Letter from NL Bishops on Consecrated Life

In Newfoundland and Labrador, most of us are well aware of the contributions that have been and are being made by those in Consecrated Life. The Sisters of the Presentation, the Sisters of Mercy, the Irish Christian Brothers, and the Jesuits have influenced generations through their ministry in our schools; the Sisters of Mercy and Presentation Sisters have touched the lives of the sick and vulnerable through their presence in health care at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital and St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, as well as through their activity in pastoral care in many health care and long-term care facilities. Their ministry at the Gathering Place has made a profound difference in the lives of those on the margins of society. The Jesuits, Presentation Sisters and Mercy Sisters have worked faithfully to raise our awareness of issues of Social Justice and care for the environment. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have given much service in Labrador. The Jesuits and the Redemptorists have served as Pastoral Animators, currently at St. Pius X Parish and St. Teresa’s Parish, and in the past in many other communities in Newfoundland. Redemptorists have been leaders in evangelization and catechesis through parish missions and other similar works.  We have also been blessed to have women and men in Consecrated Life serve as Pastoral Animators, as leaders in many of our rural communities, in retreat centres and hermitages and as consecrated virgins in ministries of service to the broader civic community.

 

As we thank God for the prayer and witness of those in Consecrated Life, we must also give thanks for their families!  It is very fitting that the Synod on the Family will take place during the Year of Consecrated Life. Let us thank God for families—mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings — and for the neighbours and friends who have sown and nurtured seeds of faith in their children and in their parishes. There would be no vocations to any way of life without their silent sacrifices and devoted love and faith.  We have much for which to be grateful.

 

When we, as bishops, travel throughout our three dioceses, it is obvious that something has changed. There are no longer the numbers of Sisters, Brothers and Religious Order Priests there once were.  We must pray and discern the meaning of this. To what is God calling people today?  How are young and old to hear the voice of God? Where does God speak? What opportunities for loving service are attracting the hearts of people today? What inspires people? What touches hearts nowadays?

 

Let us pray together that the winds of the Holy Spirit will shake up our Church, and inspire consecrated women and men to ‘wake up the world’. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has new plans for Consecrated Life here in Newfoundland, and in our world. We need to be open to this possibility, and ask ourselves: What are the needs of the People of God in Newfoundland and Labrador? What are the charisms and apostolates that the Spirit desires for the renewal of faith here in this corner of the Lord’s vineyard?

 

If women and men in Consecrated Life are to ‘wake up the world’, there is much work to be done, but we need not fear. God is faithful. We, too, must be faithful.  With joy and love in our hearts we must find new ways of helping people of faith to dream exciting dreams of living lives characterized by service, love and joy as we bring the Joy of the Gospel to all our people.

 

For all that has been, we say “thank you” to our generous God. For all that will be, we pray for open hearts, listening ears and willing spirits.

 

In Christ, we remain, your brothers,

+ R. Anthony Daniels + Peter J. Hundt + Martin W. Currie
Bishop of Grand Falls           Bishop of Corner Brook         Archbishop of  and Labrador St. John’s

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Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life
O God we thank you for the witness of those among us
who have chosen a vocation to the consecrated life.
Continue to inspire some of our sons and daughters
to serve you as Religious Sisters, Brothers or Priests.
Show us your plans for the renewal of faith in Newfoundland,
and give us all the grace we need.
to help wake up the world to your love.
Amen