“They will seek to touch the poverty within, the inner needs of the human heart” (Bishop Michael Smith)
On Thursday 15 August 2013 at 7.30pm, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Michael Smith will celebrate Mass in St Mary’s Parish, Drogheda to inaugurate the mission of four New York religious sisters who have set up a new convent in Ireland.
Earlier this month, four members of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal left their convent in the Bronx, New York to set up this missionary outreach in the Diocese of Meath.
Bishop Michael Smith had, on a previous occasion, informed Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, that the Sisters of Mercy were leaving St Mary’s Parish in Drogheda, having served there since 1854. Cardinal Dolan, who was educated by Irish Sisters of Mercy in Ballwin, Missouri, requested the new religious community – the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal – to make their home in St Mary’s Parish, Drogheda.
The sisters are Sr Jacinta Pollard, Sr Monica Ward, Sr Veronica Cowan and Sr Kelly Frances.
The following is an excerpt from the homily of Bishop Michael Smith at the Mass:
“It is recorded that, when the Sisters of Mercy came to Drogheda in 1854, they were asked to care for the sick and educate the poor in a town where many had been denied education and great social deprivation existed. The Sisters did that, not just in Drogheda but worldwide, over the generations. They have completed the work they were asked to do.
“The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal have come to the Diocese of Meath with a different mission. They will not be teaching in schools or working in hospitals. Their focus will be to bring a consciousness of God’s love to the poor and neglected, visiting the sick, walking with the homeless, feeding the needy. They will seek to touch the poverty within, the inner needs of the human heart, with the compassion of Christ.”
Joining Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Smith will be Bishop Denis Nulty, recently ordained Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Bishop Nulty served until last month as Parish Priest of St Mary’s Parish, Drogheda and paved the way for the new convent in Drogheda. This is his first return visit to Drogheda since his ordination in Carlow on 28 July 2013.
- The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal were set up in 1988 in New York. The aim of the Community is to live the Gospel values in simplicity according to the ideals of Saint Francis as handed on by the Capuchin tradition.
- The attached photo, featuring Sr Jacinta Pollard, Sr Monica Ward, Sr Veronica Cowan and Sr Kelly Frances with Drogheda curate Fr Joseph Campbell, was taken recently. Please credit photographer Colin Bell from Pressphotos.ie if reproducing.
- It is likely that Cardinal Dolan will address the congregation in Drogheda and, if so, his script will be available after the Mass at www.dioceseofmeath.ie.
- For other photographs after the celebration, contact Fr Robert McCabe 087 9242024.