24.11: November 24th, 2018 was a memorable day in the history of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, St. Mary Province, Bangalore, as we celebrated the Thanksgiving Mass in honour of the canonization of our foundress, St. Katharina Kasper in our parish church. Rt. Rev. Bishop Emeritus Bernard Moras solicited the Eucharist Concelebrated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Jose Porunnedom the bishop of Mananthavady Syro- Malabar diocese, our Parish Priest John Abraham, along with many priests. The Parish Church was packed with PHJC Sisters from our mission stations, Superior Generals, Provincials of various congregations, PHJC Associate Members and Volunteers who partner in our mission and ministry, well-wishers, representatives of the government and various levels of society.
The solemn entrance procession starting from the parish hall was led by the head boy and the head girl of Katharine Public School Vidyanagar carrying flags of St. Katharina accompanied by music band. The Provincial Superior, Sr. Flora PHJC, carried the relic of St. Katharina Kasper in the procession. Upon reaching the sanctuary Sr. Flora placed the relic on a decorated stand near the covered image of St. Katharina Kasper. Rt. Rev. Dr. Bernad Moras, Archbishop Emeritus of Bangalore, the main celebrant of the day, unveiled the image of St. Katharina, blessed the relic and showered rose petals as a mark of honour to the new saint followed by His Excellency Rt. Rev. Jose Porunnedom, bishop of Mananthavady and Sr. Flora. The Seven selected representatives of our ministries which included PHJC sisters, associates, volunteers, staff and co-workers also showered flower petals honouring our St. Katharina. After the veneration, all were seated for a short documentary film depicting the life and mission of the congregation.
In her welcome address Sr. Flora, Provincial Superior, quoted Bishop Georg Bätzing, “It was a very moving moment on October 14th when our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis officially pronounced the name of Maria Katharina Kasper and simultaneously her picture was shown together with the pictures of six other holy saints high above St. Peter's Square, while the whole world with gratitude and wonder watched it.” She added that “one of the precious fruits of the canonization is that now St. Katharina Kasper is a gift to the entire Church. She does not any more belong only to us, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Her writings speak volumes to the readers of any time, generating new meanings and insights for everybody”.
In his homily Rt. Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras highlighted the life and values of St. Katharina Kasper, her ardent love for the Lord and visionary spirit that surpasses the visionaries of our time. She was a champion of the poor and continues to be a source of inspiration to all of us. He noted that with her canonization, the church is offering St. Katharina Kasper to all of us as a model of deep trust, charity and mercy, through her “example, instruction and prayer”.
In her vote of thanks Sr. Flora expressed her gratitude to everyone who joined in the celebration and those who worked energetically to make the celebration a remarkable one.
The liturgy committee headed by Sr. Sharlene left no stone unturned. The floral decorations created by Sr. Lilliann Joyce and the angelic choir directed by Dr. Maya gave the participants a foretaste of heaven. Mementos and souvenir cards were distributed to mark the memory of the great event.
The invitees enjoyed an agape meal in the well-decorated multipurpose hall in Seva Nilaya. Afterwards a program entitled “A Journey with Katherine” featured a flux display of the maxims of St. Katharina, stalls distributing pamphlets and books, a story corner where Sr. Theresilla shared stories accompanied by heritage pictures of our foundress, Movie room where short movies of St. Katharina was shown and “Meet St. Katharina” where people had the opportunity meet and talk with St. Katharina.
All those who participated in the great event were a hundred percent energized, transformed, and empowered by the blessing and intercession of Katharina Kasper.