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Tucson Oblates mark transition

Tucson Oblates mark transition - (10-11-2017)

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Photo: Benedictine Sister Kathleen Clare Lahl, OSB (far left) and Sister Sarah Schwartzberg, OSB (far right) participated in the transfer ceremony of the Tucson, Ariz., Oblate meetings to its new location at Saint Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church.

A beautiful transfer ritual marked the change of site for the Tucson, Arizona, Oblate meetings from the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration's monastery to Saint Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church.

Benedictine Sister Kathleen Clare, Lahl, OSB began by acknowledging how difficult it is to leave the monastery but noted that Oblates have the blessing of going to a place where they are truly welcome.

Tucson Superior Sister Joan Ridley, OSB added that the group would not be going to an Episcopal church were it not for Vatican II and the ecumenical movement. She also noted that the laity have become much more important in spreading the charism of Saint Benedict.

Congregational Oblate Director Sister Sarah Schwartzberg, OSB remarked that a “time of transition is a time of confusion because we must reconstruct meaning.” She reassured the Oblates that their bond with the Sisters will continue despite the greater distance. “We are moving,” she said, “from one sacred place to another.”

Sharon Hammond, an oblate dean, began a candle-lighting ritual accompanied by readings and psalms. Everyone present was given a lovely tea candle. Deans Hammond and William Joseph stood before the assembly, each with a taper in hand. In the dimmed light of the room, two lines walked in silence to have their candle lit. These were placed on the wooden table by the statue of Saint Benedict.

Throughout the rest of the ceremony, which included scripture readings and responsorial psalms, the candles cast a soft glow. The candles were extinguished as the Oblates processed out at the end of the ritual.

At Saint Philip’s, the candles were lit again. The Oblate banner was placed at the front of the room. The group was warmly welcomed by Father Robert Hendrickson, rector, and Father Peter Helman, associate rector. After the formal program, refreshments were available. A tour of the main features of the Saint Philip’s campus was offered.