▪ Pope Francis opened his first Angelus of the New Year inviting us, the faithful, to join in “placing ourselves under the maternal and loving gaze of Mary, Most Holy. This gaze ensures that this time given to us by the Lord can be one that is spent for our human and spiritual growth.” The Pope continued saying that “it is time to iron out hatred and divisions, to feel that we are all more brothers and sisters, to build and not to destroy and to take care of one another and of creation. We do not know what 2021 holds for us, but what each one of us, and all of us together, can do is to take care of each other and of creation, our common home." He expressed his wish that the year 2021 be a year of peace and of hope.
▪ On January 6th, our communities from the Generalate and the guest house (Procura) due to the covid restrictions, invited only a few guests to celebrate Epiphany: Sr. Antje Eichhorn OSB, Fr. Jarosław Merecki SDS, Fr. Jarosław Rochowiak SDB and Fr. Flavio De Pascali (Italy/ Puglia). We started by gathering around the Eucharistic table and solemnly celebrated Holy Mass. Following the old tradition, we also had adoration in front of the “Bambino Gesù” (statue of the Infant Jesus), a solemn blessing and a service at the Nativity scene: Each of us was sent by Bambino Gesù to bring something to the world: love, hope, comfort, forgiveness, peace... ▪ Within the Epiphany octave on January 7th, we participated in an online prayer service via Zoom, uniting members of the UAC from all over the world, organized by the members of the National Italian Coordination Council of the UAC. Also participating in the meeting were the Superiors General: Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC, Sr. Ivete Garlet, CSAC, and Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, as well as Donatella Acerbi, president of the GCC/ UAC.
▪ This year, in which we are still in the global crisis of the pandemic where restrictions for social gathering must be careful observed, the Pallotti Feast became for many Pallottines a challenge. Many could not participate in person in the church at San Salvatore in Onda. However, this did not prevent us from living the Triduum celebrations as a profound spiritual experience of communion in God with our Founder and among us, together with those few physically present. /See on the website/.
▪ The 2nd Central Assembly took place via Zoom from 25 – 29 January 2021 with the theme: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest - Mt 11:28. This was a historical meeting in which the 17 Major Superiors of our Congregation gathered on screen thanks to the new Zoom technology. Together we reflected on the present reality of our entire Congregation and upcoming XXI General Chapter matters. During the five days, one day was dedicated to evaluate the process of Reunification and our invited guests were Sr. Ivete Garlet CSAC, Superior General, and the members of the Commission ‘Bridge of Unity’. The following day we listened to a conference on the topic Consecrated Life in the light of current events in the world and the Church. It was presented by Fr. Pier Luigi Nava SMM, Sub-Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
▪ In the United Kingdom the Covid situation continues to be very serious, where over 106,000 people have died. The Health authorities are working hard on a Vaccine campaign, concentrating on the elderly, especially those in Care Homes and the frontline workers. To date, over nine million have received the first vaccine. We thank God that all the residents and Staff of Park Mount Home in Macclesfield and most of our Sisters are among this group.
▪ As a preparation for celebrating the feast of Epiphany, the Sisters of the Siuyu Community, organized themselves in groups to do visitation in the Parish families. They visited many who were sick, elderly and the poor. They brought them little gifts of food, but their aim was to bring Christ into the lives of the people by praying with them. The people greatly appreciated the acts of love and kindness of the Sisters.
▪ On January 23rd, the Pallottine family who work in the Archdiocese of Arusha, gathered at Esso Parish to celebrate the feast of St. Vincent Pallotti. This feast was marked by two events: the blessing of the Grotto of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the blessing of a bell. His Lordship, Emeritus Archbishop Josaphat Luis Lebulu was the Chief Celebrant. His homily was based on the life of St. Vincent Pallotti. We were surprised to see how the Archbishop loves St Vincent Pallotti and knows his life story and his motto: ‘The love of Christ urges us on”. He said that he can see that love put into practice in the Church in Esso parish and thanked the Pallottine Fathers. He recalled how they began their service in a small wooden Church, and today they have this huge beautiful one with a thriving school, a centre for mentally challenged children and many facilities for pastoral ministry. He sang praises to God in thanksgiving for all that God had done among them. After the Holy Eucharist we went for a festive lunch together.
▪ Our Epiphany celebration was upon us before we realized it was here. However, here at St. Mary’s Convent in Huntington it was a simple, but lovely celebration. Unfortunately, our sisters from the Infirmary were unable to join us for the day’s event. ▪ January’s last celebration was the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti, which was solemnly celebrated in all our communities. We began with the Triduum. Also daily prayers were dedicated to our Founder, leading up to the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti. On the last day of the Triduum a special prayer service was prepared for our evening prayers. We all enjoyed beginning our day with our chaplain celebrating the Holy Mass of St. Vincent Pallotti, having our sisters from the Infirmary joining us, and celebrating the rest of the day together.
▪ Sr. Francesca Lowis proudly shares that St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon is observing its 100th. Anniversary throughout 2021. The actual official date of Dedication is March 28th. ▪ At Holy Rosary Parish in Buckhannon they observed the “Word of God Sunday.” The Bible was solemnly and beautifully displayed in front of the alter and all Lectors received a special blessing.
