Bishop, sisters pray and celebrate on the World Day for Consecrated Life


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Seventeen sisters representing religious communities on mission throughout the Church in central and northeastern Missouri gathered with Bishop W. Shawn McKnight Feb. 4 to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life.

They convened in the Alphonse J. Schwartze Memorial Catholic Center in Jefferson City to pray, visit, share a meal and help God reinforce each other’s unique baptismal call to holiness and service in the Church.

“I am deeply grateful for the service you provide in our diocese, along with the witness of your lives and the unique charism that each of you brings to carrying out your baptismal calling,” Bishop McKnight told them.

The sisters and bishop began with a prayer service in the St. Alphonsus Liguori Chapel.

They sang hymns, chanted Psalms, offered prayers of thanksgiving and petition and contemplated the day’s Scripture readings.

Tom Halpin, retired music director for Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Jefferson City, provided keyboard accompaniment to the singing.

Bishop McKnight thanked the sisters for placing their gifts and talents at the service of God and his people in the diocese, and called them to continue to be a light in their work and in their presence here.

He spoke of the Synod on Synodality that is taking place throughout the Church, and the ongoing need to implement the values of the Second Vatican Council — especially the calling that every baptized individual receives to pursue holiness and help lead others to Christ.

Bishop McKnight referred to the Synod as “a time to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

Acknowledging that the Church needs to change in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, the bishop urged the sisters to remain open to the Holy Spirit to lead and guide all of God’s people to the changes that need to happen, “so that the people will know Jesus better.”

Sr. Kathleen Wegman of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the bishop’s liaison to religious in the diocese, asked everyone to remember in prayer all of the sisters who have served in this diocese “who have gone before us and are now enjoying the peace of God.”

The sisters also lifted up in prayer the world, the Church and all who serve God.

They prayed for all who are called to Consecrated Life; for others to be called and to answer that calling; for the leaders of each of their congregations of religious women; for families throughout the diocese; and for all who have died.

They also contemplated their own call to religious life and how each could further advance the founding mission of her congregation at this time in history.

They exchanged a sign of peace and received a blessing before adjourning to a “happy half-hour” of fellowship, followed by a catered meal and an abundance of stories and laughter.

Each sister received a gift bag containing several mementos, including a porcelain dove.

“Heavenly Father,” the bishop prayed, “we ask you to bless us as we contemplate the gift of a vocation and the gift of Consecrated Life. Bless these women who have given their lives to Christ in service of the Church.”

Barb Prasad, coordinator for Women’s Ministry for the diocese, and Ginger Borlinghaus, executive secretary to Bishop McKnight, coordinated the event.

Pope St. John Paul II initiated the World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997, to be celebrated each year on Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.

The Church in the United States celebrates the day on the Sunday closest to the feastday.

Visit and search “World Day for Consecrated Life” for more information.