“The Story in Albuquerque”
As we saw in an earlier installment of this graced story, different religious in the Province referred to the lay women and men in the Peoples’ Eucharistic League as “associates”. The principal expression of their association was participating in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with a strong devotion to service, study, reflection, and presentations (both in writing and in person) by the local religious who assisted the laity in their love of the Eucharist.
In our last installment, we saw how lay women and men were trained to present the Life in the Eucharist program (LITE) and partner with the Center for Eucharistic Renewal in the ministry of Eucharistic evangelizing. Pastoral staff members and employees of the Congregation were increasingly being seen as “associates”. In Albuquerque, another aspect of the growing associates phenomenon was developing.
Associate of the Blessed Sacrament Bernadette Hill recently passed away. She joined the heavenly banquet table with Andrea Montoya, two of the original women associates who assisted the early foundation of the Albuquerque male religious community. The Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament had been invited to continue the work of a Blessed Sacrament Shrine that was started in 1948 by archdiocesan priest Father Daniel B. Leary. The Congregation built a new shrine and chapel of perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in 1950 at 1224 Gold Avenue, S.E. At the invitation of Archbishop James P. Davis, the Blessed Sacrament Community moved up the street to administer Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in 1966. They also moved the Blessed Sacrament Shrine there, which made Saint Charles a center of Eucharistic devotion.
After the arrival of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation in Albuquerque, Angela and Bernadette quickly became members of the Peoples’ Eucharistic League. When the Congregation took over Saint Charles Parish, they were part of a growing community of women and men who sought to continue their association with the Congregation and its Eucharistic spirituality.
In 1986, Pastor Father Thomas Fitzgerald, SSS, invited the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament to administer aspects of parish life, including the bookstore and the growing community of lay people looking for a deeper Eucharistic spirituality. They served the parish until 1997, when the untimely deaths of two sisters at the motherhouse in Maine in January 1996 necessitated the Servants to return to their Province Center there.
In 1990, Father Bob Rousseau, sss, went to Saint Charles to introduce a number of invited parishioners to his newly-created “Life in the Eucharist” program. At the time, two sisters from the community of the Servants assisted Father Fitzgerald. Following the LITE experience, Sisters Catherine Marie Caron, sss, Edna Cardozo, sss, and Josephine Roney, sss, invited a number of the attendees to become part of a Eucharistic Prayer Association. In this program, there was collaboration between the Servants, Father Fitzgerald, and a number of lay people. Adoration was at the heart of their ministry. There was also a Life in the Eucharist Team from 1990 to 2004.
In October 2007, at the Province Assembly in Houston, Father Norman Pelletier sss, Provincial Superior, invited lay members (“associates”) from across the United States to discuss a newly-created first draft of what would become the Rule of Life for Associates (ROLA). In spring 2008, with permission from Father Pelletier, Father John Thomas Lane, sss, the last Blessed Sacrament Pastor of Saint Charles, began to form the existing group of Eucharistic associates in the vision of this new document.
He then gathered members of this group to a meeting to generate feedback for the Superior General, Father Fiorenzo Salvi, sss, who was writing, along with Sister Catherine Marie Caron, sss, a new Rule of Life for Associates (Project of Life) for laity who wished to be united with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. The group in Albuquerque made their promises on May 13, 2009. They renewed their promise commitment after the final document was published on March 25, 2010.
November 30, 2020
Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing