Jubilee Religious: Milestones of Faith and Service

-from the 2013 USCCB Prayer Card for Vocations

Today, the Archdiocese of Washington celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Vocations with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in downtown Washington, D.C., honoring 14 area women and men in consecrated life who are marking milestone anniversaries.

These jubilarians come from many different backgrounds and represent numerous religious communities, and combined they have given 620 years of service. This World Day of Prayer for Vocations marks a time to offer thanks for lives spent bringing Christ to others, and also to pray for those who have answered Jesus’s call today and are preparing for religious life or for the priesthood, including the Archdiocese of Washington’s 76 seminarians studying to be the next generation of our priests serving our Catholic family of faith here. (For more information on our seminarians, see www.dcpriest.org.)

When Pope Benedict XVI announced the World Day of Prayer for Vocations last December, he said that vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life “are born out of the experience of a personal encounter with Christ,” and from a dialogue with him through prayer and the sacraments.

“The love of God sometimes follows paths one could never have imagined, but it always reaches those who are willing to be found,” Pope Benedict said then.

Those words ring true when considering the lives of love and service of the jubilee religious, which we can see in biographical information compiled by our archdiocesan Office for Consecrated Life. Those marking their 60th (diamond) anniversaries include:

-Visitation Sister Mary Berchmans Hannan, a longtime president and principal of her alma mater, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, where she now serves as president emerita and director of mission and ministry.

-Brother Leonard Konopka, the cofounder of the Marian Home of Prayer known for his promotion of Divine Mercy Sunday, who is on the staff of the Marian Fathers’ major seminary in Washington, where he provides spiritual direction.

-Dominican Brother Jude Locchetto, a teacher for many years and then a longtime chef for his community, the Dominican Friars of the St. Joseph Province, with whom he lives in retirement.

-Franciscan Brother Roger Petras, who served in the Holy Land for 35 years, and now shares his insights as a pilgrimage guide for visitors to the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington.

The golden jubilarians marking their 50th anniversaries include:

-Brother Jordan Baxter, the treasurer of his community, the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, who has been a financial consultant to other religious communities.

-Sister Miriam Joseph Boylan, a Franciscan Sister of the Atonement, who ministers in the Washington Retreat House sponsored by her community.

-Carmelite Father Leopold Glueckert, who teaches Church history at the Catholic University of America.

-Sister Inocencia Olmeda, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, who is a pastoral associate and Hispanic ministries coordinator at St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg.

The religious marking their ruby jubilees (40th anniversaries) include:

-Franciscan Brother Thomas Courtney, who served in the Holy Land for 30 years and is now a tour guide at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington.

-Brother Thomas Sweeney, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who teaches theology and is the Corporate Work Study Program coordinator at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park.

The religious celebrating their silver (25th) anniversaries include:

-Sister Judith Maldonado, a Dominican Sister of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima who serves as pastoral associate, director of religious education and Hispanic ministries coordinator at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg. Her twin sister, Sister Maristella Maldonado, belongs to that same religious order and is also marking her 25th jubilee. Sister Maristella serves as a pastoral associate and Hispanic ministries coordinator at St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg.

-Sister Patricia Ralph, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, teaches fifth grade at Center City Public Charter Schools’ Trinidad campus and earlier served as principal at Holy Name School.

-Sister Mary Jo Stein, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, is a family nurse practitioner at the Perry Family Health Center of Providence Hospital in Washington.