Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Monthly Vigil at Cathedral Honors LCWR Congregations

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Monthly Vigil at Cathedral Honors LCWR Congregations

Article excerpt

SANTA ROSA, CALIF. * As the bells of St. Eugene Cathedral tolled for the May 7 evening Mass, 18 men and women formed a circle in front of the cathedral to pray for members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

They have held this monthly vigil since LCWR came under strong criticism by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in April 2012 for what the congregation called "radical feminism."

LCWR represents about 80 percent of the some 57,000 sisters in the United States.

When the criticism was first made public, supporters of sisters throughout the country held vigils and demonstrations, but the small band in Santa Rosa has continued that effort, meeting, the first Tuesday of each month outside the cathedral.

During the May 7 vigil, Therese Mughannam-Walrath recounted her family's arrival in San Francisco as Palestinian refugees when she was 10 years old.

"My father visited every Catholic school in the city seeking enrollment for me, and because the term had already started, he was told there was no room. But a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet welcomed us to St. Emydius School," she said.

During each hourlong vigil, the group highlights 20 LCWR members in a litany of remembrance. The Carondelet Sisters were among the congregations recognized at the May vigil.

Vigil participants also sign a letter to all the congregations honored at each vigil.

"Be assured that we are one with you in spirit and in hope," the letter reads. …

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