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shepherds-voiceFr Jerry Lobo, the faithful companion of our Franciscan Sisters
Sr Julianah, Sr Marysia, Sr Rusiah and their family members and friends
Mother Grace and all Franciscan Sisters
Brothers and Sisters from other congregations
Benefactors and friends of FSIC
Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all, my sincere congratulations to Srs Julianah, Marysia and Rusiah for making their perpetual profession a while ago during our Eucharistic celebration.  I thank God for once again showing His love for our local Church through events like this.  The perpetual profession of the three Sisters is a solemn promise to God that from now onwards they will consecrate their whole lives to God in the service of the Church through living out their religious vocation.

I believe the three Sisters have discerned and prayed about this decision seriously, taking into consideration the three evangelical vows which they were prepared to embrace totally.  I know it will not be easy because temptations are always there.  But with the grace of God and the support of the Sisters and of their own families and friends, I believe Srs Julianah, Marysia and Rusiah will remain faithful until the end.

Secondly, my congratulations too to all the Religious Brothers and Sisters for having launched the Year of Consecrated Life last Saturday.  Those of you who were there at Sacred Heart Cathedral to witness the launching might have been informed of the reason why Pope Francis has decided to focus on the Consecrated Life beginning this month until February 2016.

Indeed, the Church is blessed with the presence of men and women who have responded to the call of God and consecrate themselves to a life of poverty, obedience and chastity.

Their charisms and spiritualities have enriched the Church.  Their specialities and expertise in various fields are helping to shape the society to be a better world.

Thank God that in our archdiocese we have the presence of both the local and international religious congregations.  Though each has its own charism and guiding constitutions, I hope you will continue to complement each other and share your resources as you carry out the mission of the Church.

I know the Franciscan Sisters have just completed their mid-term assembly and retreat thanks to the guidance of Fr Jerry.  I can see from your faces the excitement and impatience “to go to the peripheries,” responding to the challenge of Pope Francis.  This is a good sign.  And indeed it has to be so.   Because unless our religious congregations begin to  move out and be living witnesses in the society, they will gradually lose their attractiveness.

However, in this modern world, with the advancement of media technology, everyone is becoming an expert overnight.  One just needs to switch on the computer and surf the Internet, and he or she could become a theologian, catechist, liturgist, homilist, doctor, lawyer, engineer and so on.  There is so much knowledge and information in cyberspace that the present generation begins to behave as if it no longer needs others to help it through life.  But if you listen carefully, there are so many cries of pain among the young, so much confusion and misinformation they come across.

So in a world like this, what contribution can the Religious Brothers and Sisters give in order to remain relevant?  How will the present generation notice the difference in your lives?  In other words, what makes your lives attractive to a generation which is turning more and more towards itself?

I think this is the concern of our Holy Father when he declared the Year of Consecrated Life.  He does not want to give you the answers.  He wants you to discover it yourselves as you live out your vows in today’s world.

I pray that the ceremony we celebrated today, when Srs Julianah, Marysia and Rusiah publicly made their perpetual profession will help us to connect what we do here to the lives of the people we serve out there.  Let us pray for the three Sisters.  Let us also pray for our own vocations, that we will become the instruments of love wherever we are and in whatever we do.  God bless you all.

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