Monday, April 30, 2012

Contemplatives' Mass of Thanksgiving

For everything that has been we say,
"Thank you, Lord."

On Sunday April 29, 2012 at 2pm our contemplative monastic community invited friends to join us for a Mass of Thanksgiving - also a bit of a send off as we prepare to leave our current monastery on the grounds of what was Mt. St. Alphonsus Retreat Center (former major seminary of the Baltimore Provine of the Redemptorist Congregation).

The celebration has a bit of a new twist to it since it turned out to be an opportunity to explain to all present the recent change in plans for our relocation. As previously announced on this blog, we had intended to move to a former convent in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Until last week we were in contract to do so. Due to difficulties concerning a buried and leaking oil tank we were forced to withdraw from the contract which was due to expire on the 27th.

As of May 1, 2012 we have 31 days to find interim housing and begin a new search for a permanent home. We are arranging to rent space in a nearby facility. We have already begun to network, talk to realtors and personally visit properties.

In the meantime I post here the introductory remarks offered at the Mass by Sr. Moira Quinn, our Prioress. They are followed by the Intercesory Prayers written for the Mass. We count on your prayers and support.

Mass of Thanksgiving Introduction

Good afternoon and welcome to our Mass of Thanksgiving for all the love and support all of you have given to us here in Esopus over the years.
Over 54 years ago the sisters came down from Canada to the Town of Esopus.  Foundresses, Sisters Paula and Mary Anne, are still with us today. The Redemptorists had rented a lovely old house in West Park called “Heart’s Ease,” as a temporary residence while their monastery was being built on the property of Mount St Alphonsus.   Soon after their arrival Sr. Mary joined them.
Recently, we made the acquaintance of the new owners of “Heart’s Ease” who are restoring it to its former glory. We were invited as a community to have “tea” and to celebrate the Eucharist in the very room where the sisters had Mass those many years ago.  It was a moving experience for us all; an  experience of coming full circle in our history.   
Eleven years ago we moved into this lovely monastery and now God is calling us to move again.  For the last six months, we thought we had found a place that would suit us in East Rutherford, New Jersey; a place which offered the possibility of a future for our community.  However, we have come to realize, after being unable to come to a satisfactory understanding with the owners of the property, that it was not meant to be. 
So, while we will be moving from Esopus May 31st, we will be moving for  only a temporary stay until we discover the place God wants us to be a radiant witness, a living memory of the Redeemer and God’s plan of love for the world.  Presently, we are in negotiations with the Cabrini Sisters just down the road for our temporary location.

Prayer of the Faithful
For all that has been, we say, “Thank you, Lord.”
For all that will be, we say, “Yes, Lord”
Ø With gratitude for our Redemptoristine and Redemptorist family.
we pray that the mystical charism of Maria Celeste and the missionary charism of Alphonsus will continue to invoke the “Living Memory” of Christ’s redeeming love, we pray to the Lord. 
Ø With appreciation for the beauty of this land and it river, we pray for the protection of all creation and that this property will continue to be a locus of spiritual blessing, we pray to the Lord.
Ø Remembering all the sisters who have gone before us, especially Sister Mary Catherine and Sr. Peg; invoking their intersession for the two foundresses who remain among us, Sr. Mary Anne and Sr. Paula, and upon the entire community, we pray for an outpouring of the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord.
Ø With grateful hearts we remember the many women who have sojourned for a time with this community; may they be blessed always in their spiritual journeys, we pray to the Lord.
Ø On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we ask that those hearing the call of God will be given listening hearts and guidance in discernment.  With appreciation, we pray too for all women in vowed religious life, that our Church and all the People of God will offer them generous support, we pray to the Lord.
Ø Appreciating the presence of so many here today, we also remember many others who have gone before us and offer a prayer of profound gratitude. We remember all of our friends, lay associates and benefactors, may they be abundantly blessed, we pray to the Lord.
Ø We pray for our Church; may Pope Benedict, the bishops, pastors and lay leadership be encouraged and enlightened as they respond in love to the signs of the times and the needs of all, we pray to the Lord.
Ø We remember all those who have gone before us to the heavenly feast; that they may be enjoying the fullness of God’s presence and interceding for us in our need, we pray to the Lord.
Ø For all the graces received through the intercession of our Mother of Perpetual Help, we say, “Thank you, Lord.”  In all that is yet to be, with hearts open and courageous, in unison with Mary, may we always respond with a resounding, “Yes, Lord”, and so we pray to the Lord.
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