Sr Sukuria Dias, Sr Saude Rodrigues, Sr Precila Lobo, Sr Anserine D’Souza and Sr Gracia Silveira of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth celebrated the silver jubilee of their religious profession at Our Lady of Rosary Church, Navelim.
Fr Gabriel Coutinho, the parish priest of Our Lady of Rosary Church presided over the Eucharistic celebration along with Fr. Polly Lobo, the parish priest of St Alex Church, Calangute, Fr Jose Roque Gonsalves, the director of Clergy Home, Margao, and 28 more priests as concelebrants.
“Jesus was faithful to these nuns in these 25 years, therefore, we praise and sing a song of gratitude to Him,” said Fr Polly Lobo.
Fr Polly was delivering a homily at the Eucharistic celebration held on the occasion of the silver jubilee.
The faithful prayed during the Eucharistic celebration for the late Sr Anita Godinho, who was the companion of these jubilarians.
Fr Polly Lobo recalling the vocation story of St Matthew, an apostle of Jesus Christ, reflected on the three vows (obedience, poverty and chastity) of religious life.
“Jesus called Matthew. He obeyed Jesus and today he is a saint. So obedience is akin to holiness,” said Fr Lobo stressing our call to holiness.
“These nuns have served the people and shared love through the eyes of God,” said Fr Polly. He focused on the importance of priests and religious having a holy approach in their interaction with people in society and the mission entrusted to them.
“We choose to become poor,” said Fr Polly while reflecting on the vow of poverty.
“A poor person is one who totally depends on God,” he said.
He congratulated the jubilarians for giving hope while serving society at large and for depending on God and loving God above all else.
“Make your life a story, not history, so that people will come to know that to serve God, to serve Jesus, is something beautiful,” said Fr Polly.
He appealed to the congregation to promote vocation to the priesthood and religious life and pray Fr Simon D’Cunha, the chaplain of St Joaquim Chapel led the liturgical singing along with his parishioners.
Fr Gabriel Coutinho wished the jubilarians. Sr Melvira Borges SFN gave a brief history of the congregation and introduced the jubilarians.
“As my sisters celebrate 25 years of religious life, I thank God for the gift of them to our congregation, and as a head of the congregation, to me personally,” said Sr Berna Rodrigues SFN, the Mother General of the congregation, after Mass.
She said that she is grateful to God for the “yes” they said to the Lord, and through it, the wonderful services they render to the congregation and society.
“I can't forget to express my gratitude to their parents who have generously offered them to the Lord through our congregation,” Said Sr Berna while wishing the nuns an effective, fruitful 50 years.
Sr Sukuria, who hails from Cuncolim, presently serves as a counsellor and in-charge of the hostel in the mission of Noida Delhi.
Sr Saude and Sr Gracia are from Utorda. Sr Saude serves the community of St Anne’s Convent, Cansaulim, as the superior, whereas Sr Gracia belongs to the Holy Family Convent, Usgão. Sr Precila, who is a native of Cananguinim, serves as a teacher at St Michael’s High School, Anjuna.
Sr Anserine, who hails from Panchwadi, is a teacher at Perpetual Succour Convent High School, Navelim
A small felicitation programme was held where the jubilarian nuns cut the cake and a Goan manddo based on the life and mission of the jubilarians was presented under the leadership of Sr Jenifer Fernandes SFN.
Jubilarians also expressed their joy and gratitude to God and others through a song. Sr Valantina Vaz compered the felicitation programme.