|“This is a special time for celebrating, with all the Church, the gift of your vocation and for reviving your prophetic mission,” Pope Francis said of the Year of Consecrated Life. (photo credit: CNA)|
Msgr. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Society of Apostolic Life, told Vatican Radio that the first Sunday of Advent was selected as the launch date because Advent represents "the time of hope par excellence." He said the congregation would like the entire year "to be lived with the hope that must always characterize consecrated life."
Pope Francis issued a letter for the YCL that states the focus of the year: "look to the past with gratitude," "live the present with passion," and "embrace the future with hope."
In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio, Zambia’s Bishop Patrick Chisanga of the Mansa Diocese of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals, said the declaration of a Year of Consecrated Life should be used by religious to revisit their call to religious life. "It is an important moment of introspection. Every religious institution in Africa needs to re-examine and ask itself where they are as an institution, where they are coming from, and where they are going. In other words, in this moment in time, what is their place and role in the Church?" Bishop Chisanga asks.
He emphasized that the year is not exclusively for religious. “It is a year in which the Church as a whole reflects on the charisms of the religious in the context of new evangelization and in the context of the importance of the family in Africa and in the Church. We must never forget that the men and women in religious life come from families,” he said.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl quoted Pope Francis on the role of religious men and women: “I want to say one word to you and this word is joy. Wherever consecrated people are there is always joy!” Cardinal Wuerl said, “The background against which we recognize the joy of religious life is of course the value or worth of consecrated commitment and its unique witness in the world. This vision is found in the Gospels and particularly in the longstanding appreciation of the extraordinary witness to the reality of God’s kingdom that is religious life.”
Upcoming events for the Year of Consecrated Life include:
Jan. 22-24, 2015 - Meeting of Catholic consecrated men and women and consecrated religious from other Christian traditions (to be held during the week of Christian unity).
Feb. 8, 2015 - Day of Open House with Religious.