Consecrated Life, God’s Gift to his People.
In 1997, Pope John Paul instituted a day for consecrated life, which is observed annually on February 2. In so doing, he wanted the entire Church to have a special opportunity to thank the Lord, each year, for the great gift of consecrated life. This day also serves to make this gift more widely known and better appreciated. Finally, a third purpose is to give those who embrace the consecrated life an opportunity to celebrate together the wonders that the Lord accomplishes through them.
Just what is "consecrated life?" It has various expressions. First, let's consider religious men and women, members of religious communities (called "religious institutes"). We certainly know about these communities with their different charisms, who do extraordinary work and make an enormous contribution to society. In addition to these religious institutes, there are secular institutes. In contrast to the life of a religious, the members of secular institutes do not live in a religious community. Rather, they live separately, in his/her own family or even in a fraternal association.
The members of institutes of consecrated life seek to live the Gospel and witness to it for their entire lives and by the actual gift of their lives. They have professed to follow the evangelical counsels: they experience and talk about God as their sole Love (this is chastity), their sole treasure (poverty), and their sole meaning of life (obedience). They are called to be a sign of God’s presence, who offers new life, in the midst of the world. By witnessing with their lives, they seek to embody, in the midst of the world, the spirit of a life devoted to preparing for the Kingdom of God.
It is very important for our society to recognize the immense contribution of religious to life in our world. We cannot appreciate the significance of many charitable organizations without first looking at their origins; there, we often find the presence of committed religious men and women, who gave their lives to make change happen. Think of the many organizations that help the homeless. Think as well of the care given to the sick, of the concern for a good education, or the dedication toward helping marginalized people, and of many other services. Although many charitable organizations today are no longer associated with religious communities, it is thanks to religious communities that most of them saw the light of day. We must never forget this. We owe them a debt of gratitude. The religious have been and still are a reminder for us of this fundamental requirement of life: we must care for one another.
Is it not the religious communities who made all of this possible and who have been the very embodiment of the love of Christ at work? Let's not lose touch with our roots! If today it is others who carry the torch, let's hope that the spirit remains the same: we are here to serve one another, to create a better world.
Indeed, major sections of our story fade away when a religious community peters out, due to dwindling numbers. But let's not lose sight of the signs of hope sprouting: new communities, driven by the same Spirit and by the same desire to see the love of God embodied in today’s world. I hope and I pray everyday that many baptized will respond to this special call to leave everything to follow Christ. This total abandonment arouses both fascination and fear. Don't be afraid. Christ accompanies us on the adventure!
I would like to thank most sincerely the thousands of religious and all others who embrace the consecrated life here in Montreal. Your work, often discreet, offers our world a breath of life. May the Lord bless you abundantly!
A celebration to mark the World Day for Consecrated Life will be held this year at the monastery of the Monastic Communities of Jerusalem (500 Mont-Royal Street East, Mtl.) during the 6 p.m. Mass on Feb. 2. All are welcome!
+ Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop of Montreal
Visit our Web pages on Consecrated Life
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Note from the Chancery Office
The 2012 Diocesan Annuaire and the 2012 Nomenclature of the Diocesan Clergy are available at the Chancery Office on Sherbrooke Street.
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Rite of Election for catechumens
February 26, 2012, at 2 p.m.
Mary Queen of the World Cathedral
President of the Assembly Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte.
The Apostles Cup
Organized by Mission Jeunesse / Youth Ministry
March 3, 2012
The Diocesan World Youth Day
March 31, 2012