Provincial Superior's 2015 Circular n.4

Circular 4
Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015



Dearest Sisters,

May the mystery of God’s love revealed to us in this Holiest of weeks permeate our lives and communities!

Blessed James Alberione reminds us that “The Holy Week is a week of love. Every year, this week marks an occasion in which our communications of love with God ought to increase. (…) A week of love that has its centre on Good Friday, the day in which more than in any other day, he realized his ‘he loved us so much that he gave up his life for us.’ It is preceded by the outpouring of love, which is the Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood, commemorated on Holy Thursday. It is followed by the victorious climax of this same love, commemorated on Easter Sunday. (…) Consider this week’s whole Liturgy under the aspect of love. Grow in this love; intensify the flame that the Holy Spirit has enkindled in you, so that the light may shine on us, give us warmth and life.” (APD 202-204).

In our history as PDDM Congregation, the Lord has blessed us with a very special manifestation of his love when, in his great mercy, he granted that we be given our Diocesan Approval on April 3, 1947 which, in that year, was Holy Thursday: the day of the Eucharist, the Priesthood and the great commandment of Love (RL 5). Let us thank the Lord for this wondrous sign of divine predilection and let us ask him for the grace to respond accordingly to this marvelous love.

Grace upon grace comes to us as we begin the Easter season. Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis last March 13th, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, during the celebration of the First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica. The fundamental theme of the extraordinary Holy Year is “God’s Mercy.” We have been reflecting on the same theme since the time we prepared for the visit of Pope Francis in our country. I hope that at this point, we have already made the concrete decision to open our hearts and communities to God’s mercy. Forgiven, have we learned to forgive in return? Loved and cared for, have we shown true concern for the well-being of others? Empowered for the mission, have we learned to pass on to others the zeal for the apostolate without letting them feel our sense of superiority? We all know that we are all here, in every ministry assigned to us, because of God’s trust. Nothing is truly ours. We receive everything as a gift.

I take this opportunity to thank the sisters who have expressed their obedience in regard to the continuing movement of personnel that we are doing in our Province (please see attachment).

Another important celebration within the Easter Season is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations which this year will be on April 26, the Fourth Sunday of Easter or Good Shepherd Sunday. We all know how difficult it is to find and accompany persons who are searching for meaning and direction in life. This difficulty could dishearten us and we could be tempted to give up. But as Pope Francis says in his message, “We need not be afraid: God follows the work of his hands with passion and skill in every phase of life. He never abandons us! He has the fulfilment of his plan for us at heart, and yet he wishes to achieve it with our consent and cooperation.” (Message of Pope Francis, World Day for Vocations 2014). Hence let us be courageous in presenting the possibility of consecrated life to our young people, wherever we go. I would truly be grateful if every sister who will go for vacation this summer could bring with them some vocation materials and talk to their parish priests and youth groups. This will be a big help also for our sisters directly involved in vocation promotions. May we ask for your prayers too for the young ladies who have been invited to join the discernment retreat this May 15-17? Let us offer our little sacrifices for them so that they will have the needed grace of discernment and the fortitude to do what they have discerned.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for the prayers being offered for me on the occasion of the feast of St. Gemma Galgani. I truly need every prayer and collaboration you can give so that we can cooperate together to bring to fulfillment the good work which the Lord has begun in us all, through his love and mercy. Assuring you all of my continued prayers, I greet you affectionately a happy and holy Easter!        

Sr. M. Gemma Victorino pddm