It all began as a dream. When I was preparing for my home visit which was to be at the end of this year 2014, the year of my 25th anniversary of Profession as a Sister for the people of God.Disciple of the Divine Master, I was longing and hoping to do something significant for the people of God,to mark this special event.
Nothing was clear as to what I was to do but I felt that the perfect time to do something special would be during my holiday time.
Meanwhile back home, the rest of the family my relatives and friends were waiting for me to come so that we could continue celebrating this milestone in my life. However I had other plans and other thoughts for the celebration and I prayed about this. I had already celebrated my big day together with my novitiate companions in Rome where I had the greatest joy of having my family from all over the world celebrating it with all of us.
I was inspired to help out in my own parish, by giving this service I believed would be the ideal way to witness to the joy of being a consecrated religious.
I emailed the Parish Priest and expressed this desire . After few days without receiving any reply I was about to give up, only to arrive home in Auckland and being met by Fr. Paul who immediately asked me to give an afternoon talk to the teachers of the Parish school. He said that they are longing to hear more about ‘prayer’ and would be happy to know more about our new Pope in Rome. With excitement I replied,‘Sure, it’s my pleasure to do whatever I can for them’.
Yes It was all happening! I began by giving a presentation on Lectio Divina and shared with them some of my experiences in Rome. I felt God has allowed me to go ahead and do it with all his blessings. It was a very beautiful day and it seemed that everyone cooperated very well despite the fact that some were non – church goers, in fact it made it even more interesting.
A few days later Fr. Paul approached me again with another request from the parishioners; ‘was I free to spend an evening with them?’, as they heard about the experience with the teachers. Oh I cannot remember what I said, but obviously it was a ‘yes’ with great joy, believing it must be coming from God.
This time the talk was on Lectio Divina and on the thoughts of the Holy Father on the year for ‘families’ . There were a few questions about the church in general, and other issues. It seems to have been very successful and I felt that with God’s grace the parishioners were given hope and joy during this very prayerful encounter. Thanks be to God! The evening continued with more sharing over a cuppa in the hall and no one seemed to want to leave, as they were really into the talking mood.
On the same Saturday, the day I was leaving for Tonga I received another phone call from the priest in charge of the youth. He was asking if I could give an hour talk to the youth during their day of retreat. Even though my time was limited, I asked the Lord to help me realise this as well. Yes, I left everything and made myself available to the young people on their day of recollection. I began by asking them what they wanted me to talk about. Of course they wanted to know, What is vocation? ‘why did I become a nun? There were many why, how and when questions. I ended up talking to them for around 1hour and 20 minutes about vocations and I enjoyed this time to the full. We shared questions and good laughs over snacks before saying goodbye and heading straight to the airport. It was all God’s doing!
Hello Tonga! Yeah, I really, really enjoyed my holidays! I felt so relaxed and re-energized, ready to face what was to come after. Malo Tonga!
When I came back to Auckland there was another request to prepare the Liturgy for all the deceased of the parish in a couple of days time. Yes, bring it on, I was so happy and full of energy knowing that God never leaves me. All went very well! It was a very emotional and prayerful celebration which enabled the parishioners to feel in close communion with their loved ones. God Bless them.
On the Sunday 30th of Dec. 2014, the 1st Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Year for Consecrated Life. I’ve picked this day for different reasons, especially the beginning of the year for consecrated life. It was to confirm and reaffirm that…
‘Through Him, With Him and In Him’ nothing is impossible to God.
I felt so blessed and fulfilled as I was able to realise my dream with the Lord’s continual guidance and grace.
The highlight of my little mission was that I had the grace, the joy and the opportunity to once again renew my Religious Vows which were witnessed by my religious sisters and in front of all the parishioners of Holy Cross Parish. The Liturgy of the Mass was beautifully prepared by the whole school. What a beautiful celebration it was. Very special indeed.
I then said my goodbyes to the parishioners, families, friends and sisters over light refreshment in the hall. As the saying: ‘all good things come to an end’, and on the following day I left Auckland to head back to my community in Sydney.
Merry Christmas and a blessed and joyful New Year.
Sr. M. Cecilia Vakameilalo pd.