More than 70 priests and religious sisters celebrate Jubilees with Cardinal DiNardo

October 26, 2021

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo celebrated a Jubilee Mass Oct. 10 at St. Anne Catholic Church to celebrate the jubilees of more than 70 sisters and priests who reached milestone anniversaries during both 2020 and 2021. (Photo by Megan Doherty/For the Texas Catholic Herald)

HOUSTON — Dedicated religious sisters and priests come from all around the world, but many are right in the neighborhood celebrating years of service to God like Sister Mary Alice Carbajal, originally from El Paso and Sister Carmen Sanchez from San Antonio.

Now celebrating her 75th anniversary since taking her vows, Sister Mary Alice is 96 years old and retired living at St. Placidus, which is located on the Villa de Matel campus in Houston. But she remembers her years of teaching scores of students in schools in California, Guatemala and at the local St. Mary the Purification Catholic School.“I always wanted to be a sister since I was in second grade. I would tag along with my mother and aunts when they would help the Dominican sisters at church,” Carbajal said.

Sister Carmen Sanchez, celebrating her 50th anniversary, is now directing St. Martha’s Kitchen. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her staff fed more than 200 people a day with hot to-go meals from its pantry and kitchen off Navigation and Jensen Drive.

“About 65% are homeless, and the rest are poor families and elderly. Some even come in wheelchairs. But I receive as much from them in spirit as I give,” Sanchez said.

Because of COVID-19, this year was the first time in the past two years that Daniel Cardinal DiNardo celebrated a Jubilee Mass this Oct. 10 at St. Anne Catholic Church, along with retired Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz, celebrating his own 50th anniversary, and more than 70 sisters and priests who reached milestone anniversaries during both 2020 and 2021.

Monsignor Bill Young, 77, pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church on Buffalo Speedway for the past 12 years, celebrated his 51st anniversary this year. But he truly celebrated his 50th last year with family, Monsignor Young said.

The church put together a 51st anniversary video on its website showing photos of Monsignor from childhood through ordination in 1970, as a teacher and principal, to his current work in the parish.

Feeling God’s call since he was an altar server in sixth grade, Monsignor Young said, “First of all, I would do the same path. I would walk myself to church. I just felt God’s presence — there were no falling stars.”

After surviving several heart surgeries, Monsignor said, “I came to the realization that every day is a treasure. You can’t wait for everything to be just right before you allow yourself to be happy. Every day is a treasure.”

Sister Francisca Faseemo, S.S.M.A., feels that same joy and celebrated her 25th anniversary last December by returning to her native Nigeria to share with family and friends.

“This has been a beautiful way to give my life to God and to serve others. I attended Catholic high school and this gave me the inspiration to share the joy of giving your life and being in union with God through prayer,” said Sister Francisca, who came to Houston in 2015.

Father Chacko Puthumayil, who recently retired as pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in La Marque, is celebrating his 50th anniversary this year after being ordained Dec. 14, 1971, in India.

He started his priestly ministry in the Vijayawada Diocese and was also a teacher of spiritual theology in seminary before coming to Houston in 1997 and acting as parochial vicar at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land.

“I helped serve in 27 to 30 different communities plus studied in Rome and traveled to the Holy Land,” Father Puthumayil. “I feel happy,” he said, en route to Chicago to visit family and then on to India.

Vicar for Religious Sister Francesca Kearns, CCVI, helping to organize the Jubilarian celebration and celebrating her own Diamond Jubilee after taking vows at Villa de Matel 60 years ago, said, “Jubilee time is… a time to ponder the mystery of how God has been present and guiding us all the way, even when we were unaware of his guidance. It’s a time of gratitude for the people we have served with and ministered to.”

She added, “It’s a time of humility to recognize how the people whom we served taught us so much and revealed to us the deeper meaning of our vocation and our next best step in ministry. Graced by a grateful pause, we are renewed to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope. As Cardinal DiNardo reminded us in his homily, our lives and communities have prepared us to enter fully into the Synod of 2023.”

Jubilarians 2020

75 Years
Sister Mary Alice Carbajal, O.P.

Diamond – 60 Years
Sister Barbara Ann Cernosek, O.P.
Brother Roger F. Clement, M.S.
Sister Margaret Christina Collins, CCVI
Sister Jacqueline Driscoll, CCVI
Father Albert Gaelens, C.S.B.
Sister Josephine Marie Godinich, O.P.
Sister Mignonne Konecny, O.P.
Sister Mary Jean Olsovsky, O.P.
Sister Mary Laura Rembold, O.P.
Father Christopher Schmitt

Golden – 50 Years
Father Philip A. Acquaro, C.S.B.
Sister Ann Mary Brangan, CCVI
Father Franco Cecchini, C.R.S.
Monsignor Rolando V. Diokno
Father Martin J. Iott, O.P.
Father Andrew Meiners, C.Ss.R.
Father Paul F. O’Connor, C.S.B.
Sister Miriam Oliveros, O.P.
Father Jose J. Tharayil
Sister Betsy Ulahannan, MSMI
Monsignor William L. Young

Silver – 25 Years
Sister Patience Asu, HHCJ
Sister Mary Brenda, O.P.
Father Rafael Becerra
Sister Francesca Binh Bui, O.P.
Sister Morenikeji Francisca Faseemo, SSMA
Father Santy Kurian
Father Waldemar Matusiak, S.Chr.
Sister Bernadette Hoai Huong Nguyen, O.P.
Sister Temitope Veronica Ogunlade, SSMA
Sister M. Gloria Okpara, DMMM
Sister Francesca Okwara, D.D.L.
Father Tin Cosmas Kim Pham
Joelma Regis, Focolare Movement
Sister Magdalen Thuy Tran, O.P.
Sister Anne Catherine Minh Tam Vu, O.P.

Jubilarians 2021

75 Years
Sister Gertrude Pena, O.P.

Diamond – 60 Years
Sister Eleanor Dickmann, O.S.B
Sister Rosalie Karstedt, C.D.P.
Sister Francesca Kearns, CCVI
Sister Miriam Therese Miller, CCVI
Father Roy J. Oggero, C.S.B.
Father Les Francis Schaefer, C.S.B.
Father Peter H. Voelker, C.Ss.R.

Golden – 50 Years
Sister Mary Patricia Driscoll, CCVI
Father Kenneth Heberlein
Father John H. Kappe
Sister Mary McHale, CCVI
Sister Theresa Thuy-Dung Nguyen, O.P.
Father Stephen J. Payne
Father Chacko Puthumayil
Father Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.
Sister Carmen Sanchez, MCDP
Retired Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz
Sister Sheila Sullivan, CCVI

Silver – 25 Years
Father Ramon J. Arechua
Father Jhon J. Florez
Sister Cecilianna Ha Le, O.P.
Sister Ann Bosco Minh-Hue Nguyen, O.P.
Sister Maria Theresa Kim-Hong Nguyen, O.P.
Sister Marie Thérèse Nga Nguyen, O.P.
Sister Maureen Jubilet Nwajiobi, DMMM
Sister Maria Vinflora Onije, DMMM
Father Thomas V. Ponzini
Father Gary A. Rickles
Father Charles J. Samperi
Father John Kare Taosan