of Manila last April 18-20 to celebrate Year of the Missions. CBCP dedicated 2012 to promoting the missionary orientation and give thanks and praise for eight decades of PMS.

PMS established around the world carries out the mission of the Church to propagate the faith, have children growing in sharing the faith, and preparing priests for mission work through four societies, Archbishop Palma explained in his homily.

The societies collect funds from Catholics worldwide to support missionary activity of the Church. Society for the Propagation of the Faith funds support general missionary activities, St. Peter the Apostle funds are raised to promote missionary vocation and formation of priests, seminarians and Women Religious, Missionary Union for lay mission workers in ecumenical dialogue and other evangelization work, and Holy Childhood Association for education and Christian formation of children and youth.

In the Philippines, PMS total funding for missionary work in 2011 reached 80 million pesos (roughly US $1.874 million), Mission Society of the Philippines Father Socrates Mesiona, PMS national director told me at the congress. He said Philippines Churches raised about 25 million pesos.

PMS staff said 50 mission directors from around the country came with delegations of priests, seminarians, lay officers and members of various parish groups, students and other youths.

Under the scorching sun or a starry sky, delegates joined in Masses, sang, danced, lit candles and sat silently on the ground in prayer. They huddled in halls to discuss lectures and videos, draw pictures and compose reflections, then mingled with strangers and interviewed missionaries at exhibit booths highlighting the festival theme “remembering history, proclaiming Jesus story, and celebrating our faith.”

Young Catholics joined candle lighting and prayers for lay missionaries during their mission send-off at the Grand Mission Festival 2012 closing Mass in Marikina City last April. (N.J. Viehland Photos)

Seminarian Feli Ayala, St. Alphonsus seminary second year theology student before bussing back to Quezon Province said the festival helped him realize he can be a missionary by “sharing and communicating Jesus Christ to others.”

“I learned from Archbishop (Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila) we can be good storytellers and we can be good missionaries who proclaim Jes

us Christ if we ourselves have first-hand experience of his presence,” he told me before heading home.

Doing Mission by Storytelling

Tagle spoke to participants at the athletics field April 19 evening about “Telling the Story of Jesus” as a way of doing mission. 

He told participants salvation history is “the story of God’s love affair with humanity” and all Christians can share in doing the Church’s mission by knowing Jesus’ story and sharing it through their lives.

Tagle said storytelling in order to fulfill the Church’s mission must be told by a credible witness who shows he “knows God” through his words and actions.

Citing Pope Paul VI, he said, “Our age listens more to witnesses than to teachers.”

Children are among people served by Fatima Center for Human Development established and run by Daughters of Saint Augustin nuns in Barrio San Agustin, Iriga City in Camarines Sur under the Archdiocese of Caceres. {Dave Viehland Photos)

The story one tells of Jesus’ love defines a person and builds community, Tagle added. “Our stories tell us who we are and what kind of community we are – what stories bind us together.”

He reminded delegates there are many ways to tell a story. “Our very persons could be the story of Jesus. That’s how the saints told the story of Jesus.

In Tagalog language, Tagle said, “Many of us cannot remember Pope John Paul II’s many teachings, but only looking at pictures will remind us of his life and his person. Until his body became bent and when he was almost completely stooped he continued to serve. That’s the story of Jesus.”

Photographs of the kindly face of Blessed Teresa embracing shabbily-dressed people from the gutters, her gentle stroking of dying people also tell the story of Jesus, Tagle added.

Reorienting Clergy to Mission                                  

Missiologist Father Andrew Recepcion of Caceres Archdiocese  shared Tagle’s hope. “It has to be understood by priests that mission is not added work. For many priests, their concept of mission is that it is an activity that has to be done when in fact mission should be the soul of pastoral work.

“If we do not do mission, we are not missionaries of Christ carrying out our pastoral work but we end up as social workers, organizers, event managers, CEO of the Church,” Recepcion said.

In his northern Philippines archdiocese, mission formation is part of the seminary formation program. Seminarians spend weeks of exposure to mission situations in the diocese “to understand that being in the parish is not merely celebrating rituals but a constant life-giving witness to the faith,” Recepcion said.

Since 1997, the archdiocese has sent almost 50 of its 280 priests to serve in mission abroad through the Caceres Mission Aid Program.

Mesiona acknowledges, Our problem is lack of enthusiasm for mission promotion and work. Maybe priests cannot connect. Maybe they’re thinking they already have enough pastoral work to do.”

Only about 80 percent of Philippines dioceses have appointed mission directors, and “fast turnover of leadership of the offices is another problem,” the missioner said.

Mission of the Whole Church

CBCP president Archbishop Jose Palma give lay missionaries their mission Crosses on their send-off to new assignments during the closing Mass for the Grand Mission Festival at Marikina Sports Center, April 20, 2012. (N.J. Viehland Photos)

Recepcion praised organizers and service team of the “fruitful” festival. In the long term, he said the impact of the festival could be determined by how effectively delegates and newly assigned missionaries will inspire people “by witnessing to Jesus through their lives.”

Palma at the closing Mass led send off prayers for a dozen newly assigned lay missionaries

– Mel Torralba, Youth for Christ (Middle East

– Maria Lenete B. Bertumen, Philippine Catholic Lay Mission (Thailand)

– Goi and Charmaine Villegas, Couples for Christ (CFC, Europe)
– Mike and Shay Serapio, CFC (USA) option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=3

– Jef and Emma Lou Arong, CFC (Seychelles)
– Richard and Fritzie Espanola, CFC (Zimbabwe
– Elmer and Lita Cadiz, CFC (Caribbean) 

In his homily, Palma invited delegates, specifying the youth, to volunteer for Church activities and offered Blessed Pedro Calungsod, the 17th century young sacristan from the Visayas Island whose life and work with Jesuit missioners to the Mariana Islands (Guam) ended in their martyrdom. The Vatican has set the canonization of Blessed Pedro and six other beatified people on World Mission Sunday, tomorrow Oct. 21. Blessed Pedro’s life and virtues offered themes for festival workshops and animation activities

Palma invited participants to pilgrimages from various countries to Rome around the time of the canonization, and suggested those who could not come join the thanksgiving Mass in Cebu or activities in their own dioceses when the new saint’s image is brought around the country.

END

Mission Directors in the Philippimes
Grand Mission Festival for CBCP Year of the Missions
Marikina Sports Center, April 20-23, 2012
N.J. Viehland Photos