Year for Consecrated Life 2015

Jan 31, 2014 |

PRESENTATION OF YEAR FOR CONSECRATED LIFE: AWAKEN THE WORLD WITH PROPHETIC WITNESS THAT RECALLS THE WITNESS OF YOUR FOUNDERS

 

AVIZ IIIn the Press Office of the Holy See, João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation, presented the Year for Consecrated Life 2015. It was called for by Pope Francis at the end of his meeting with 120 superiors general of male Institutes, at the suggestion of the heads of the aforementioned congregation on having heard from many of the consecrated.

“First of all,” Cardinal Bráz de Aviz said, “this Year dedicated to consecrated life has been prepared in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and, more specifically, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Conciliar decree on the renewal of consecrated life ‘Perfectae caritatis’. … Because we recognize these 50 years that separate us from the Council as a moment of grace for consecrated life, as marked by the presence of the Spirit that leads us to live even our weaknesses and infidelities as an experience of God’s mercy and love, we want this Year to be an occasion for ‘gratefully remembering’ this recent past. This is the first objective of the Year for Consecrated Life.”

“With a positive look at this time of grace between the Council and today, we want the second objective to be ’embracing the future with hope’. We are well aware that the present moment is ‘difficult and delicate’ … and that the crisis facing society and the Church herself fully touches upon the consecrated life. But we want to take this crisis not as an antechamber of death but as … an opportunity to grow in depth, and thus in hope, motivated by the certainty that the consecrated life will never disappear from the Church because ‘it was desired by Jesus himself as an irremovable part of his Church’.”

“This hope,” he concluded, “doesn’t spare us—and the consecrated are well aware of this—from ‘living the present passionately’, and this is the third objective for the Year. … It will be an important moment for ‘evangelizing’ our vocation and for bearing witness to the beauty of the ‘sequela Christi’ in the many ways in which our lives are expressed. The consecrated take up the witness that has been left them by their respective founders and foundresses. … They want to ‘awaken the world’ with their prophetic witness, particularly with their presence at the existential margins of poverty and thought, as Pope Francis asked their superiors general.”

For his part, Archbishop Rodríguez Carballo explained the initiatives and events that will take place during the Year for Consecrated Life, which will begin this October to coincide with the anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar constitution “Lumen Gentium”.

The Year’s official inauguration is planned with a solemn celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica, possibly presided by the Holy Father, which could take place on 21 November, the World Day ‘Pro orantibus’. Still this November, it would be followed by a plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the theme of which would be “The ‘Novum’ in Consecrated Life beginning from Vatican II”.

Various international events are also planned for Rome, among which would include a meeting of young religious and novices, those who have professed temporary or final vows for less than ten years, a meeting for spiritual directors, an international theological conference on consecrated life dedicated to “Renewal of the Consecrated Life in Light of the Council and Perspectives for the Future”, and an international exhibit on “Consecrated Life: The Gospel in Human History”.

For the conclusion of the Year for Consecrated Life another Concelebration presided by Pope Francis is planned, probably for 21 November 2015, 50 years after the decree “Perfecta caritatis”. Every four months throughout the year, the Dicastery will publish a newsletter on themes related to consecrated life, the first of which will come out on 2 February of next year, entitled “Be Glad” and dedicated to the Magisterium of the Holy Father on consecrated life. In response to the Pope’s wishes, the Antonianum Pontifical University in Rome will host a symposium on the management of economic goods and capital by religious from 8 to 9 March. There will be a series of initiatives planned particularly for contemplative religious, including a world Chain of Prayer among monasteries.

Archbishop Rodríguez Carballo also spoke of several documents that the Dicastery is preparing. To that end, in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops and following a mandate by the Holy Father, the document “Mutuae relationes” on the relations between bishops and religious in the Church is being drawn up. Also, always on the mandate of the Pope, the instruction “Verbi Sponsa”, which deals with the autonomy and cloistering of entirely contemplative religious, is being revised. Another document in preparation will deal with the life and the mission of religious, while a fourth one will touch on the question of how consecrated manage goods in order to offer some guidelines and direction in the complex situations that arise in that area.

Finally, during the Year of Consecrated Life, it is hoped that the Holy Father will promulgate a new apostolic constitution on contemplative life in place of “Sponsa Christi”, which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

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During this press conference, some key details were released. 

 

João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

“It’s a great time to grow and deepen the faith. Part of this is driven by the hope and the certainty that consecrated life will never disappear from the Church.” 

Some details are still being sorted out, but the Congregation for Consecrated Life hopes the Pope will initiate it in November 2014 and it will conclude one year later. The goals will include reflecting on the unique role religious men and women have in the Church. Everything from their charisms to their challenges. Among them for example, why some decide to leave their vocation. 

According to recent data, out of 1,000 religious, about 2.5 leave their vocation. That breaks down to about 13,000 people between 2008 and 2012. 

João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

“We need to shatter that misconception. The notion that when one begins their consecrated life, they automatically become perfect. The notion, that for example, a mother, will never be perfect, but a consecrated person will. This is wrong! We should embrace the realities of fraternal life. Another issue we see is that consecrated life has sometimes followed an individualistic pattern.” 

Each religious institute has its own charism.  João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life, believes that dedicating a year to Consecrated Life, will give religious the time and resources to reflect on what their personal vocation and charism is really all about. 

João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz,  Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

“The mistake is to think that a charism is already defined and done with. Well, that mentality is like taking a right away from God. If He has given an institute a certain charism, then He conserves it and only He can end it if He so wishes. But not us…this is one of the errors we see nowadays.” 

Whatt about cases where founders have started institutes while leading less than exemplary lives? That issue was also raised during the press conference, especially in light of Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. 

João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz,  Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

“It’s important to separate the grace of a specific charism from the founder. Sometimes their life coincides with their charism. But we also see cases where the founder does not lead a life that corresponds with the institute’s charism.”  

The Year of Consecrated Life will include meetings between young religious and the Pope, international prayer chains carried out by cloistered nuns, and also large scale exhibits in Rome.  

 

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