A careful ear to current events receives information about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to our nation. The event is part of the Meeting for Marriage and Family Life. Pope Francis’ attention in the media has inspired many Catholics to reconnect with information about our faith. Among the other papal highlights is the announcement of the upcoming Year of Mercy which will begin later this year. However, I think its better to participate than to anticipate so its worth recognizing that we continue to be deep in the Year of Consecrated Life.
For many of us, consecrated men and women made an impact in our lives. Typically their impact came from their ministry in education or healthcare. Face it, our Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals would not exist had the consecrated men and women given of their time and talent to establish these institutions in our area and our nation. So, during the Year of Consecrated Life, we honor that particular vocation in the Church. We remember those who leave an impact upon our area and nation; we also pray that young men and women may respond to the call to serve the Church with this unique vocation. Here are some words from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the Year of Consecrated Life, followed by a prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life.
October 1, 2014 WASHINGTON—As the Catholic Church prepares to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is promoting “Days with Religious” initiatives and resources to help families learn about the consecrated life of religious men and women. Activities will focus on sharing experiences of prayer, service and community life with those living a consecrated life.
“Our brothers and sisters in Christ living consecrated lives make great contributions to our society through a vast number of ministries,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of USCCB. “They teach in our schools, take care of the poor and the sick and bring compassion and the love of Christ to those shunned by society; others lead lives of prayer in contemplation for the world.”
Pope Francis proclaimed 2015 a Year of Consecrated Life, starting on the First Sunday of Advent, the weekend of November 29, 2014, and ending on February 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated life. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis, a decree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church. Its purpose, as stated by the Vatican is to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past” while embracing “the future with hope.”
“The ‘Days with Religious’ activities will represent great opportunities for families and adults to look at the many ways men and women serve Christ and the Church while answering the call to live in consecrated life,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Prayers intentions, prayer cards, a video on consecrated life and other resources are available at: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/consecrated-life/index.cfm
Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life © 2014, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
O God, throughout the ages you have called women and men to pursue lives of perfect charity
through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
During this Year of Consecrated Life,
we give you thanks for these courageous witnesses of Faith and models of inspiration.
Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to you.
Continue to enrich your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who,
having found the pearl of great price, treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all things.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.