Celebration of a New/Old Rite
The Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity dates back to the fourteenth century. Revived by Vatican II, but still not well known in today's church, the rite was celebrated for Mary Huan, a CSJ associate, at Epiphany of Our Lord parish on Saturday, June 28 during a Eucharistic liturgy. Most Reverend John A. Boissonneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, presided at the liturgy and received Mary's vow. Christopher Iredale CSB and Domenico Rettura CFIC were the concelebrating priests.
Mary, accompanied by Sisters Grace Sauvé CSJ and Mary Carol Lemire CSJ, approached the altar (see photo at left), knelt before the bishop, placed her hands between his, and prayed, "Father, receive my resolution to follow Christ in a life of perfect chastity which, with God's help, I here profess before you and God's holy people."
Sister Mary Carol, along with Mary Bastedo OCV, walk with women who desire to make this commitment, helping them discern God's call to them and, if the call seems clear, initiate a meeting with the bishop. "It is a joy to know that after all these years there are women willing to respond to such a call," said Sister Mary Carol. "It is a privilege to journey with them, watch their call unfold and affirm them in it."
Sister Grace has known Mary through her many years as a CSJ Associate and was aware of her desire to spend her energies in the service of God and her neighbour. With religious life not an option, Mary approached a formalized life of consecrated virginity with great joy.
The beautiful ceremony brought together Sisters, CSJ Associates, family, friends and parishioners. Many of the latter served as choir, lectors, altar servers and, last but not least, providers of a grand reception in the parish hall.
"I can also feel the enormous tasks that lie ahead as I become a Bride of Christ," said Mary. "However, I have no fear because I have faith that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide me."
After the service, Sisters Grace Sauvé and Mary Carol Lemire, Bishop John A. Boissonneau, Mary Huan and Deacon Val Danukarjanto pose for a picture.
By Mary Buckley CSJ
Photos by Jonathan Kwan