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​Highlighting the gift of consecrated persons for the Church

February 08, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Archbishop, In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News

Highlighting the gift of consecrated persons for the Church

World Day for Consecrated Life was celebrated in the Church on February 2 and in parishes the weekend of February 6-7. The event was instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 1997 as a time to pray for all those men and women who have made commitments in the consecrated life and to thank them so that they would continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God's gift of their vocation.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, celebrated a Mass at St. Anthony Mary Claret Church February 7 and thanked those in consecrated life for their service with open hearts and willing spirits. About 25 representatives from religious communities across the archdiocese attended the liturgy, as COVID-19 safety precautions made this gathering yet another special occasion that has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The archbishop emphasized that individuals, families, and communities are very important people to consecrated religious, and essential to their mission and ministry.

In his homily for the World of Consecrated Life on January 31, Pope Francis pointed out that “Jesus came not to do his own will, but the will of the Father.” Therefore, the Holy Father said that “in the same way, all those who follow Jesus must set out on the path of obedience, imitating as it were the Lord’s ‘condescension’ by humbling themselves and making their own the will of the Father even to self-emptying and abasement.”

He added that as consecrated persons, this path takes the form of the rule, marked by the charism of the founder. The essential rule remains the Gospel, yet the Holy Spirit, in infinite creativity, also gives it expression in the various rules of the consecrated life which are born of [following Christ] and thus from this journey of abasing oneself by serving.

Pope Francis said consecrated life must not live “lightly or in an unincarnate manner, as it were some sort of [esoteric knowledge] which would ultimately reduce religious life to caricature, a caricature in which there is following without renunciation, prayer without encounter, [community] life without communion, obedience without trust, and charity without transcendence.”

Archbishop Gustavo stressed that in this special year of consecrated life, they are called to renew their commitment to the Lord Jesus and His gospel, to the charisms of their founders, to obedience to their Rules, and to service of the needy, the sick, the lonely, the starving, victims of violence and trafficking — all who experience life as a fever, a drudgery, something merely to be endured.

“We are called and sent to proclaim the Gospel of joy by the way we encounter and bring God’s love, compassion, and mercy to them,” concluded the Missionary of the Holy Spirit in his homily. “May Our Lady of Guadalupe accompany us along our pilgrim way of mission and ministry in imitation of her beloved Son.”

Sister Elizabeth Ann Vasquez, SSCJ, of the archdiocesan Office for Consecrated Life, helped coordinate the early February liturgy.