On Sunday, March 10, Bishop David O’Connell, Episcopal Vicar of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, helped the Pomona Catholic School community kick off National Catholic Sisters Week with a Mass at the school.
The event was organized by Felician Sisters Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay and Julianna Marie Vagnozzi and Pomona Catholic Vice Principal Kate Li. Also in attendance were Felician Sisters Maria Louise Edwards, Therese Ann Parobek, and Carol Marie Wiatrek, as well as Pomona Catholic faculty, alumni, and students, who served as ushers, lectors, and greeters.
Sister Desiré, who was awarded a grant from National Catholic Sisters Week in support of her plans for activities in Pomona, said, “I could hardly sleep for the past couple of days. I was so nervous about how things would turn out, but when I saw so many smiling faces and the sincerity of relationships, all the work and worry was worth it.”
The Felician Sisters have been a presence in Pomona Catholic since they accepted an invitation to staff the school in 1948. The Sisters also minister to the homeless and marginalized of Pomona at the Blessed Angela Spirituality Center, through which they provide a ministry of presence on the streets and reach out to the very poor, traveling to apartment complexes and trailer parks to minister to impoverished women, immigrant families, victims of human trafficking, and children living in transitional housing.
This week, Sister Desire and other Felician Sisters ministering in the area will be visiting the students of Pomona Catholic to talk to them about life as a vowed religious woman and their ministries. They will also lead students in a service project, painting crosses for the Águilas del Desierto (Eagles of the Desert), a nonprofit group that searches the desert for lost immigrants, hundreds of whom die in their attempt to cross the border each year. The Felician Sisters and Felician Associates in the area have been helping the Águilas make the crosses which they take with them into the desert and use to mark the graves of the dead that they find and bury.
Sister Desiré hopes the celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week will not only educate the students of Pomona Catholic about the ministries of the Felician Sisters, but also inspire them to accept God’s calling for them, whatever that may be.
Pomona Catholic will close the week-long celebration with a community dinner on Thursday, March 14 at the school. All are welcome to attend. Kindly RSVP to Sr. Desire at firstname.lastname@example.org.