S Mary Beth Bromer, director of vocations,
S Judith Marie Blizzard, and S Jane Marie Gawlik arrived in San Jose, CA, on Wednesday, November 30, to begin setting up the Felician Sisters Vocation Booth for the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM) entitled Connect Christ.
According to Sister Mary Beth, as in the past, the presence of the Felician Sisters was a welcome addition to the Conference that took place from December 1-3.
More than 3,000 youth ministers, priests, and religious from North America attended this three-day event. These individuals were able to take advantage of the opportunities for professional enrichment, praise and worship, prayer and liturgy, and were also able to build relationships with one another as well as with the representatives from the religious congregations who were present.
Renowned Christian musician Jessie Manibusan loved reconnecting with the sisters and visiting with them at the Felician Sisters booth after his performance at the Conference. Also pictured S Jane Mary Gawlik and Joan,
a youth minister from Montana
This year, the Felician Sisters sponsored the Annual Dinner of NCCYM. At the dinner, a Felician backpack, filled with a variety of giveaways, all with the Felician logo and website address on them, was provided for each person in attendance.
At the dinner, Sister Mary Beth welcomed the group in the name of the Felician Sisters and spoke to them about the importance of collaboration in helping young people today to deepen their relationship with Jesus as well as to encourage them to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
Sister Mary Beth also spoke about the need for youth ministers to help young people to listen and to discern God’s Will and to encourage them to be courageous in responding with open and listening hearts.
Finally, she shared a recent and strong message from Pope Francis on the need to encourage vocations. “Not devoting time to helping young people discern their vocations is a very serious error,” the Holy Father told a group of Jesuits. He went on to say, “Not promoting local vocations is suicide; it is directly sterilizing a church, the church who is mother. Not promoting vocations is an ecclesial tubal ligation. It does not allow that mother to have her children. And that is serious.” These words of the Holy Father serve as a message that Felician Sisters can take to heart.
The three full-day Conference enabled all participants to interact with the three Felician Sisters who were present in the Felician booth and to reconnect with youth ministers who have come to know the Felician Sisters through the years, which is always a highlight of being with any large gathering.
Representing the Felician Sisters at the NCCYM Conference in San Diego, from L: S Mary Beth Bromer, S Judith Marie Blizzard, and S Jane Mary Gawlik
The connections made in previous years were extremely helpful on Friday evening when the three sisters had to place 3,000 copies of The Felician magazine on each chair in the Grand Ballroom for the following morning. Sister Mary Beth said, “Thanks to the friends made through the years, we had a number of youth ministers from Montana, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey volunteer to pitch in and help. What seemed like a daunting task became lighter with the many hands that helped! We promised to say a rosary as a thank you to them!”
One of the favorite giveaways for the weekend was the Blessed Angela chaplets that the women in Haiti have been making for distribution. The reality of just how much these chaplets were appreciated and treasured became evident to Sister Mary Beth as she was walking to the luggage area at Midway Airport. There, a group of youth ministers, waiting for their connecting flights, raised their hands to show her that they were wearing their Blessed Mary Angela Chaplets on their wrists! Sister Mary Beth said, “That quick and meaningful interaction brought an awareness of how people respond to our sharing of who we are as Felician Sisters.”
Sister Mary Beth noted that she is especially grateful to Sister Judith and Sister Jane for all of their hard work during the weekend as well as to Valerie Oltmanns, executive director of mission advancement, for all that she did to ensure that the Felician Spirit continues to be shared with others and especially those ministering to the young Church.