In 1997, Pope John Paul II declared February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus, as World Day for Consecrated Life (WDCL). This year, WDCL is observed today, February 3, and Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Holy Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
Apart from Holy Mass, various activities will mark WDCL worldwide. These include inviting members of institutes of consecrated life from the parish to serve as ministers on Sundays or to speak to adults and children on religious education; hosting a prayer service and fellowship; and offering a day of perpetual adoration dedicated to vocations to consecrated life.
Churches may sponsor vocation fairs, walkathons, or rallies highlighting institutes of consecrated life; distribute copies of vocation magazines, brochures, or flyers; highlight stories of people who live the consecrated life; invite friends, employees, benefactors, and families to a prayer, talk, meal, or open house; share a story about the institute with local press; and sponsor a holy hour to pray for vocations.
The annual celebration is an invitation to all the churches to reflect on the role of Consecrated Life within the Christian community. Christians respond to God's call in various ways. Some profess vows and a life dedicated to prayer and service. Religious sisters, nuns, brothers, and religious priests, consecrate their lives through their profession of evangelical vows and live as part of a community. Single lay people make private vows to the local bishop. Secular institutes provide a form of living the consecrated life. All these women and men who become followers of Jesus by consecrating their life constitute blessings to the Church.
We congratulate the Vatican, led by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, and Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, o the occasion of this year's World Day for Consecrated Life. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!