Diocesan News

Year for Consecrated Life celebration planned in Hastings

All welcome to attend Aug. 9 Mass, reception to meet women religious

Story by Lesa Tines

LINCOLN (SNR) - The people of St. Cecilia Parish in Hastings will host a Mass and open house Sunday, Aug. 9 to celebrate the women religious of the Diocese of Lincoln. 

The event will celebrate the “Year for Consecrated Life” called by Pope Francis November 2015 to February 2016.  

Bishop emeritus Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln will celebrate the Mass.

Father Gary Coulter, co-vicar for religious for the diocese, is part of a diocesan committee formed to collect ideas as to the best way to celebrate the Year for Consecrated Life.

“It is  time to celebrate the gift that religious life is to the Church and look forward to the future with hope,” he said.

In November, the committee hosted an opening Mass at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln. A reception was held after the Mass and the laity of the diocese were given the chance to meet the religious orders who live in the Lincoln area. Father Coulter called the event a success, and said the committee felt it would be a good idea to host a Mass further west in the diocese, giving more people a chance to meet the religious who serve the diocese.

The committee selected Hastings because three members of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George live there. The sisters teach at Hastings Catholic Schools. Sister M. Immaculata Biskner teaches eighth-grade English, and sixth- and seventh-grade religion. Sister Christa Marie Halligan teaches English at St. Cecilia High School. Sister M. Francesca Santacroce is the elementary librarian.

The order was established in 1869 by Mother M. Anselma in Germany. In 1923, their provincial house was established in Illinois. There are several local chapters in the United States.

The sisters began working at Bonacum House, a retirement home for the priests of the Diocese of Lincoln, when it opened in 1987. The home is named after the first bishop of the diocese, Bishop Thomas Bonacum. The Sisters continue to serve there. In 1992, the Sisters began working at St. Cecilia High School in Hastings.
All religious orders from across the diocese are invited to attend the event in Hastings.

The Year of the Consecrated Life committee also invites diocesan members to find other ways to celebrate the year online at http://www.lincolndiocese.org/ycl. Many resources are available to those who wish to pray for the consecrated in a special way, including adopting a religious community. Those participating are asked to pray for an order within the diocese.
The link also contains a list of pilgrimage sites and resources for parishes and schools. 

The celebration Mass will be held at St. Cecilia Church, 301 W. 7th St. in Hastings beginning at 3 p.m. A reception will be held after Mass in the parish hall.

Father Coulter welcomes every member of the diocese to attend, and take the opportunity to meet the religious sisters who dedicate their lives to serving others.

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