JERUSALEM – On February 2nd, 2022, for the World Day for Consecrated Life, Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, paid tribute to the men and women who chose to dedicate their lives to God through a beautiful Mass celebrated in the Co-Cathedral of the Patriarchate.
The World Day for Consecrated Life was established in 1997 by Pope Saint John Paul II. At that time, the Supreme Pontiff had just celebrated the Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life and had published the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata. He gave three main reasons for the institution of this day: “to thank the Lord for the great gift of consecrated life”, “to promote knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life”, and finally so that “the consecrated persons themselves can celebrate the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them and acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the Church and in the world.”
The date of February 2nd, which corresponds to the presentation of Jesus in the temple, was chosen to recall Christ’s own gift to God and mankind.
While the term “consecrated life” obviously refers to priests and other members of the clergy, it is not limited to the religious world. According to canon law, there are four forms of consecrated life: religious institutes, secular institutes, hermits and consecrated virgins. But there are also new communities and associations of the faithful, such as the Emmanuel community.
Thus, on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022, members of many religious congregations came to attend the Mass celebrated by the Patriarch: Franciscans, Salesians, Benedictines, Oblates of the Assumption… In his homily, Mgr Pizzaballa addressed them directly, reminding them that consecrated life meant “not belonging to oneself” and that it was synonymous with “living in this void, a void that only the Lord can fill. Sometimes it is harsh, very harsh, but it is what gives meaning to our lives.” Leaving the text he had prepared, he concluded with these powerful words: “Your presence brings out a grace to our Church”.
By: Cécile Leca/ lpj.org