In 1997, Pope John Paul II designated February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, as the World Day for Consecrated Life. This special day, one of the “forgotten legacies” from this beloved Pope’s pontificate, will be celebrated this year on February 5th.
The World Day for Consecrated Life helps the entire Church “to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and is intended to be an occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord.”
To encourage all members of the Church to pray for vocations to the consecrated life, the IRL has a novena, “Living Signs of the Gospel,” containing Pope John Paul II’s messages for this important day. For a free copy of this novena, please call the IRL offices at (847)573-8975. For bulk purchases, please visit our website.
At the conclusion of his general audience this past Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI recalled that February 2nd was also World Day of Consecrated Life, saying:
“To your prayers I entrust those who, having made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, strive after sanctity in the service of children, young people, the sick, the elderly and the lonely. We are grateful to them for their prayers and for the work they do in parishes, hospitals, care homes, and schools. Their service represents a particularly precious gift for the Church. My heartfelt blessings go to all those who live in accordance with the evangelical counsels.”
World Day of Consecrated Life will be celebrated this weekend in the United States.
For a summary of the Pope’s comments on consecrated life later that evening, click here.
Courtesy of Vatican Information Service.
Today the Church is celebrating the World Day for Consecrated Life simultaneously with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. Pope Benedict XVI is observing the two celebrations by presiding over Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica this evening.
The World Day for Consecrated Life will be celebrated in U.S. parishes this weekend. This would be an apt occasion to walk up to a religious after Mass to say hello and to thank them for their service to the Church.
The World Day was inaugurated in 1997 by Pope John Paul II as an initiative for the entire Christian community to celebrate the mission of the consecrated life in the present and the future of the Church.
The Holy Father founded it for three reasons:
(1) to praise the Lord more solemnly and give thanks to Him for the gift of the consecrated life,
(2) to promote knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God, and
(3) to give consecrated persons an opportunity to return to the sources of their vocation.
It is no accident that the event coincides with the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. This celebration, wrote Venerable John Paul II, is an “eloquent icon of the total offering of one’s life for all those who are called to show forth in the Church and in the world, by means of the evangelical counsels ‘the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one.’ ”
At its inception as a World Day in 1997, the Pope entrusted it to the Virgin Mary in the hope that it will “bear abundant fruits for the holiness and the mission of the Church” and heighten the esteem in the Christian community for consecrated vocations.
The Feast and World Day will be celebrated by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday evening with Vespers at the Basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican City. A special invitation is made every year to members of the Institutes for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.