In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to the following Sunday in order to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church.
Pope Francis, this past Wednesday, asked people to pray for all those in Religious and Consecrated Life, who have been called to profess the evangelical counsels.
He was speaking on Wednesday during his General Audience, in anticipation of Thursday’s celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which as we stated, is also the World Day of Consecrated Life.
“I ask you to pray for the priests, sisters, and brothers belonging to contemplative and apostolic Religious Institutes,” Pope Francis said. “Their life dedicated to the Lord, and their charismatic service, will bear abundant fruit for the good of the faithful, and for the evangelizing mission of the Church.”
The Holy Father asked the faithful to pray that “through their witness of life, they may radiate to the world the love of Christ and the grace of the Gospel.”
Here, in the Archdiocese of Toronto, we are blessed to have more than 900 religious men and women from about 100 different congregations serving in the Archdiocese. The World Day for Consecrated Life is a wonderful opportunity for us to thank God for the gifts of these religious sisters, brothers and priests and to pray for God’s blessing upon them in their efforts to faithfully live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.