▪ We joined in the Christmas Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with a large crowd of people who participated in the Liturgical celebration by the Pope. Pope Francis told the faithful to reflect on the meaning of Christmas which is above all a taste of hope because, for all the darkness in our lives, God’s light shines forth. He is born in Bethlehem which means a “House of Bread” in this way, he seems to tell us he is born as bread for us, He enters our lives, to give us life.
▪ United with the Church together with the Procura community and the workers we prayed the Christmas novena for peace in the world and for those suffering from the natural calamities that are happening in the world today, earth quakes, hurricanes etc.
▪ Sr. Izabela Świerad, the Superior General, together with her three Councillors, Sr. Liberata Niyongira, Sr. Anna Małdrzykowska and Sr. Honorata Lyimo, participated in the meeting organized by the UISG, where the newly elected members of the general administrations from different congregations were introduced.
▪ After 25 years of faithful service in Rome, Sr. Brunhilde Vogt left for her homeland, Germany. Sr. Izabela gave a word of thanks to Sr. Brunhilde on the behalf of the Congregation. She said, Sr. Brunhilde will be remembered in a special way, especially for her punctuality, orderliness and preciseness in everything she did.
▪The Indian Pallottine group of Fathers and Sisters gathered in our Generalate for their annual gathering. Among them were our two Sisters- Magdalena and Sr. Christina. They also had the Mass in our chapel and afterwards enjoyed an Indian Cuisine luncheon.
▪ Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, the General Rector and his new administration team invited our General Superior and her new team to SS. Salvatore in Onda for their first common meeting after the General Chapters, and a thanksgiving Mass at the altar of St. Vincent Pallotti.
▪ The new parish priest of Santa Maria delle Grazie Parish, Fr. Giovanni Martire, from the Trinitarina Order, on the occasion of the feats of St. John of the Cross, invited all religious from the parish for the Rosary, Vespers and the Holy Eucharist celebration. After, there was a sharing of the “Agape” cocktail in the Fathers’ hall.
▪ Srs. Izabela Świerad , Stella Holisz and Anna Maldrzykowska were honored to take part of the Christmas gathering organized by the new Polish Ambassador to the Holy See, Janusz Kotanski on 13 of December in the Polish Embassy.
▪ In SS. Salvatore in Onda our Sisters participated in the Conference organised by the Pallotti Institute with the theme: “The Mother of Divine Mercy in Pallotti’s Spirituality”, presented by Sr. Lilia Capretti CSAC.
▪ In the context of changes to the Vinzenz Pallotti Hospital at Bensberg, the community will be closed by the end of this year. The hospital will be given to the Society of the Franciscan Sisters of Olpe, which already have been shareholders for several years. After due deliberation with the Sisters at Bensberg, the decision was taken in view of their age and a concomitant loss of strength.
▪ In January, the eight Sisters will move to Refrath, 5 km away, in order to build a bigger community with the five Sisters there. In a thanksgiving service the sisters, employees and former patients together with their relatives bid farewell to the Pallottine Sisters, after 58 years of beneficent work at Vinzenz Pallotti Hospital.
▪ Our Sisters in Laurel, Maryland enjoyed four full weeks of the beautiful liturgy of Advent, trying to stay focused, with Mary accompanying us through all the events. Once again, Pallotti High School and St. Mary’s Parish welcomed the homeless for the Winterhaven program the week before Christmas. During that time our new assistant pastor, Fr. Phil, came to say Mass for the sisters, bringing his father (widower), who is also studying for the priesthood. On Christmas Eve, Srs. Karen Lester, Patrice Wales, Bernadita Peterson, Susanna Brabaender, and Clelia gathered for holy hour, followed by blessing of the Christmas crib and Christmas tree. Sr. Karen Lester attended the UAC meeting in Baltimore, which was enriched by the presence Ms. Donatella Acerbi, UAC President from Rome, who also stayed in the Sister's convent overnight.
▪ Sr. Francesca Lowis joined the members of Holy Rosary Parish, of which she is a member, in Buckhannon, took part in an Advent Parish Mission. For the second time since the devastating floods in parts of West Virginia the Catholic Parish in Buckhannon sent several truckloads of supplies to Richwood,WV. The Marists and Pallottine Missionary Sisters have fond and long lasting connections to Richwood. The Employees of St. Joseph's Hospital donated 157 pairs of winter boots to local underprivileged children. Several departments also collected some warm clothing for the needy after the extreme flood as part of their Christmas celebration
▪ The Pallottine Missionary Sisters from England and Tanzania held their 50th Provincial Chapter at House of Formation in Arusha from the 3rd to the 9th December. The theme of the Chapter was: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for men.”( Col. 3:23). Sr. Josephina D’Souza, Vicar General was present and was the moderator during the Chapter Sessions. A new Provincial Team was elected: Sr. Basilisa Jacob, Provincial Superior, Sr. Redempta Mallya, Vice Provincial and Councilors, Srs. Fabiola Gurti, Martha Ayaqhoda and Adela Mnyambii. For the first the elected team is composed of only Tanzanian Sisters. We are grateful to Sr. Mary McNulty, the Provincial and the former administration team, for their dedicated service and we wish the new team every blessing and success in their new apostolate.
