By Liz Sullivan
Combined, the honorees have served about 2,230 years of religious life ministry to the Church.
February 16 provided an opportunity to celebrate that service with the annual Mass for Consecrated Life at Bellarmine College Preparatory’s Leontyne Chapel.
The Mass was celebrated by Diocese of San Jose Coadjutor Bishop Oscar Cantú, with Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop Carlos Sevilla, S.J., Father Richard Cobb, S.J. and Vicar General Monsignor Francis Cilia concelebrants.
“What a wonderful thing to celebrate,” said Bishop Cantú. “Thank you for your service to the Church in so many invaluable ways.”
Father Richard Cobb, S.J., celebrating 70 years as a Jesuit, and a long-time teacher at Bellarmine, gave the homily. He shared the story of his own calling to religious life.
As an eighth grader in Los Angeles he failed to be admitted to the high school of his choice, Loyola High School, run by the Jesuits. Determined to attend there Cobb said he traveled to the school, spoke with the principal and when asked why he wanted so badly to attend Loyola, Cobb said he told the biggest lie of his life, “I want to be a priest.” The response caught even Cobb off guard, but it worked and he was accepted.
“Very few of us know the plan the Lord has for us,” said Father Cobb. “We must be ready to respond to his call. Vocations are mysterious calls and we are challenged to never be comfortable. I ask God to give me the strength to feel comfortable in your word.”
Bishop McGrath also spoke at the Mass. First, he addressed Sister Rosalie Pizzo, SNDdeN, Bishop’s Delegate to Religious life who is also retiring this year.
“I want to thank Sister Rosalie for her years of service,” said Bishop McGrath, who presented her with a bouquet of flowers. “You have been endowed with a great sense of humor. You made sure that I heard you, I listened to you and I understood you and you did it with great grace. Again thank you for your service to the Diocese and to me personally.”
Then Bishop McGrath turned his attention to the jubilarians celebrating their service to the Church.
“I offer my thanks to all of you, especially the women religious here today,” he said as his voice cracked. “As Bishop, I thank you for your leadership in the church during these very challenging times. You not only survived, but you thrived. To all of you it has been a great blessing to share my ministry with you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Sister Rosalie added: “Thank you Bishop McGrath for your wonderful pastoral ministry. You listened with not only with your mind, but with your heart.”
To learn more about vocations in the Diocese of San Jose, please visit