Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin, welcomed a new community of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother on Saturday 13 May last during the Vigil Mass in Sacred Heart Church, Roscommon. The four sisters – Sr Ruth Maria, Sr Bernadette Maria, Sr Michelle Maria and Sr Karen Maria – will be based in Roscommon Town but their ministry will also serve the wider diocesan community.
Bishop Doran began his homily by welcoming Mother Ana Maria Campo, superior general of the Servants of the Home of the Mother, and Don Rafael Alonso Reymundo, founder of the Home of the Mother Association, in their native Spanish.
Bishop Doran went on to say, “Down through the ages, the Church has always tried to remain faithful to the vision and the teaching of Jesus, but has also had to adapt her practice to the circumstances and the needs of each time and place. It is what the Second Vatican Council calls, reading the signs of the times. As the Brazilian fishermen say: ‘you can’t catch yesterday’s fish today’”.
He continued, “The Second Vatican Council, which took place just over fifty years ago was another time of great renewal and, if we were to be honest, we would have to say that even now, we have scarcely begun to discover the insights of the Council. One thing that grew from the Council was the idea that there could be new forms of Apostolate and new forms of consecrated life, with different structures from those we had grown used to. These new forms would respond to the needs of our time.
“The message is clear, I think. The Church, in order to be faithful to her mission, has to be always looking for new ways of working. As Pope John Paul liked to say, ‘Every generation is a new continent to be won for Christ.’ As Pope Francis says, we are called to be ‘missionary disciples’”.
Bishop Doran continued, saying, “It is especially appropriate that today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, we formally establish this new community here in the Diocese of Elphin and I warmly welcome Sr Ruth Maria, Sr Bernadette Maria, Sr Michelle Maria and Sr Karen Maria.”
He continued, “Many of you will be aware of the death of Sr Clare Crockett in April 2016. Just two months before her death, I had begun to explore with the Servant Sisters the possibility of their establishing a community in our Diocese and I know that this idea was already in the heart of Mother Ana and many of the sisters for some years previously. I know that the sisters themselves believe that Sr Clare has guided us during the past year, as we prepared for the establishment of their new community today. I pray that their new mission will be another moment of growth and renewal in our Diocese and I feel sure that their faith, their joy and the energy will be a source of encouragement to many.
“I want to be very clear about one thing. The arrival of the Servant Sisters is not about going back to ‘the way it was’. It is about going forward in faithfulness to Jesus who, as the Gospel this evening reminds us is ‘The Way’ – the only way.”
Bishop Doran concluded his homily saying, “I want to take this opportunity to say a particular word of thanks to the Sisters of Mercy of the Western Province, who with typical generosity, have a made a lovely house available for the sisters. I welcome you here this evening, both the sisters from our local community and the members of the Provincial Council. We are deeply grateful to you, not only for the beautiful gift of a Home for the Home of the Mother, but for all that you have been and continue to be in our Diocese down through many years.”