The Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart (MCSH), a congregation for women founded by the Servant of God, Alfredo Verzosa, in 1923 marks this year its 100th founding anniversary.
The yearlong celebration of the congregation’s centenary was launched with a Mass presided over by Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa on Friday, January 27.
In his homily, Archbishop Garcera, inspired by the letter to the Hebrews, exhorted the Sisters to “remember those earlier days…”
He led them to reflect on those 100 years of service to Christ starting with the pious school founded by Mother Laura Mendoza in Bauan, Batangas, through the mandate of Verzosa, then bishop of Lipa.
From that intention came the birth of the “Religiosas de María de la Enseñanza Cristiana” (Religious of Mary of the Christian Instruction) in 1923, which was later renamed as “Misioneras Catequístas del Sagrado Corazón” (Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart) in 1947.
The main charism of the congregation is to propagate Catholic teaching which was immensely urgent during the time of its foundation: to combat anti-Catholic tenets that were being propagated by seculars.
Under Bishop Verzosa’s watch and efforts of the Sisters, catechetical centers spread widely in the old territory of the Lipa diocese which was composed of Batangas, Laguna, Mindoro, Marinduque, and Quezón provinces.
It was chronicled that there was religious revival in the region during those years only to be tested intensely during the World War II. Lipa was razed to the ground but not the faith of the people.
In the same Mass, Archbishop Garcera declared the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, which is located within the compound of the MCSH Motherhouse as a center of pilgrimage in this jubilee year.
The faithful were enjoined to visit the said chapel in any day from Jan. 27 to Dec. 27, 2023, to obtain a special grace by performing some prescribed pious acts.
Those who participated in Friday’s liturgy also received a special plenary indulgence with the faculty granted by the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary to Archbishop Garcera, which was imparted in the final blessing of the Mass.
Mother Mary Julie Micosa, MCSH explained in her speech the theme of the centennial jubilee year: “Growing deeper, living stronger, and aiming higher (Is. 40:31).” It challenges the Sisters to widen their mission not only in territorial scope but even in digital forum.
The MCSH is the first congregation for women founded by a native Filipino bishop, which remains active until now.
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