By John Heuertz
Special to the Catholic Key
SOLT, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrated 50 years of apostolic service in this area with a jubilee Mass at St. Elizabeth’s church on Sunday May 11. The Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Robert W. Finn and nine priests associated with the order.
In SOLT, laity and people living a consecrated life work together with men in Holy Orders to build up the Kingdom of God. Thus SOLT sisters, laity and deacons all took part in Sunday’s liturgy too, and in his homily Bishop Finn touched on the inspired Trinitarian flavor of the SOLT model.
St. Louis parish in Kansas City is a SOLT ministry, and its choir led by Marilyn Hardy sang the prelude music with apostolic sweetness and joy.
May 11 was also Mother’s Day. “On Mother’s Day we remember Mary, the mother of us all,” the bishop said. “The more we love Mary, the more we love our earthly mothers. And the more we love our earthly mothers the more we love her.”
He noted that the Church has proclaimed the profundity of its relationship to Mary from the fifth century Council of Ephesus to the present.
“Could we think that Mary’s daughterly love of the Heavenly Father took anything away from her love for Jesus or in the Holy Spirit?,” the bishop asked. “Today that unity may be imperfect for us, but one day it shall be complete.”
Bishop Charles Helmsing first invited SOLT to work in the diocese in 1964. Bishop Finn encountered SOLT soon after he arrived in Kansas City ten years ago, in May 2004.
He recalled SOLT’s early work in propagating the Living Rosary devotion, and its ministry at the former St. Francis Seraph parish in the East Bottoms – one of the poorest in the diocese at the time.
“Perhaps no moment with the Society is as singularly dear to me as my visit to Tracy Street, as I learned about this family which is SOLT,” he said. “It was really there that I first learned about the extraordinary charism of the Ecclesial Teams.”
“At once I saw that your founder Father Flanagan and SOLT had received a true inspiration from God in a way analogous to the Holy Trinity: a mystery of three distinct Persons but one God.
“In the Society there exist all the distinct and proper vocations: priesthood and the clerical life, the Consecrated religious, the lay faithful. They each know and regard what is proper to each other; the integrity of each is honored.
“At the same time they are one family, one communion in mission and apostolic life.”
“Jesus gives us all to Mary, and gives Mary to all of us,” he said. “Directing souls to Jesus is your work under the direction of Mary.”
“How confident I am that Mary, the mother of us all, the Mother whom you yourselves have placed at the center of your life and work, will not fail to direct you in the years to come, keeping you on a safe path.”
“You remain a blessing to me personally, and to the Church. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has been enriched by your loving work, and I pray that this will always be one of the places you call home.”