Year of Consecrated Life to help laity learn more about religious

| November 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

logo-Year-for-Consecrated-Life_newLARGE_englishIn an effort to help lay Catholics gain a deeper understanding of other ways to live the Gospel, Pope Francis has dedicated 2015 to be the Year of Consecrated Life.

During the coming months, lay people around the world will be invited to open houses, prayer opportunities and celebrations to mark the year. Events are planned in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis beginning Nov. 30.

The special year dedicated to consecrated life is similar to previous themed years such as the Year of the Priest (2009-2010) and the Year of St. Paul (2008-2009).

“Now the Holy Father is saying let’s focus on those called to consecrated life,” explained Sister Carolyn Puccio, “priests, brothers, sisters, consecrated virgins — the whole gamut.”

Did you know?There are many different kinds of Brothers — those who are monks and teachers, doctors and nurses, hospital chaplains, therapists, artists, social workers, etc. Technically, these are “lay religious” men — men who take vows of poverty, celibate chastity and obedience, and who live in a community but are neither ordained ministers nor studying to be ordained ministers. Many people aren’t aware that a man can be called to a vowed life of prayer, community and ministry, and not be a priest.
From Cathy Bertrand, School Sisters of Notre Dame

Sister Carolyn, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet who is Archbishop John Nienstedt’s delegate for religious, sees several layers of benefits that might emerge from the yearlong celebration.

“I really like what Pope Francis had to say when he made the announcement,” she said. “He called it a time for the whole Church to rejoice in the gift of consecrated life.

“And he called forth the Holy Spirit to ‘bring about a continued renewal of religious life and imbue an unbounded generosity on the part of many young people to follow Christ through the evangelical counsels [poverty, chastity and obedience].’ ”

Local activities — some coordinated by the archdiocese and others by the various religious communities and groups — are “an opportunity for people to get to know us, to gain an understanding of what a broad thing our calling is and the gifts it brings to the Church,” Sister Carolyn said.

Personally, she added, the dedication of a year for these purposes may be “a response to the perception that a calling to consecrated living isn’t as prevalent in the Church today.”

“I think it’s an effort to bring more attention to these ways of living your baptismal commitment and the Gospel,” she said, and she sees shining a spotlight on consecrated life as an opportunity people might not be aware of if they don’t come in contact with men and women in religious life.

The Year of Consecrated Life officially begins the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30.

In the archdiocese, the opening of the year will begin with Advent Vespers in both Minneapolis and St Paul.

A 3 p.m. vespers service will be at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

In St. Paul, a vespers service will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, the chapel of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at 1884 Randolph Ave.

On Monday, Feb. 2, World Day of Consecrated Life, women and men religious who are celebrating jubilee anniversaries during the year will be honored with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul and at a reception at the archbishop’s residence.

Religious communities are expected to announce dates for open houses and other celebrations as those dates near.

Women religious will also take part in National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14.


Year of Consecrated Life opening vespers services

Sunday, Nov. 30

  • 3 p.m. at the Basilica of St. Mary, 1600 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.
  • 4:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel (the chapel of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet), 1884 Randolph Ave., St. Paul
Prayer for the Year of Consecrated LifeO God, throughout the ages you have called women and men to pursue lives of perfect charity through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. During this Year of Consecrated Life, we give you thanks for these courageous witnesses of Faith and models of inspiration. Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to you. Continue to enrich your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who, having found the pearl of great price, treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations

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Category: Year of Consecrated Life