By Mónica Romero-Amador
PARK SLOPE — Preachers of Christ and Mary, a religious community that was founded in 1995 in Colombia and that has been doing missionary work in Brooklyn since 2004, has made the Diocese of Brooklyn its official home.
The designation, making the diocese the sisters’ “canonical domicile,” became official during a Mass and ceremony on Sept. 5 at the chapel in the diocese’s offices in Park Slope. That day coincidentally was the 24th anniversary of the order’s founding in Colombia.
Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chapetto celebrated the Mass, and Bishop Alfonso Cabezas, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Villavicencio in Colombia, where the community was founded, preached the homily. The Preachers of Christ and Mary was originally established under Bishop Cabezas.
During his homily, Bishop Cabezas gave the sisters a book about the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first founder of a religious congregation in the United States, hoping they will find inspiration in the saint’s ministry. Bishop Cabezas asked the sisters to ‘‘keep walking with the Holy Spirit.’’
‘‘Throw the nets and catch souls for God; accompany the young people to walk towards conversion in Jesus Christ as you have been doing with your charisma of the music, the theatre and the arts,’’ Bishop Cabezas said.
The Preachers of Christ and Mary initially came to Brooklyn and Queens with a goal of serving temporarily in the diocese. At the time, the community was not incardinated in the Diocese of Brooklyn, meaning its presence in Brooklyn and Queens was subject to the decision of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Archbishop Oscar Urbina of the Archdiocese of Villavicencio.
For the past 15 years, the sisters have done missionary work in Blessed Sacrament, Jackson Heights; St. Bartholomew, Elmhurst; St. Teresa of Avila, Prospect Heights; and the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, Prospect Heights.
Earlier this year, Archbishop Urbina decided to allow the order to make the Diocese of Brooklyn its permanent home, and Bishop DiMarzio accepted the move.
The sisters, whose convent is in Elmhurst, plan to continue their work of evangelization in the diocese, largely through offering events in the arts.
“Now the community founded as a Public Association of the Faithful belongs to the Diocese of Brooklyn, where will eventually consolidate as a new Institute of Religious Life. It’s a huge milestone, since will be the first created in the diocese,” Mother María Amador, P.C.M., the founder, explained.
‘‘As a founder, as a spiritual mother, as the person who in the name of the church is encouraging the community, trying to discover God’s will for the Preachers of Christ and Mary, I feel happy,’’ she said.
‘‘That day at the ceremony, joy flooded my heart, and joy is to discover the will of God, to understand that He calls us to stay where He wants us to serve,” Mother María said.
‘‘This is a new stage, but here in the future, there is much to continue writing about the mercy of God, so that He will always be known loved and served in all nations,” she added.