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On Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, the Church in the United States will celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life.
This celebration is a recent event in the life of the Church. Our late and beloved Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II created World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997 to express the gratitude of the Church for the gift of Consecrated Life -- the consecrated life is at the very heart of the Church as a decisive element for her mission; invite the whole Church to come to a deeper understanding of the beauty of Consecrated Life; to encourage those who live the Consecrated Life to renew and deepen their commitment to the service of the Church.
World Day for Consecrated Life is a day of thanksgiving for the many charisms of religious and secular institutes that are precious gifts in the life of the Church. We thank God for courageous founders and for the many men and women who have responded to God's call to Consecrated Life as sisters, brothers, religious priests, hermits and consecrated virgins.
World Day for Consecrated Life is also a day for evangelization -- to proclaim the wonderful news that a life dedicated to God and the service of the Church is filled with many blessings.
I am frequently asked "What is Consecrated Life?"
The following are some of my usual responses:
Consecrated Life is the radical following of Christ through vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Consecrated Life is a witness to generous Gospel dedication.
The Consecrated Life is a witness to the promise of eternal life...that God indeed will have the last word in our lives.
The Consecrated Life strives to mirror the compassionate heart of Christ.
The vows of poverty, chastity and obedience proclaim to the world that there is something more to life than materialism and success. Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life invites the whole Church to reflect on the role of Consecrated Life within the Christian community.
The following are some suggestions for the celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life:
Pray for vocations to consecrated life.
Pray for Brothers, Sisters, Priests, Members of Secular Institutes, Hermits and Consecrated Virgins who have been or who currently are part of your life.
Include a prayer for those who live the consecrated life in the General Intercessions at Sunday Mass on Feb. 5.
May the celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life Day be filled with many graces and blessings for you and those whom you love!
Sister Marian Batho, CSJ, is Delegate for Religious of the Archdiocese of Boston.