PROVIDENCE — The October morning sky is still dark, aside from a few brilliant stars and the street lamp light illuminating the Cathedral Square bricks. It’s early and the Providence city streets are quiet, alarm clocks yet to go off, but the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Word who reside at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul are up and preparing for Mass with the bishop.
Since his arrival to Rhode Island, Bishop Richard G. Henning has been celebrating a mid-week, early morning Mass in Spanish for the four sisters who dedicate themselves to liturgical ministries, Bible studies and outreach for evangelization at the cathedral and beyond.
The sisters’ chapel is small and sacred, warm and comfortable — it feels like home.
“You can see that this is a more intimate Mass. I also like praying in Spanish. Sometimes I bumble a little bit first thing in the morning,” Bishop Henning laughed.
For the four sisters that live and serve at the cathedral and throughout the Diocese of Providence, this weekly Mass has been a blessing.
“This was the bishop’s idea. It was very thoughtful and is also a great example and motivation,” said Sister Elizabeth Castro, H.M.S.P. “We feel the great support that he gives, taking his time to celebrate the Mass for us. His presence and the beauty and gift he brings us with the Holy Mass with a great homily— it’s wonderful spiritual nourishment for us to serve the Lord faithfully during the day. We feel so supported by our shepherd.”
Bishop Henning also expressed his gratitude for the dedicated service the sisters give to the Church and its people.
“I love Mass in the cathedral, but it’s so enormous, you know? So here there’s that warmth, that closeness. But there’s also the quality of the sisters that are here. They really are extraordinary women. They make an outsized difference in the life of the diocese in a way that’s largely hidden and certainly their own faith and joy always lifts me and helps me pray the Mass. So, I’m really grateful to them.”