Each year on February 2, we celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life. Held on the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, this day holds particular importance for all those in consecrated life who, inspired by the gift of Christ, have given their lives and abandoned all to follow Him.
A Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated for the occasion, presided by Most Rev. Christian Lépine with Bishop Alain Faubert and Msgr. Jude Saint-Antoine, at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.
Before the celebration began, the assembly was particularly silent and contemplative. It was a predominantly feminine assembly, made up of nuns from different religious communities from all over Montreal. Some men from religious communities and lay people were also present.
“It is an opportunity for us to come together and pray as a community. It is also a celebration that allows us to pray with sisters from around the world. What support!” says Sister Christine, a sister of The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master.
During the ceremony that was full of prayer and singing, Archbishop Lépine thanked the brothers, sisters and consecrated lay people again and again for their “lives given.”
“My eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord (words of Simeon in the Gospel of Luke) and you wanted to give everything to God: your youth, your life, your hopes.”
In his homily, Archbishop Lépine spoke of this life given to God when the world seems to no longer hear what the Lord and the religious communities have to say. Also, “by your lives offered and your faithfulness, you are saying the most important thing to the world: someone exists who is stronger than everything, who is Love, and it is Christ, the Savior (…) For this reason it is worth giving all. The existence of each one of you is a sign of hope that speaks to this world we are living in, a breath of life in people’s lives. That is the value of a life given.”
After reading the message from the Pope for World Day for Consecrated Life, Most Rev. Lépine spoke about World Youth Day in Panama: “It is beautiful to see God’s saving grace at work. (…) A life given is the voice God uses to touch and to reach the depth of the human heart.”
Lépine then highlighted the involvement of those religious communities who work in pastoral social action, and who have worked in various Montreal neighborhoods for the past 25 years.
After the universal prayer, the consecrated people all renewed their dedication to the consecrated life.
Before the dismissal, Sr Madeleine Rochette from the Sisters of Notre-Dame Congregation presented her vows to the Archbishop on behalf of all those living the consecrated life. Vows of “serenity and courage in the face of difficulties” and the hope of “profound joy in seeing the results of the Church of Montreal on mission!”
Sister Madeleine Rochette also thanked the Archbishop for his commitment toward people living the consecrated life. “Your words and your presence support us every day!”
A presence that is particularly appreciated by Alain Prud’homme, of Our Lady of Life; “Our bishop is more than a bishop, he is a pastor. It is a real blessing!”
This celebration and the lunch that followed allowed each person to leave “stronger with the Church, spouse of Christ” said Sister Christine of The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master.