WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church will hold its annual celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2, 2019. This celebration is a special time for individual parishes and the greater Church to celebrate the beauty of the consecrated vocation, highlight its various forms, and reflect on the unique Christ-centered witness that consecrated men and women bring to the Church and the surrounding community.
Instituted by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997, World Day for Consecrated Life will be formally recognized during a Mass offered by Pope Francis at the Vatican on February 2, 2019. The day is celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, which commemorates through the blessing and lighting of candles that Christ is the light of the world. In the same way, consecrated persons, by belonging exclusively to Christ, act as the true hands and feet of Jesus by bringing his love and the light of the Gospel to all those they encounter in their life and work.
Each form of consecrated life is distinct and inspired by the Holy Spirit to serve the Church through a particular charism. Discerning consecrated life involves a process of identifying the unique way in which Christ is calling a person to love. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations offered encouraging words for those discerning a vocation to consecrated life: “Oftentimes, those discerning a vocation search for the perfect community. The Lord, who created every heart, knows of the way he is calling each person to serve him. Trust that he will lead you to the vocation that is perfect for you.”
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is retained each year by the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations to conduct a survey of those solemnly professed in the United States in the past year. This year’s CARA Study identified 240 men and women religious who professed perpetual vows in 2018. Of these 240 religious, 162 responded with 92 sisters and nuns and 70 brothers and priests participating in the study. Some of the major findings are:
On average, responding religious report that they were 19 years old when they first considered a vocation to religious life, but half were 18 or younger when they first did so.
Eucharistic Adoration, retreats, and the rosary are the most common types of formative prayer experiences, reported by two-thirds of religious of the Profession Class of 2018. Nearly six in ten reported participating in spiritual direction.
Of those surveyed, 23% of respondents earned a graduate degree before entering their religious institute. More than 71% entered their religious institute with at least a bachelor’s degree (65% for women and 79% for men).
The entire CARA survey, Prayers of the Faithful, and a bulletin quote for World Day for Consecrated Life, as well as information about the different forms of consecrated life and the work of the Secretariat on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is available at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/consecrated-life/index.cfm