Rome (Italy). On 2 February 2022, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the 26th Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated.
Established by Saint John Paul II in 1997, the Day is an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for the gift of consecrated life, renewing the intentions and sentiments that inspired the donation to the Lord, and to value the testimony of those who have chosen to follow Christ more closely, through the practice of the evangelical counsels.
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, with a Letter are addressed to all consecrated men and women, inviting them to actively participate in the ecclesial journey that began on 10 October 2021 entitled: For a Synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission.
The word to dwell on this year is listening, with the request to enter the “dynamism of reciprocal listening, conducted at all levels of the Church, involving all the people of God” (Pope Francis to the Diocese of Rome, 18 September 2021).
“It is above all a journey that challenges every vocational community in its being a visible expression of a communion of love, a reflection of the Trinitarian relationship, of its goodness and its beauty, capable of arousing new energies to confront ourselves concretely with the present moment.”
Going back to one’s vocational call, rediscovering the joy of feeling and being part of a plan of Love and rediscovering with amazement that the Lord calls each one to realize the dream of good for humanity, helps to revive and strengthen one’s belonging, which is the first form of participation, “I cannot participate if I conceive myself as the whole and I do not recognize myself as part of a shared project.”
It is a body that requires the participation of all. No one excludes self or feels excluded from this path. No one thinks “it does not concern me,” which requires the unity of the members with the body and the communion of all the riches of life and charisms, including fatigue and wounds, which should not be hidden:
“Consecrated life is born in the Church, it grows and can bear evangelical fruits only in the Church, in the living communion of the faithful People of God” (Pope Francis, 11 December 2021).
“Participation then becomes responsibility”; the call to be a synodal Church cannot be disregarded, one cannot be inattentive or act autonomously. “Synodality begins within us: from a change of mentality, from a personal conversion, in the community or fraternity, at home, at work, in our structures to expand in ministries and in the mission.”
The style of participation thus becomes that of co-responsibility, proper to the nature of the Church, communion, and its ultimate meaning. “The missionary dream is of reaching everyone, of caring for everyone, of feeling all brothers and sisters, together in life and in history, which is the history of salvation.”
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo end with a heartfelt appeal to live synodality: Let’s walk together!
On 2 February 2022, Pope Francis will preside over the Eucharistic Celebration for the XXVI Day for Consecrated Life at the Papal Basilica of St. Peter at 5:30 pm (Italian time).