▪ On 16th, the province organized a virtual (zoom) Ongoing Formation conference with the theme: Mission and Discipleship. The resource person was Fr. Romuald Uzabumwana, SAC, General Consultor in Rome. We also extended the invitation to the Generalate and all the English-speaking Provinces. The participation of the Sisters from other Provinces gave us a spiritual and moral support as the number of our sisters is declining.
▪ Covid-19, the curfew, social distancing with only 10 people present prevented us from having our annual nine days novena in honour of our Founder in Pallotti High School Auditorium where the Sisters, Lay Union members and friends have always gathered for nine days and for the Mass on the feast itself. The Blessed Sacrament was always exposed. However, the virus could not control everything. Sr. Alicia Buddan held the novena and organized to have Mass in the high school cafeteria with fewer attendees. We Sisters celebrated the novena in our Chapel. Sr. Clara Teul held a virtual Triduum for the school. Our Lady of Guadalupe Media came to our Convent to take pictures and interviewed some of the Sisters. They prepared a video in honour of St. Vincent Pallotti. It was well put-together and very interesting. So, the virus did not win.
▪ On January 17th, Rev. Fr. Michael Clement, SAC preached our annual Retreat in Pinelands which prepared us for the celebration of the Feast of our Founder St. Vincent Pallotti. Sadly, the Churches in our Archdiocese of Cape Town are still closed. With hope, we continue praying that this pandemic may come to an end.
▪ From 6 to 13 January, as part of the celebration of the Octave of Epiphany, Sr. Katarzyna Gruca and Sr Agnieszka Pawlak prepared some short films which were posted on Facebook. The main theme was “God's revelation in everyday life.” The videos included reflections on a passage from the Scripture, testimonies from families, stories for children, and the entrusting of the participants to the care of the Holy Family.
▪ On 22nd January during the celebration of the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti, in the Novitiate at Gniezno, in the presence of Sr. M. Iwona Nadziejko the Provincial Superior and her Vicar Sr. Magdalena Szymczak, two first year novices received the religious habit during morning prayers guided by Fr. Andrzej Grzelak, parish priest of Gniezno. The subsequent Holy Mass was presided over by Fr. Andrzej Kozakowski, a canon lawyer of the Archdiocese of Gniezno and concelebrated by Fr. Grzelak, who gave the homily. After the Eucharist, all were invited to the refectory for breakfast and exchanging of wishes.
▪ During the octave of the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti, on 23rd January, there was a common on-line meeting of the communities of the Union of Catholic Apostolate from Starogard Gdañski and Warsaw in which the Sisters also participated. The initiators were Sr. Anna Ozon SAC and Sr. Natalia Pieckielun SAC. Other participants were UAC members from Toruń, Gniezno, Ursus, the parish of St. Mark in Warsaw and even from France. Fr. Marek Chmielniak SAC from Ząbkowice Śląskie gave an introduction reflection on the Sunday Gospel. Everyone had the opportunity to share the Word of God in the context of the apostolic vocation. The participants drew cards with thoughts of St Vincent Pallotti, prepared by Sr. Wirginina Wołąs SAC from the provincial house - Zacisze. The meeting showed that each of us has a desire to know God, to seek Him and to respond to the signs of the times.
▪ On January 5th, on the occasion of the feast of Epiphany, the Students of Saint Vincent Pallotti School in Masaka animated the liturgy during Mass. It was wonderful to see how the children get involved in parish life. Their parents appreciated the apostolate of the Pallottine Sisters who work in this school. They are proud of the Pallottine presence in Masaka parish.
▪ On January 20th, our sisters in Kyabakuza community in Uganda, participated in the funeral of the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Masaka. In the testimonies given by various people, the spirit of love which marked the life of Bishop John Baptiste Kagwa was emphasized. He was a good shepherd who took care of the flock that the Lord had entrusted to him. He also marked our mission in Uganda because he is the one who welcomed us to his diocese of Masaka in Uganda. May his soul rest in peace. ▪ January 18th was the opening day of the Nursery schools after almost a year that schools were closed due to this Covid-19 pandemic.
▪ January 22nd, both our communities in Rwanda/Congo in spite of the present situation of the pandemic, with great joy celebrated the Feast of our Founder. All our communities had a Triduum as spiritual preparation and each day had a special theme. Different talks were facilitated by our Pallottine Fathers. The communion and the sharing of our charism in the spirit of our Founder St. Vincent Pallotti was very much emphasised, giving us a deeper sense of belonging to the UAC.
▪ In all our communities the spiritual preparation for the feast of St. Vincent Pallotti began with nine-days of novena reflecting on the theme “God the infinite love”. This event was celebrated together with Pallottine Fathers and CSAC Sisters wherever it was possible. The new community in Bagbasa celebrated the feast in the Parish Church. They carried a picture of Pallotti in procession and placed it in front of the altar. Sr. Inacinha Fernandes, Superior of the community gave a brief introduction on the life of our Founder and familiarized the congregation with his charism and legacy. After the Mass snacks were distributed to all and the specially invited guests joined the Sisters for lunch. Sisters marked this event by sharing the food with two poor families who with joy said, "May Almighty God from above shower blessings on you".
Let us remember our deceased sisters
Sr. Monika Schneider *18.12.1939 †31.01.2021 Germany
Sr. Urszula Wojtczak *22.01.1925 †9.01.2021 Poland