The U.S. Province Assembly: "Gather Us In"

Monday, January 12, 2015

(Want to see a little video of the Assembly? Click here!)

OK, here's the answer: Acts like a highway in your brain. Whats the question?

The Chaparral Sisters challenged all the other members of our Provincial Assembly not only with that brain teaser but with four other stumpers in a hotly contested match of Liturgy Jeopardy. They'd invented the game as their community's contribution to our all day Friday workshop on Liturgy; it wasn't easy. No softballs like, say, "The Magnificat" or "Book that we use in Liturgy of the Hours." Those would have been a piece of cake  --  "What is the Canticle of Mary at Vespers?" and "What is the Breviary?" But nooooo.....not our friends from the great Southwest. They went for the thinking liturgist's puzzles, and so it was a lot of fun! Here are two others: "Aid in praying the Office."  "Missionary motivation for liturgy." You can find the answers at the end of this story.

The other communities also provided some interesting material on the Liturgy, though it felt a little tame after Jeopardy! Still, we were very glad to receive some insights into the practice of the Office of Readings courtesy of the West Philly sisters and a nice little hand-sewn booklet of settings for psalms and the Te Deum to boot and to see a slide show about the sacristy and what it can provide for prayer from Worcester, followed by some reflections on the liturgy.


Saturday was a change of pace: a whole day devoted to the Spirituality of the Second Half of Life organized and animated by three members of the West Philadelphia Friends of Assumption: Jim Schwartz, Joan Rolland and Paul Coglan. A group of about 20 sisters and 30 lay friends watched a thought-provoking video of Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM to get things going, and then had a real Do-It-Yourself afternoon sharing their own spiritual journeys, guided by Jim, Joan, and Paul as they did so. Mass and lunch punctuated the day, with the Eucharist being celebrated by Monsignor Joe Murray, the much loved pastor emeritus of St. Stans Parish in Lansdale.


Finally, Sunday saw the Sisters once again reflecting on being in this second half of life, this time with the help of Sr. Therese Margaret and the "elder tale" called "The Shining Fish." This story invited each of us to reflect on the spiritual tasks that people need to accomplish in order to live as fully mature people. It provoked a lot of conversation, carrying on the themes that wed enjoyed the day before.


Michelle Sherman, the director of AMA and vocation promotion for the province, offered a comprehensive mid-year report on plans for the Year of Consecrated Life (including Open Houses throughout the Province on February 8 -- check your own community for details), and for the Bicentennial Year of 2016-17 that will celebrate the 200th birthdays of Saint Marie Eugenie, the foundress of the Religious of the Assumption. In addition to being great events in their own right, these will also serve as a run-up to our Provinces celebration in 2019 of 100 years in the USA. So stay tuned!


[Questions for Liturgy Jeopardy: What is arriving early? and What are requests for prayer?]


- Sr. Nuala Cotter, RA