Jubilee Mass honors four Sisters of Mercy

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By Anne Marie Rodriguez
Umatuna Si Yu’os

Four Sisters of Mercy (RSM) jubilarians celebrated and renewed their vows on the morning of May 26, 2018 at the Dulce Nombre Cathedral-Basilica. Celebrating the Mass was Archbishop Michael Byrnes assisted by Deacon Anthony Leon -Guerrero.

The concelebrants included Fathers Thomas “Tom” McGrath of the Society of Jesus (SJ), Melchor “Mel” Camina, Danilo “Dan” Trajano, Gerardo “Gerry” Hernandez; Fathers Andre Eduvala and Eric Forbes of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap); visiting priest Father Mario Arnulfo Gaite; and Msgr. James L. G. Benavente.

Dozens of family and friends came to celebrate the Mass in honor of the jubilee of Sister Maria Rosario Gaite, RSM, who celebrated 25 years; Sister Mary Emiline Artero, RSM, and Sister Mary Rose Elliott, RSM, who both celebrated 60 years; and Sister Bernadette Marie Leon Guerrero, RSM who celebrated 70 years of love and complete surrender to the Lord and his church.

Before the jubilee Mass began, Guam Mercy administrator Sister Marian Thérèse Arroyo, RSM, provided the welcoming remarks.

Father Eric Forbes, OFM Cap, was the homilist and said, “What did Jesus mean when he said, ‘Remain in me,’” he reflected on the homily, “What does it mean to ‘remain?’

“To remain is to stay—no change, no alteration. Even though life is full of changes … some things stay the same and the one thing he wants to stay the same with us is to remain in him.”

Father Forbes continued, “We can apply this principle of staying the same to time, place and condition.”

Reflecting on the service the four sisters have done throughout the years, he said, “The first way we remain in the Lord is to stay where we’re needed. Our Lord was all over the place the moment he began his public ministry and he never stayed in one place for too long.”

Father Forbes said that he showed Sister Maria Rosario that he was calling her to “remain in Guam to serve him here” and for sisters Bernadette, Emiline and Rose to spend time in the mainland to “further their education in order to come back and educate.

“Second, you have remained with Jesus through time,” Father Forbes reflected. “When a young woman makes vows as a Sister of Mercy, she is basically telling God ‘every second of every minute of every hour left to me on earth—it’s yours’ and in this way, you have remained in Christ.

“Third, we remain in Christ in terms of condition. So, not only do you give of yourself wherever you are needed, not only do you give 25, 60, 70 years of time, but you are generous, you are merciful, compassionate—all those things that fall under love.”

Father Forbes closed his homily with advice to the sisters, “My dear jubilarians, stay where you are needed, as Jesus did. Keep giving that next minute, that next hour, as Jesus did. Stay generous and stay loving, as Jesus did.

“Remain. Remain in the same place, at all times, in the same way and Jesus will take you to the place where he is now. … God bless you sisters and thanks for all you’ve done.”

The jubilee was led with beautiful music by a choir consisted of the Emmaus, Magis Guam along with the Santo Niño de Maligaya and Friends accompanied by pianists/keyboardists Dolly Diaz and Joe Sanz, flautist Ona Hardy, drummer Richard Arroyo, and bassist Danny Perez. The choir was directed by Arlene Chua.

A fiesta was held on the Academy of Our Lady of Guam campus grounds following the Mass. Family and friends gathered to greet and have fellowship with the Sisters of Mercy.