Diocesan News

Schoenstatt Sister serving as conference president

CRETE (SNR) – At the annual national meeting of the United States Conference of Secular Institutes (USCSI), Sister Marcia Vinje, Schoenstatt Sister of Mary of Crete, was re-elected as president of the conference.

Sister Marcia serves the Diocese of Lincoln in the Family Life Office.

The United States Conference of Secular Institutes (USCSI) was established in 1976. Its membership is open to all canonically erected secular institutes with members living in the United States. The conference was organized to offer secular institutes an opportunity to exchange experiences, to do research in order to help the Church carry out its mission, and to search for ways and means to make known the existence of secular institutes in the U.S.

The meeting was held Sept. 28-30 at the Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, Ariz.

The theme of the national gathering was “Accepting Acceptance – Living in the Moment.” Vice-president Father George Hazler of the Voluntas Dei Institute gave the opening reflection on the theme, encouraging attendees to accept God’s unconditional love in the present.

The keynote speaker for the weekend was Father Ralph O’Donnell, executive director of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocation at the United States Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB). His presentation was inspired by the Synod for Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment which is being held at the Vatican through Oct. 28.

During his remarks, Father Ralph stated that Christ is still calling “enough” vocations but questioned if the call is heard and answered. He encouraged witnessing to youth and accompanying them to foster vocations to the consecrated life. A panel of institute members who are in the formation process shared how their institute’s charism helped them discern their vocation.

The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix and episcopal moderator of the USCSI, celebrated Mass with the conference participants at Our Lady of the Angels Church. On hand for an explanation of the church’s stained glass windows were two artisans visiting from Germany who had crafted the windows.

Learn more at www.secularinstitutes.org.

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