On 2nd February 2018, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan invited the Religious of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore to a Liturgy of Appreciation in the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Waterford. There are 20 Religious Orders working and praying in Waterford and Lismore, including Sisters from the USA who have recently come to the diocese.
Prior to the event, Bishop Alphonsus invited each Religious Community to write a short history of their work in the Diocese, in 250-300 words.
The story of the Sisters of Charity’s work and presence in the diocese began in 1842, when the first Sisters of Charity came to Waterford, followed by Clonmel in 1845 and Tramore in 1866. In all three foundations, the original mission was care of the sick poor and the education of children. This mission expanded over the years to include Meals on Wheels, Care of the Aged, Sodalities, schools, pre-school facilities for children with special needs, sheltered housing, prayer groups and Pioneer groups, to mention but a few.
A team of John Paul 11 Award students, from across the diocese, read the story of the work of each Religious Order. After each story, the students lit a candle to represent each Order. In the words of Bishop Cullinan, “in this way, the younger generation can honour the great work of each Religious Order and be inspired by their example.” The name of each Order was printed on rectangular boards and displayed in front of the altar in the Cathedral.
Some John Paul 11 Award students from Ardscoil na Mara, in Tramore, were involved in the Liturgy, which included scripture readings, hymns, a homily from Bishop Alphonsus and intercessions. The Liturgy concluded with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.
All joined together in thanksgiving to God for the collective work of all the Orders and remembered the deceased Sisters, Priests and Brothers, who began these good works, to the Glory of God. We prayed for each other as we strive to continue the work which began so many years ago.
In the words of Mary Aikenhead: “May our Heavenly Father give us truly grateful hearts and by His All-Powerful grace assist us to prove our love by deeds.”