Joy as diocesan retreat center is renamed Nazareth House

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky and the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary and members of their Family of the Two Hearts pose with Nazareth House’s new Holy Family statue.

By: By Jennifer Willems

HENRY — Naming a Catholic institution is a moment of great joy, but it is also a moment of great responsibility, according to the foundress of the religious community entrusted with the care of Nazareth House, the retreat center of the Diocese of Peoria.

Known for many years as the Christ the King House of Retreats or King’s House, the facility was renamed and rededicated during a Mass on the retreat house grounds on Sept. 15. It was a year to the day that the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary officially began their work in the diocese.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, presided at the Mass, which included a reading of the declaration of rededication, a blessing of Nazareth House, and the enthronement of a statue of the Holy Family at the entrance to the property.

Addressing the 27 members of her community and representatives of the Family of the Two Hearts who traveled from Miami to be at the Mass — as well as priests, religious and faithful from around the Diocese of Peoria — Mother Adela Galindo of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary said it was humbling to see what had taken place in just a year.

“It has been our single desire to build at the retreat center a home for this diocese, a place of reception, prayer, formation and growth, a home and a school for the spiritual renewal for all vocations in the life of the church, for all parishes, communities, apostolic movements and groups, for individuals,” she said. “To be in miniature a living reflection of the home, of the life of the family of Jesus, the Holy Family, and the church.”
Renaming the retreat center is a concrete way to reflect its nature, spirit and purpose, Mother Adela said.

“We must try to make its identity and mission very visible and perceptible. Our actions, our pastoral plans, our service and our presence here must be coherent with the name, identity and mission of the retreat center,” she explained.

PATRICIA Gibson, chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria and one of those involved in the invitation to the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary to establish their first foundation outside of the Archdiocese of Miami, thanked them for agreeing to make a home in central Illinois.

She singled out Sister Juana Maria Sanchez, Nazareth House coordinator and superior of Holy Family Convent; Sister Silvia Tarafa, now director of St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Newman Center at Illinois State University; Sister Delia Maria Morales, housekeeping; Sister Isabel Romero, food services; and Sister Sonia Mancuello, reservations, for bringing their love and commitment to Nazareth House.

“You have endeared yourselves to so many people in our diocese,” Gibson said. “We know what a big step it was to leave your community and your friends in Miami to come and work in the Diocese of Peoria. We pledge to you our ongoing love and support.”

She quipped that a few months ago her husband, Bill, had broken the bad news to her: “Patricia, I think the Sisters know more people and have met more people than you have in 40 years of living in the diocese.”

Gibson also told those who were visiting from Miami that it’s easy to locate Peoria in Illinois if they think about where the heart of the state would be located. “Welcome to the heartland.”

IN HIS TURN, Bishop Jenky said that while the Floridians had come as guests, “I hope you go home as dear friends.”

During his homily, the bishop reminded his listeners that Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, had a pierced heart, as did her Son. She continues to stand with all believers, especially “God’s little ones.”

“When we imitate her faith we grow closer to (Jesus),” Bishop Jenky said. “She not only teaches us about Jesus, she introduces us to her Son. She helps us to trust him and to say ‘yes’ to him.”

The charism of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary is dedicated to prayer and reflection on this, he explained.

“May this place, rededicated and renewed, be enriched by the presence of these religious women, who are a sign to us not only by what they do but by who they are, living signs of heartfelt obedience to Jesus and reverence for Our Lady,” Bishop Jenky said.

IN HIS declaration of rededication, which was read by Gibson and presented to Mother Adela and her vicar, Sister Ana Margarita, SCTJM, after he had signed it, the bishop said he hoped Nazareth House would be “a place of spiritual renewal, rest and comfort for the priests, deacons, religious and faithful of our local church.”

It is also his hope that it be “a home in which to encounter the love of the Holy Family, and in order that the universal call to holiness should be fostered in all of our hearts through times of retreat and reflection.”

The Mass was preceded by a luncheon and followed by a light reception.
The Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary who are not missioned in the Diocese of Peoria and the representatives of their Family of the Two Hearts arrived on Sept. 13 and were to return to Miami on Sept. 17.

On Monday night, they took part in a Night of Prayer and Spiritual Renewal at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

The evening included a Mass celebrated by Bishop Jenky and eucharistic adoration featuring praise music led by about a dozen musicians and vocalists of the religious community.

“What a blessed day for the Diocese of Peoria to welcome your entire community up here,” said Bishop Jenky in opening remarks. The Mass took place on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and Bishop Jenky’s homily described the sufferings of Jesus as well as the glory of his victory over sin and death.

During adoration, Mother Adela asked those attending to reflect on the five wounds of Christ and improve their practice of five corresponding virtues: meekness, peace, determination, fortitude, and purity of love.

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