The Diocese of Syracuse has always been blessed by the presence of dedicated religious, laity and priests who contribute to bringing to life the healing presence of Jesus and who reflect God’s great love for us.
Recognizing with gratitude their unique gifts and diverse focus of ministry, the diocese has established within its structure offices and commissions, each responding to one of these groups, for instance, Family Life Education, Community Services, Formation for Ministry, Liturgy and RCIA, and many others. Each office or commission has someone appointed by the Bishop to facilitate that particular area.
Within the community of faith, there are men and women who have chosen to live their baptismal vocation by professing vows and living a life dedicated to prayer and service. Men and women, living this consecrated life, have served in the Diocese since the time when we were part of the Albany Diocese. The first religious community, The Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Conventuals, arrived in Syracuse in 1859. Since that time, men and women of many religious orders have come in response to the needs of our people, whenever and however these needs became known. They have served with dedication and commitment through their presence and many ministries. Each religious congregation of women or men has contributed to the growth of the Diocese and has affected the lives of countless people through the manner in which they live the Gospel message of Christ’s healing presence and reflect God’s unconditional love to all they serve in their many and varied ministries.
The cloistered Dominican nuns of the Perpetual Rosary bring a special gift to our diocese, devoting their lives to prayer for our people, our Diocese and our world.
Recognizing the unique contributions made to the growth of the Church by these women and men, the Diocese has an office dedicated to their ministries and concerns. The Vicar for Religious serves through this office. The Merriman Webster dictionary defines “vicar” as “one serving as an agent of another,” the Catholic Dictionary suggests it is “one appointed by a bishop to serve as his representative in dealing with specific groups in his diocese.”
The Vicar for Religious is appointed by the Bishop to serve as his liasion with the Religious Communities in this Diocese.
The role is one of service and includes:
• Communicating with the men and women religious who serve in our diocese;
• Communicating with the leadership of the religious communities that minister in the Diocese;
• Responding to concerns of our religious men and women;
• Coordinating gatherings, events, celebrations e.g. jubilees, World Day of Prayer, gatherings with the Bishop etc.;
• Preserving our history by collecting and preserving data on religious living in the diocese and on their ministries;
• Cooperating with other diocesan offices to further religious life.
“The consecrated Life … is a process and necessary gift for the present and future of the people of God, so it is an intimate part of her (the Church’s) life, her holiness and her mission.” (Pope John Paul II, Vita Consecrata)
May we all pray for the gift of men and women living a consecrated life now and in the future.
Sister Grace Anne is Vicar for Religious for the Diocese of Syracuse.