PALM BEACH GARDENS | Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito joined religious men and women for a vespers prayer service Oct. 10, 2021, at St. Patrick Parish in Palm Beach Gardens.
Priests and sisters who are members of religious orders serving in the Diocese of Palm Beach prayed evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. They were welcomed by Sister Vivian Gonzalez, diocesan delegate for religious and a member of the Religious of Mary Immaculate, who also handles parish outreach at St. Patrick.
The bishop expressed his gratitude for the work of local religious to build the kingdom of God.
“It’s a joy to be with you this afternoon as the religious of our diocese,” he said. “We are so blessed by your presence, your ministry and your prayer, which truly are the center of what we are all about as the church.”
The service featured music led by Father Aidan Lacy, pastor of St. Patrick, along with cantor Sandi Baran and musician Terri Ipsen.
Sister Colleen Brady of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany offered a short reflection on the relationship between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, and how Mary’s “Yes” to the angel Gabriel should model our willingness to be open to the will of God.
“There are so many times in our lives that God asks us to serve using all our gifts and talents to build God’s kingdom,” she said. “It seems beyond our imagination and capabilities. We can only pray, as Mary did: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God, my savior. For God has looked with favor on his lowly servant.’”
Following the final blessing, Bishop Barbarito took the opportunity to talk about the Synod of Bishops on synodality, which Pope Francis began earlier that day.
He said every bishop around the world is to initiate the synod process in his diocese with a cathedral Mass. Bishop Barbarito said he would celebrate the 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, Mass at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens to kick off the synod in the Diocese of Palm Beach.
He explained that the word synod means “walking together,” and he encouraged the religious and anyone else to meet and talk about questions or comments they would like to make as part of the synod process.
Cathy Loh, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage, Family Life, Faith Formation and Youth Ministry, has been appointed to be the local contact person on the synod, Bishop Barbarito said.
He explained that large amounts of information about the synod will be presented on the diocesan website (www.diocesepb.org), leading toward the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.