By Liz Sullivan
As the Catholic Church honored the Virgin Mary with the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the Diocese of San Jose took a moment on March 25 to honor the many women and men who have dedicated their lives to the service of God. The Diocese held its annual Celebration of Religious Life at Leontyne Chapel at Bellarmine College Preparatory,
The Feast of the Annunciation commemorates the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary when he informed her she would be the mother of Jesus.
“One of our roles as religious is to make credible the word of God,” said Sister Rosalie Pizzo, SND, the Bishop’s Delegate to Religious Life, and who herself was celebrating 65 years of religious life.
Overall members from seven religious congregations of women and three orders of men were honored, although not all were able to be present. Bishop Patrick J. McGrath celebrated the Mass, assisted by Monsignor Francis V. Cilia and Deacon John Kerrigan.
“From the bottom of my heart thank you,” said the Bishop. “I am very grateful for all of the work you have done for the Diocese.”
Sister Molly Neville of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, who is celebrating 60 years of religious life, gave the Reflection during Mass.
“Mary’s faith grew as the child Jesus grew in her womb,” said Neville, Spiritual Director at Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz and who entered the Convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Los Gatos on July 24, 1955. “Like Mary we received that mysterious call from God to serve as religious. Like Mary, we consented freely and with courage. My dream has always been to love and be loved by God. Like Mary we have been strengthened by the Holy Spirit.”