“I am happy to be here today on behalf of the Church of Cleveland to thank you for your service,” said Bishop Nelson Perez. “You heard God’s call and answered it all those years ago. Something enflamed your heart so much that you left one world to embrace the mystical world of Christ,” he said, adding, “This is a day of joy and remembrance.”
The bishop was addressing 79 religious sisters, priests and brothers who are marking significant anniversaries in their communities this year. He was the presider at the annual diocesan anniversary Mass and celebration on April 7 at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. Assisting Bishop Perez were more than a dozen concelebrants. Bishop emeritus Anthony Pilla also attended.
The jubilarians are celebrating 75, 70, 60, 50 and 25 years in their respective religious communities.
Celebrating 75 years are Sister M. Eugene Gear, OU; Sister Sheila Kearns, OSU; and Sister Imelda Marinovich, FDC.
Celebrating 70 years are Sister Regina Alfonso, SND; Sister John Mary Blaser, OSU; Sister Alice Chmura, SSJTOSF; Sister Marian Coughlin, SND; Sister Mary Annfrancis Demming, SND; Sister Patricia Dippel, OSU; Sister Frances Ellsperman, OP; Sister Mary St. Mark Florence, SND; Sister Hope Greener, CSJ; Sister Ignatius Jones, SIW; Sister Mary Therese Ann Lynch, SND; Sister Denise O’Riordan, SIW; Sister Maryalice Resley, SND; Sister Rosemarie Robinson, OP; Sister Helen Therese Scasny, SC; Sister Loretta Schulte, CSJ; Sister Myra Skebe, OSU; and Sister Jane Zoltek, SSJTOSF.
Celebrating 60 years are Sister Ann Marie Boehnlein, SND; Sister Mary Luisanne Breen, SND; Sister Dianne Brickman, OSU; Sister Helen Ann Brown, CSJ; Sister Margaret Cessna, HM; Sister Theresa Damicone, OP; Sister Margaret Duffy, OSU; Sister Margaret Mary Friel, SND; Sister Mary Joan Grisez, OSU; Sister Rosemary Hammer, HM; Sister Mary Helen Louise Kist, SND; Sister Marie Ellen Kuhel, OSU; Sister Patricia Kukwa, OSU; Sister Kathleen Lackamp, HM; Sister Immaculata Lynch, PCC; Sister Mary Ann Patrick Mahon, SND; Sister Mary Agnes O’Malley, SND; Mother Pia Patania, PCC; Father Robert Pittman, SSS; Sister Mary Karlene Seech, SND; Sister Theresa Marie Slonina, SSJTOSF; Sister Patricia Stellmah, OP; Sister Mary Janelle Stracensky, SND; Sister Mary Kathleen Tobin, SND; Sister M. Praxedes Wakefield, OSU; Sister Catherine Walsh, CSA; and Sister Therese Zammikiel, PCC.
Celebrating 50 years are Sister Nancy Beckenhauer, OSU; Sister Maria Berlec, OSU; Sister Mary Eileen Boyle, OSU; Sister Mary Jeanette Brown, SND; Sister Joe Marie Chrosniak, HM; Sister Virginia DeVinne, OSU; Sister Mary Carol Dikovitsky, SND; Sister Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND; Sister Mary Beth Gray, SND; Sister Maribeth Howell, OP; Sister Mary Rose Kocab, SIW; Sister Mary Sharon Kovalcik, SND; Sister Jane Lab, CSA; Sister Mary Rita Marra, SND; Sister Patricia McCaffrey, OSU; Sister Marie Christine Nicholas, OSST; Sister Mary Nancy North, SND; Sister Mary Quinlan, SND; Sister Barbara Mary Raspona, SND; Sister Marianne Saucier, SSJTOSF; Sister Valerie Shaul, OP; Sister Carol Tobler, SIW; Sister Mary Domicele Yestonsky, SND; Sister Susan Zion, OSU; and Father Angelo Zonta, CSJ.
Celebrating 25 years are Sister Catherine Arnold, OP; Father Michael Brunovsky, OSB; Sister Michelle Marie Kelly, SND; Father James Mayer, O de M; Sister Josephine Rasoamampionona, OSST; and Brother Nicholas Spisak, OSB.
“There have been ups and downs during the years and I’m sure you have some war stories.” Bishop Perez quipped, as several of the jubilarians laughed.
“Pope Francis tells us that we truly have received so much, so many blessings. It would do us well to look back on our lives with the grace of remembrance – remembering when we were first called and encountered Christ along the way,” he said.
The bishop also acknowledged the seminarians who participated in the liturgy as acolytes, servers, deacons, ushers, the choir and bell choir. “This is a special time at seminaries. These young men are on the launch pad with another year under their belts and it’s getting close to ordination,” he said. “How about you pray for them and they’ll pray for you. Deal?” the bishop asked.
After Mass, the jubilarians posed for a group photo with Bishop Perez and enjoyed a special lunch in the CPL Founders’ Room.
Additional celebrations will take place in May to recognize the diocesan priests and deacons who are celebrating jubilees.