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World Day for Consecrated Life will be observed this weekend
The 16th annual World Day for Consecrated Life will be observed in parishes in the United States the weekend of February 4-5.
The annual celebration was established by Pope John Paul II in 1997, to be marked each year on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation. 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 light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.
The U.S. Bishops voted to observe the occasion the weekend following the feast, to highlight men and women religious in consecrated life as part of weekend Mass celebrations and to enable expressions of appreciation for the service of those who have chosen the consecrated life and to pray for an increase of vocations.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), heralded the role of religious.
Many consecrated men and women share Christs light and love through their work in parish or diocesan ministries, education, health care, social services, spiritual direction and prayer, he said. Through their service and vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they show that Jesus Christ is our most valued possession.
The Church recognizes several forms of consecrated life, said Father Shawn McKnight, executive director of the Secretariat. All who embrace the consecrated life promise poverty, chastity and obedience, he said. Religious priests, sisters and brothers live and pray in community, and they serve the Church in apostolic service or are wholly devoted to contemplation. Members of secular institutes fulfill their promises living within, not apart from, the world. Consecrated virgins, who are consecrated by the diocesan bishop, also serve the Church while remaining within the world, and hermits observe separation from the world in solitude, prayer and penance.
In the United States today there are an estimated 57,113 sisters, 4,650 brothers and 12,978 priests in religious orders who have committed themselves publicly to the Church in this special way. Most of them work in schools, parishes, hospitals and diocesan institutions, and have dedicated themselves to God for service to the Church and for the salvation of the world.
The Diocese of Gaylord is blessed to have 30 sisters and 6 priests from a total of 12 religious orders ministering in our area. Within the diocese, there is also one contemplative brother under private vows with the Bishop.
Two monasteries of women religious are located within the boundaries of the diocese. The Infant Jesus of Prague Monastery, which houses a cloistered community of Discalced Carmelite Nuns (OCD) is located in Traverse City. The ministry of these women is an apostolate of prayer and sacrifice (especially for priests).
The Sacramentine Monastery is located in Conway, north of Petoskey. Once a cloistered community, the Order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and of Our Lady (OSS) was established with perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as its primary ministry. As a means of extending their prayer life to the public, the monastery opened a retreat house the Augustine Center in 1960 which continues to be a haven for educational and spiritual formation for individuals from many denominations.
World Day for Consecrated Life gives Catholics everywhere an opportunity to express their gratitude to God and to those whose lives have been a great source of human assistance and spiritual nourishment to the Church through their commitment to prayer and service.
More information regarding consecrated life may be found on the USCCB website. For more information about in the Diocese of Gaylord as well as links to a number of religious orders, click here. Below you may also download a prayer card for World Day for Consecrated Life.
File: Prayer Card