At Mass, consecrated recognized for unique contributions

| Susan Klemond | February 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Religious women and men attend the closing Mass of the Year of Consecrated Life Jan. 31 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Susan Klemond/For The Catholic Spirit

Religious women and men celebrate at the closing Mass of the Year of Consecrated Life Jan. 31 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Susan Klemond/For The Catholic Spirit

God calls each consecrated person to serve in a unique way, and the Church wouldn’t be what it is without them, said Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn at a Jan. 31 Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul marking both the close of the Year of Consecrated Life and the annual World Day for Consecrated Life, usually celebrated Feb. 2.

“Each one of you knew God called you to do something very special, to love him out of your very special place, which no one else could do,” he said. “The Church is grateful to you. The Church looks upon you with love, deep love. We wouldn’t be where we are had it not been for you, the consecrated, and we thank you.”

About 200 religious brothers, sisters, consecrated priests, consecrated virgins, members of secular institutes and others participated in the Mass closing the Year of Consecrated Life, declared by Pope Francis to emphasize and celebrate consecrated vocations that started Nov. 30, 2014. Following the Mass, 34 religious sisters and brothers were honored for jubilees.

Speaking to consecrated religious at the Mass, Archbishop Flynn noted that “we are celebrating what you have given to the Church generously, the sacrifices you have made from your very young age.”

He also acknowledged that regardless of their vocation, Catholics are called to live their faith completely and generously.

While all Catholics are consecrated in their baptism to follow Christ, those in the distinct state of consecrated life take vows to live the evangelical councils of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Throughout the special year, a task force comprising consecrated persons organized events, including a day of prayer during Advent and a vocations booth at the Basilica Block Party last summer, as well as the Mass, said Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Carolyn Puccio, archdiocesan delegate for religious.

“Pope Francis called us to look to the past with gratitude, look to the present with passion and embrace the future with hope,” she said. “This has been our focus throughout year, and even though it’s the end of the papal year that we will continue to move forward.”

The call to consecrated life is a special gift and Sister Genevieve Kudlik, a Missionary Sister of St. Peter Claver in St. Paul, said she thinks about how to respond to it in her life.

“It is for us consecrated to realize what a gift we received in our vocation to be called to consecrated life,” she said.

Brother Pascal Listi, a novice with the Franciscan Brothers of Peace in St. Paul, said he has been studying consecrated life and the evangelical counsels during the Year of Consecrated Life. He said he realized that more than 30 religious and consecrated persons have supported and inspired him in his vocation.

Sister Helen Janssen, who celebrates her 75th jubilee with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet this year, has been appreciating her fellow sisters’ contributions during the special year.

“I was amazed at what our sisters have done with their lives in these years and in how many different ministries we have been in and are still are in,” she said. “I look back at my life and thank God for all the blessings I’ve had in these 75 years.”

She noted that five other CSJs are also celebrating their 75th jubilee this year, but they were unable to attend the Mass.

Discovering God’s unique call for a consecrated vocation blesses the world, said Sister Mary Lucy Scheffler of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Paul.

“I think we’re so blessed because it’s such a selfish world, and we can give ourselves.”

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