Arriving from Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, three sisters are serving at St. Matthew Parish and School in Phoenix, where 90 percent of the parishioners are Hispanic.
They are members of the religious congregation known as the Missionaries of Mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, founded 24 years ago by Mother María Clara Mota Cancino and the late Bishop José Andres Corral Arredondo of Parral.
Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, director of the Diocese of Phoenix Office of Consecrated Life, said she considers the arrival of Sr. María de Jesus Alfonso Morales, Sr. María Bibiana Martinez Herrera and Sr. Ana María Bibiano de la Cruz a true blessing for the Diocese of Phoenix.
“What a blessing of God the Missionaries are for the Diocese of Phoenix and the community of St. Matthew,” she said. “Their lives consecrated to God are a witness of the love and fidelity of Jesus Christ.”
Missionaries of Mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Established: July 29, 1995 in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico
Founders: Mother María Clara Mota Cancino
Charism: To share the mercy of the Heart of Jesus through catechesis, evangelization and assistance to the most needy:
The charism of the missionary sisters is to share the mercy of the Heart of Jesus through catechesis, evangelization and assistance to the most needy. Sr. María de Jesus, the local superior of the community, said that in various cities in Mexico, the congregation is charged with shelters for children as well as the elderly and poor.
In Phoenix, they are serving in several ministries. Sr. María de Jesus is helping at the parish school which has a dual-language program.
“This is a gift of God for us three and for our whole religious community,” she said.
Sr. Ana María is helping in the marriage preparation program at the parish and also at the diocesan tribunal, since she already has some knowledge of canon law. In that role, she also serves alongside her new pastor, Fr. Nelson Libera, who is also a judge. Sr. María Bibiana Martinez is helping at the parish with youth ministry, catechism and the religious education programs.
“We have come to serve,” said Sr. María Bibiana. By the will of God, we came here and we are doing it with pleasure.”Recalling when Sr. Anthony Mary contacted him to see if he could accommodate the sisters, Fr. Libera said he “immediately said ‘yes’ to the request of the bishop.”
He said that while the missionaries are available during and after the Masses, the parishioners have begun to share their joys and sorrows with them, in search of their prayers and advice, which is a great opportunity for evangelization.
“I firmly believe it’s a gift of God for the community of St. Matthew, where we have a good number of Hispanic families,” said Fr. Libera. “I firmly believe that their presence is an instrument of evangelization in my parish.”
Religious from Latin America train to serve in U.S. mission dioceses (CNS via CatholicPhilly.com)
The next cohort of Latin American sisters is preparing at @maccollege. See some of the creative ways the first group came up with to energize Hispanic faith communities ➡️ https://t.co/CKxWFvO5TL @hiltonfound pic.twitter.com/dndoNtpQGW— Catholic Extension (@CathExtension) October 28, 2019