A Jubilee Celebration for Two Handmaids of Our Lord
This is the Day the Lord has Made!! May 31st is the Feast of the Visitation, Our Blessed Mother Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. This year the feast day brought with it the celebration of Sr. Rubi Arellano's and Sr. Nida Gagarino's 25th anniversary of entering consecrated life, their first vows as Sisters Servants of the Visitation. Magnificat!!
The center of the celebration was Holy Mass celebrated in Magnificat Hall presided by Bishop Crispin Varquez and concelebrated by Fr. Cyril Calibag, Fr. Biboy Bormate, Fr. Josel Martines, Fr Al, Monsignor Pepe Quitorio and two deacons of the Diocese of Borongan, Rev. Arthur Afable and Lex Geram Amboy. Also present were religious Sisters from the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, Oikos Ptochos Tou Theou, Living the Gospel community, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The Guardians of the Visitation, Sisters Servants of the Visitation Mission Aid Bato and the children and young ladies of Ain Karim and several special guests were also present to witness the renewal of their vows and support the Sisters as they affirm their devotion to God
Sr. Rubi Arellano's Remarks Thanksgiving:
"In gratitude to God and to all of you present here, glorifying with us this afternoon, in this Eucharistic Celebration presided by Bishop Crispin and joined by our priests of the Diocese of Borongan, we thank you for celebrating and remembering the 25th anniversary of our religious consecration. Sr. Nida and I are sincerely grateful to you for the love and support you have shown us this day.
Who can imagine we would be able to arrive in this moment! We believe deeply it is through the Grace of God this event of our lives has been made possible and it is because of this belief it is only through His Grace we are here now- that gives us the strength to go forward with confidence- on our journey of consecrated life.
Twenty -five years ago- it seems just like yesterday … the feeling of joy, of the freshness of our vocation remains, even though we are not so young as when we made our first profession; I was just 22 years and Sr. Nida was just 23 years old. Through the years we have encountered many challenges, many surprises, temptation, and difficulties. But it is the joy of being called by God-this is the treasure of our hearts that always remains and the freshness of that calling abides there still after 25 years of being a religious sister. We thank the Lord for the gift of our vocation that never fades! God has conserved it always in our hearts and we have collaborated with Him to tend and care for our vocation so it may bear fruit in His design.
We thank all the people who accompanied us in our journey from the very beginning: First of all our parents and families, our mother foundress - Mother Vincenza Minet, mother general - Sr. Maddalena, the Sisters Servants of the Visitation, all our superiors and formators - particularly to Sr. Noemi and Sr. Patrizia, our spiritual directors, especially our very first Spiritual director Fr. Leroy Geli, and all the our spiritual directors who accompanied us in our journey until now, Fr. Dale - our chaplain, To all people whom we have met , served and journeyed together; to our Guardians of the Visitation here in Borongan , who are so faithful to us to journey with us and stand also as our Ninangs in this celebration, our Guardians of the Visitation from the US, our benefactors, friends, all the religious in different congregations ( name ) to our girls, children and here to the people of Catian, who since when we were novices we began to serve, to the Italian people, our friends there, and the priest who accompanied our spiritual journey when we were there.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Borongan, Bishop Crispin, all the priests with us today, thank you for your prayer and support.
Today our entire church is celebrating the feast of the Visitation of Our Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth; a day we also celebrate solemnly as the feast day of our religious family. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord “, the hymn of Mary in glorifying our Lord. Together we glorify the Lord for the many good things that He has shown to us as consecrated to God: there are 5 SSV Sisters in different communities around the world celebrating a 25th anniversary today! 2 here in Borongan Sr. Nida and me, 2 in Italy, and 1 in Brazil, 2 sisters 65th in Italy, 2 sisters 30th in manila, 20th, 10th sisters in Italy and some are renewing their vows.
We ask all of you for your continued prayers for us, through the intercession of Our Mother of the Visitation. May she always intercede for us to welcome Jesus in our lives as Mary welcomed him in her life. In particularly we implore the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us and grant us the grace to know more intimately Our Mother Mary, the model of the church and our model, the mother of Jesus Christ, who brings us love and unity in our community and every family- like the school of Nazareth where Christ became flesh and indeed visible. We continue to ask Mary to accompany us always in our journey of faith and love. We hope that our presence in your midst is a witness to you and all people of the continuation of Mary’s Visitation to humanity.
Please continue to pray for us, for our perseverance and faithfulness to Jesus- to be who He called us to be… His own.
Thank You and God Bless us All!!!!