Many people go through life waiting for retirement. Retirement is viewed as a reward for many years of work and sacrifice. For many in religious life, the idea of retirement is completely foreign. Although Religious have spent many years working for the Church, their work is not seen as a burden but rather as a joyful response to God’s call. Religious men and women live in community with each other within the Church, and share in a life of prayer, simplicity and service until the end of their earthly days.
In Center Valley, Pennsylvania, on the Campus of DeSales University, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) have a community of senior members. These men have worked in a variety of missions around the world, some in Papua New Guinea, others in Colombia, and others in Europe. Still others in the community have had a variety of mission experiences here in the United States. Among them are men who have worked in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincies, religious formation, diocesan judicial ministry, and retreat ministry just to name a few.
The Senior MSC Continue active ministries
The majority of the senior members live together in Sacred Heart Villa, where several of them still carry on active ministries. There are two parishes which form part of the same community and besides offering ministry possibilities to the older members they also add the element of internationality with MSC from other countries who work there. One MSC helps with the formation program in Fiji part of the year and another works in ministry for married couples. Others participate in weekend ministry at local parishes, celebrate masses, and hear confessions. Some men minister to the retired priests of the Allentown Diocese and help with the Chaplaincy to our religious sisters.
Among their hobbies are gardening, writing, and photography. They also have a fitness room where many of them exercise daily to maintain their health and good spirits. They are avid sports fans, and being that they all come from different parts of the country, the competition can be felt during the televised sports events.
TOGETHER THEY SHARE IN PRAYER AND SERVICE
Perhaps the most important ministry that they carry out is that of prayer. They come together each day to celebrate the liturgy and have community prayer times as well as doing a lot of personal prayer. They are always very aware of current events and pray for the needs of people around the world. When the weather allows, the property offers ample space for praying the rosary while walking and appreciating nature, or for praying the outside way of the cross.
Since the MSC property borders with the University Campus, there are always opportunities to go to sports events or university theater or attend different conferences that are open to the public. Anyone who would like to visit our community in Center Valley will find a warm welcome. It is not only is a beautiful place for prayer and the appreciation of nature, you will be treated to mission stories that reflect the joyful memories of men who continue to give their lives in the service of the Lord.
As we lift up our prayers for the Senior Religious of Center Valley, we invite you to join us for the final days of our Lenten prayer journey.