In 1997, Blessed Pope John Paul II called for consecrated life to be promoted throughout the universal church. He declared February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, to be observed as World Day for Consecrated Life. February 02 is also known as Candlemas Day, the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is light of the world. So, too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all people.
Men and women who are called to the vocation of consecrated life respond to God’s call to become followers of Jesus through profession of vows and a life dedicated to prayer and service. They live this out in many different ways. Religious sisters, nuns, brothers, religious priests, and monks consecrate their lives through their profession of the evangelical vows and live as part of a community.
Single lay people may choose to be consecrated virgins and make private vows to the local bishop as they live out their vocation in various walks of life. Secular institutes are another form of living the consecrated life as single people - you can learn more about Canadian secular institutes online. Those who become followers of Jesus through the consecrated life bless the Church.
Once again this year, all are invited to join with the more the hundreds of brothers, sisters and those who have committed themselves to consecrated life for a special celebration on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul's Basilica in Toronto with Auxiliary Bishop William McGrattan presiding. It's always a wonderful occasion to connect with friends and most importantly pray together for all those who have given so much of themselves to the church.
Those who have committed themselves to God and the church strengthen the entire community in tremendously diverse ways. It may be through teaching, prayer, working with the poor, for the cause of life or any number of other noble goals.
As we reflect on this year's celebration, take a moment to get to know someone who has committed to the consecrated life - ask them how they were called to this vocation, what inspires them, the joy that comes with their ministry.
Most importantly, offer a prayer for these men and women who joyfully and lovingly embrace each day. In them we see the face of Christ looking back at us. For all that they continue to do, we give thanks.