Spotlight on Consecrated Life
The worldwide Catholic Church is currently observing the Year of Consecrated Life, as proclaimed by Pope Francis. The Year officially began November 30, 2014, the First Sunday of Advent, and concludes February 2, 2016, the Feast of the Presentation and World Sunday for Consecrated Life.
Consecrated life refers to a way of living by women and men who, prompted by the Holy Spirit, freely choose to give radical witness to love of God and neighbor as members of a religious congregation or ‘order’. Each religious congregation is marked by a particular God-given gift or grace (called a charism) that contributes to the life of the Church and world. Members of religious congregations typically follow a specific tradition or spirituality rooted in their founding. They profess vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience as a way of deepening the Gospel call we all have received as disciples of Christ Jesus.
As the Second Vatican Council emphasized, all who are baptized are called to holiness, that is, union with God. Furthermore, all are called to follow Christ by proclaiming the Gospel through our loving, compassionate service to all our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need. In this sense, all Christians are ‘consecrated’. Individuals, however, live this shared call of ours in different ways.
In proclaiming a Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis emphatically says to members of religious congregations, “I am counting on you to ‘wake up the world’ ” (Vatican Radio, November 30, 2014). Here he is highlighting the distinctive characteristic of religious life: being so rooted in relationship with God, that one cannot help but see as God sees, love as God loves, serve as God serves—embracing everyone without limit or condition and as God’s beloved son or daughter. When women and men religious faithfully live consecrated life, their witness reminds us all who we are called to be.
Pope Francis also stated: “The Year of Consecrated Life not only concerns consecrated persons, but the entire Church”. He encourages every Christian community to see the Year as an opportunity to give God thanks for the fidelity and gifts religious congregations bring to the Church and world.
With this encouragement in mind, our parish bulletin will be including a column entitled Spotlight on Consecrated Life. The column will appear twice a month until February 2016, the official end of the Year of Consecrated Life. Look for the column to include profiles of various sisters in our midst at Christ Our Light. At times, the column will answer “frequently asked questions”. In addition to this column, watch for details about a special award-winning film to be shown on Saturday, November 14 at 2 PM!