February 2 marks World Day for Consecrated Life, a time to celebrate and give thanks for all who have given their lives in service of the message and works of Jesus Christ. The day is celebrated on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and was originally chosen by Pope John Paul II. On this day, we reflect on how consecrated people offer their lives, in the same spirit of fidelity and obedience to God that Mary and Joseph enter the Jerusalem Temple to present the infant Jesus, and in the same spirit of prophetic hope with which Simeon and Anna recognise and respond to the light of salvation in the presence of Jesus.
This is the 26th World Day of Consecrated Life, with Pope Francis leading a Eucharistic celebration in Rome on the day. In a letter from the Vatican City to ‘all consecrated persons’, Archbishop Prefect Jose Rodriguez Carballo OFM and Prefect Joao Braz Card de Aviz write:
‘Let us enter into this journey of the whole church, with the richness of our charisms and our lives, without hiding in fatigue and wounds, strong in the conviction that we can only recieve and give that which is Good because “Consecrated life is born in the Church, it grows and can bear evangelical fruit only in the Church, in living communion of the faithful People of God”‘ [Pope Francis, 11 December 2021]
We give thanks for all of our fellow consecrated women and men, and pay particular thanks to Catholic Religious Australia who are an endless sources of support and encouragement in our work.
Read the full letter of the Dicastery for the XXVI Day of Consecrated Life from CICLSAL (Congregatio Pro Institutis Vitae Consecratae Et Societatibus Vitae Apostolicae)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
We give thanks for all who have given their ‘Yes’ to you through living the vocation of consecrated life.
We thank you for the ‘Yes’ of their youth, for their dreams and zeal and whole heartedness for Christ and his Church.
We praise God for their willingness, and for those who inspired them to take the step.
We give thanks for those who formed them, who enabled their ‘Yes’,
who ‘let go’ of them, who offered encouragement and support,
and who welcomed them into community and mission.
We give thanks for the continuing ‘Yes’ of consecrated men and women,
for their years of loving and serving, of leading and following,
in crowded places and along the ‘edges’, through fertile fields and barren deserts.
We give thanks especially for their ‘Yes’ amidst tears and heartbreak, dark nights and silence,
in the encounter at the Cross, perhaps known only to God.
We give thanks for their staying the course, for their forgiveness and humility,
for their patience and hope, joy and humour, for their prayer and labour, questions and trailblazing; and for their relentless fidelity
to this life, this people, this Church, this community, this mission,
this God of the Eternal Yes.
We praise God for all consecrated women and men.
For their relentless ‘Yes’, spoken and unspoken,
prophetically voiced and authentically lived,
we give thanks.
And we say, Amen.