Mass will honor members of religious communities

Categories: Around the Diocese,consecrated life

By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor

When Scott Baynes started courting his wife, Meaghan, he often attended daily Mass at St. Peter Parish in St. Cloud where she was a cantor. Crosier Father Kermit Holl was the pastor, and the couple and he became friends.

After they married, they regularly invited him to their home for supper, and he would often bring other members of the Crosier community. Through this fellowship, the couple developed an appreciation for the Crosiers’ values, charisms and spirituality.

In 2010, when the Crosiers were inspired to revisit a challenge issued from Vatican II to go back to their roots and remember how and why their order was first formed, Scott, Meaghan and about a dozen others formed a focus group to explore the history. From these discussions, the Crosier Associates program was born.

consecrated_graphic“We learned about the Crosier spirituality,” Scott said.

“But it also is about us bringing back to them our lives and our experiences. There’s not just one benefactor in this relationship. It is mutual giving and sharing.”

This is just one example of the effect religious communities have on the lives of families in Central Minnesota.

Recognizing such contributions is one of the reasons Bishop Donald Kettler is inviting all people of the diocese to attend a special Mass for Consecrated Life at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St Cloud. An outdoor reception will follow.

“We are richly blessed by the presence of so many dedicated religious men and women in our diocese,” Bishop Kettler said. “I am sure that every parish, in some way or another, has experienced the ministry and charisms of the various religious communities.”

Outreach and gratitude

When Bishop Kettler heard that Pope Francis announced that the Year for Consecrated Life would begin on the First Sunday of Advent in 2014, he requested a diocesan committee to form and explore ideas for recognizing the contributions of the religious communities within the Diocese of St. Cloud.

He invited each religious community to select two members to be part of the committee, along with Father Robert Rolfes, vicar general of the diocese, and lay member Eileen Farrell, music director for St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Benedictine Brother Lucian Lopez co-chaired the committee with Franciscan Sister Clara Stang.

Since each of the individual communities was hosting its own activities to mark the year, this was a way for the diocese to honor all the communities inside its borders as well as those from other religious communities who are serving in local parishes, Brother Lucian said.

wake_up_the_worldThe committee, which met monthly, settled on two goals. The first was to send members of the religious communities to speak at each of the 131 parishes in the diocese during weekend liturgies.

Sister Clara was one of the speakers and visited the parishes of Mary of the Visitation in Becker/Big Lake, St. Kathryn Parish in Ogilvie and St. Mary Parish in Mora. She talked about the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls’ purpose, their spirit and their Franciscan spirituality.

“I also talked about the charisms of St. Francis and St. Clare,” she said. “And I shared a little about my own vocation and the ministries I have been involved in as a Franciscan sister. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I feel that others did, too,” she said. “I could just tell that people were really listening.”

The second goal the committee established was to help Bishop Kettler express his gratitude and provide an opportunity for people of the diocese to come together with members of the religious communities to publicly honor their contributions.

An unexpected outcome of the committee was the opportunity it afforded the members to “reconnect” or get to know one another.

“As a Benedictine brother, I don’t always have the time to get out and meet with religious from the other communities in the area. It was sort of like a reunion for us to get together and learn more about each other,” Brother Lucian said.

Sharing their lives

The theme for the Year for Consecrated Life is “Wake up the world!” Brother Lucian said the talks were a chance for people to learn about religious life — people who may not get to “lay eyes on a religious.”

“We had the chance to share how each of us encounters God,” he said. “That’s really what religious life is all about.”

The Baynes are still members of St. Peter along with their four children. Scott is a partner in the information technology outsourcing company Netgain in St. Cloud while Meaghan currently works part-time as a substitute teacher.

“We are all called to holiness and we all have gifts,” Scott said. “We don’t go to church to be an attendee, we go to be an active participant and ask ourselves how we can help each other. I think the Crosiers have developed that part of our formation. I certainly know that I am on a journey and the Crosiers have been an important part of that journey.”

The Year for Consecrated Life continues through Feb. 2, 2016 — the World Day for Consecrated Life.