This month starts a year long celebration of CONSECRATED LIFE within the Church.
The Holy Father said the year-long celebration “will be an important moment for 'evangelizing' our vocation and for bearing witness to the beauty of the following of Christ in the many ways in which our lives are expressed.”
According to Vatican statistics, there are nearly one million people living religious, consecrated life within the church.
“The consecrated take up the witness that has been left them by their respective founders and foundresses. They want to 'awaken the world' with their prophetic witness, particularly with their presence at the existential margins of poverty and thought.”
The purpose of this celebration is threefold:
renewal for men and women in consecrated life
thanksgiving among the faithful for the service of sisters, brothers, priests, and nuns
invitation to young Catholics to consider a religious vocation
The Year's official inauguration is planned with a solemn celebration in St. Peter's Basilica, which will take place on 29 November, the World Day 'Pro orantibus'. This will be followed by an assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the theme of which would be “The 'Novum' in Consecrated Life beginning from Vatican II”.
Jan. 22-24, 2015 will see meetings of Catholic consecrated men and women as well as consecrated religious from other Christian traditions, to be held during the week of Christian unity.
Every four months throughout the year, a newsletter will be published on themes related to consecrated life, the first of which will come out on 2 February of next year, entitled “Be Glad”.
Second week of April, 2015 there will be a Conference on religious formation around the world. Sept. 23-26, 2015 will be events for young men and women in discernment and in the process of joining religious orders.
For the conclusion of the Year for Consecrated Life another con-celebration presided by Pope Francis is planned, probably for 21 November 2015, 50 years after the decree “Perfecta caritatis”.
Finally, during the Year of Consecrated Life, it is hoped that the Holy Father will promulgate a new apostolic constitution on contemplative life in place of “Sponsa Christi”, which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
“I want to say one word to you and this word is “joy”. Wherever there are consecrated people, seminarians, men and women religious, young people, there is joy, there is always joy! It is the joy of freshness, the joy of following Jesus; the joy that the Holy Spirit gives us, not the joy of the world… Joy is not a useless ornament. It is a necessity, the foundation of human life. In their daily struggles, every man and woman tries to attain joy and abide in it with the totality of their being...In the world there is often a lack of joy. We are not called to accomplish epic feats or to proclaim high-sounding words, but to give witness to the joy that arises from the certainty of knowing we are loved, from the confidence that we are saved." Pope Francis, 2014