In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life with three intentions:
The celebration, which is on Feb. 2, coincides with the liturgical feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
The World Day of Consecrated Life is for everyone who is consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Rooted in Baptism, this religious state is a way of experiencing a more intimate consecration, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Hermits, men and women in religious life and consecrated virgins and widows are all living a consecrated life.
“Consecrated life is not about survival, but new life,” Pope Francis said in his homily on Feb. 2, 2019 while celebrating Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on the World Day for Consecrated Life. “It is a living encounter with the Lord in his people. It is a call to the faithful obedience of daily life and to the unexpected surprises from the Spirit. It is a vision of what we need to embrace in order to experience joy: Jesus.”
Only those who have accepted God’s call to live a consecrated life can truly understand the experience of this lifelong commitment.
“I have found that consecrated life is not so much focused on what one doesn’t do, for example have a personal bank account, but rather what one is freed up to do; that is the freedom to be of service to the Church in whatever way there is a need,” said Fr. Ken Anich, SVD.
For Seminarian Brian Junkes, SVD, who professed his first vows in 2019, consecrated life is about saying “yes” to God’s call.
“This journey takes you through many blessings and joys, as well as challenges and sorrows,” he said. “It takes you to places you never imagined, introduces you to people who you never thought you would meet, and provides moments where you just smile.”
In honor of the World Day for Consecrated Life, join us in offering a prayer for those who are living a life dedicated to the Lord:
God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as sisters, brothers, religious priests, consecrated virgins, and hermits, as well as members of secular institutes. Renew their knowledge and love of you, and send your Holy Spirit to help them respond generously and courageously to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.