KUCHING – On 23 August in a solemn and simple ceremony at St Peter’s Church (Padungan), three Franciscan Sisters, namely Sr Josephine Then, Sr Therese Harry and Sr Celestine Ho, each celebrated their 50 years of faithful service in the religious life.
The thanksgiving Mass was presided by Archbishop John Ha, concelebrated by four priests and was well attended by religious Sisters, friends and relatives of the Jubilarians.
On behalf of the local Church, Archbishop Ha thanked the Jubilarians for their services to the Congregation and to the Archdiocese.
In his homily, the Archbishop drew attention to the two readings specially chosen for this occasion. Christ’s self-emptying and becoming one of us as in the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians focused on the humility of the Son of God, who accepted death on the cross, manifesting this unconditional love for all humankind.
In the scenes of the Annunciation and Visitation from St Luke’s Gospel, the Archbishop noted that God invoking Mary to give flesh to his Son is beyond human understanding but Mary placed her faith in God. In the encounter between Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth, the recognition of Christ in the womb of Mary is an encounter of Salvation.
Likewise, the jubilee Mass was an occasion to encounter God, to give thanks to him for the Jubilarians. They responded to God’s call to attend to the needs of the people in their respective apostolates.
Like Mary, Sr Josephine assumed the role of Mary as a mid-wife who has lovingly helped to deliver so many babies. Sr Therese reflects Mary’s sensitivity by her dedicated service to the residents in Chesire Home. Sr Celestine has educated many children who now are holding important responsibilities in society.
These three Jubilarians have imitated Mother Mary, walking in the steps of Jesus by emptying themselves to embrace the vows of Poverty so that others may be rich, Obedience by giving up their own will, their personal freedom for others, Chastity in order to be committed to a life of love. It is their dedication that makes the difference.
The Archbishop exhorted the Jubilarians to continue their life of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience so that they may reach out to many more people. He concluded by congratulating them and wishing them a happy jubilee.
Sisters of St Francis of Sarawak