World Day for Consecrated Life

In 1997 Pope Saint John Paul II instituted the World Day for Consecrated Life, celebrated annually on February 2. On this date we also celebrate the Presentation of the Lord as well as the feast known as Candlemas Day, when candles are blessed, symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. This date was chosen for the World Day of Consecrated Life in order to emphasize that all of those who have chosen to live a consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to the world.

In his message for the First World Day of Consecrated Life, Pope Saint John Paul II explained that the day has three purposes. First, it allows the entire Church to thank God for the great gift of consecrated life, by which all members of the Christian community benefit. Second, the day is intended to promote knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God. Third, it allows the consecrated persons themselves to celebrate what God has accomplished in and through them, to return to the sources of their vocation, to take stock of their lives and to re-confirm the commitment of their consecration.

What is consecrated life? It is the response to God’s call to become followers of Jesus through the profession of vows and a life dedicated to prayer and service. This consecrated life may be lived out in many ways. Religious sisters, nuns, brothers, religious priests and monks consecrate their lives through the profession of evangelical vows and life as part of a community. Single lay people may choose to be consecrated virgins and make private vows to the local bishop while they live out their vocation in various walks of life. Secular institutes are another form of living the consecrated life as single people.

In our diocese, there are four religious sisters from the Sisters of Mercy, seven from the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, four priests from the Missionaries of Faith, one priest from the Vincentian Congregation and one consecrated virgin. These consecrated men and women serve in a variety of ministries: as catechists, as spiritual directors, and in pastoral care and services among the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.

On this World Day for Consecrated Life, we pray for God’s continued blessing on the consecrated men and women of our diocese as they live out their life of prayer and service among us.