▪ Sr. Justina Hilary returned to the Siuyu community after the completion of her studies for a Diploma in Special Education at Kampala University in Uganda.
▪ On the 3rd December, our two volunteers, Patricia and Allan Bunworth from Ireland said farewell after working at Pallotti Girls Secondary School for three years. We are very grateful for their service and wish them good health and success as they return home to Ireland.
▪ On the morning of 3rd December a fire burnt one of the dormitories at Pallotti Secondary School in Siuyu. The dormitory accommodates 20 students. All the furniture and some of the students' belongings were damaged. Thank God that no one was hurt. Until now, it is not known who caused the fire. The School Administration, School Board and the Singida Regional Education Authority are still working together to find out the source of the fire.
▪ A special Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Joseph Parish. We thank Our Lady for her guidance and protection of Belize during the hurricane season. Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Glancy celebrated the Mass with four concelebrants.
▪ December 15th was the day for the elderly and poor of Belize to receive their Christmas Hamper. Many hands made the packing of the hamper for them a joy. A good number of business men/women and generous individuals helped us to provide hampers for about 100 elderly in the City. The hampers contained the staple of variety of food. Before distributing the hamper we gathered for prayer and sang Christmas carols. Some rosaries, medals, prayer leaflets, and holy pictures were also distributed.
▪ The Pallottine Missionary Sisters held more Christmas parties, also for sick and homeless people. The Union members joined Sisters by preparing boxes with Christmas gifts and Christmas food. They visited the mentally ill patients in the Palm View Hospital in the village of Maya Mopan, where together they sang Christmas Carols and shared Bible reflections. They all joyfully participated in the festivity and also enriched Visitors with their poems and prayers. After the spiritual sharing, all enjoyed Christmas meal. The gathering ended with the song “Feliz Navidad, I Wanna Wish You a Merry Christmas” for everyone.
▪ The Pallotti School of Music is being revived by Sr. Therese’s past student, Stephanie Coye who has excelled in art. She has recruited more students and encouraged past students, to join her in making the school come alive again. On December 18th they gave a Concert in honor of Sr. Terese for the legacy she had left for them. The performers mesmerized the audience with Classical and Belizean Music.
▪ The Provincial Assembly was held on December 28th. The theme was "Heart Full, Hands Empty and Love for the Poor". The reports made Sisters aware of the happenings in other communities and ways in which they can help each other.
▪ On the 8th of December 2016, Sr. Marta Litawa, the Vice Regional Superior accepted six candidates to Postulancy in Ruhango Community. Sr. Martha with great joy wished them a fruitful time and spiritual discernment in their time of formation.
▪ On 28 December 2016, the Inauguration of the first convent for Pallottine Missionary Sisters took place in Uganda, in the Masaka Diocese. The inauguration ceremony was officiated by the Rt. Rev. J.B Kaggwa, Bishop of the Masaka Diocese, in the presence of Sr. Marta Litawa, Vice Regional, Sr. Cecilia Bimenyimana, Regional Councillor and Members of the new community, Srs. Odetta Musabyimana, Superior of the community, Sr. Consolée Mukayirabuka and Sr. Rosa Nyirahabimana Makeke. They were welcomed by the Parish Community and some members of the Union of Catholic Apostolate, Masaka Diocese, during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Blessed Sacrament was placed in the Tabernacle and faculty of administration was given to the Superior of the community and the keys of the convent passed over to her. The ceremony was concluded with a nice meal and speeches.
▪ On the 8th Sr. Irina Cziczerowa from Russia, made her religious profession in Gniezno. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Bishop Bogdan Wojtuś. Sr. Irina was sent to Russia, her homeland, and she will belong to the community of Yekaterinburg, where she will be working in the parish as the catechist and animator for youth.
▪ Christmas is always a good opportunity to find people in need and share with them what we have, friendly and generously. This year, the Pallottine Family in Poland, moved by the situation of the inhabitants of Umbria in Italy, who were stricken by an earthquake, especially the Pallottis’ living in San Giorgio (a birthplace of Peter Paul Pallotti – St. Vincent’s father) and Norcia, organized aid for them. During Advent an operation called Natale-Italia was held. Pallottine Fathers, Sisters, lay members of the UAC and people of good will, raised funds for the Pallottis’. The collected sum was delivered as a Christmas gift to San Giorgio by Fr. Józef Lasak, SAC – Vicar General.
Dear Readers, Sisters and Friends,
With heart of gratitude we desire to thank you for your
beautiful cards, warm wishes and sincere prayers for Christmas and New Year.
May God in His Infinite love and Mercy accompany us all with His Blessings throughout every day of Year 2017.
United in Jesus and Mary,
Sr. Izabela Swierad and the General Councillors.