In his Apostolic Letter to all consecrated people Pope Francis gave an overview of the Year of Consecrated Life:
In response to requests from many of you and from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, I decided to proclaim a Year of Consecrated Life on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, which speaks of religious in its sixth chapter, and of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis on the renewal of religious life. The Year will begin on 30 November 2014, the First Sunday of Advent, and conclude with the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on 2 February 2016.
After consultation with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, I have chosen as the aims of this Year the same ones which Saint John Paul II proposed to the whole Church at the beginning of the third millennium, reiterating, in a certain sense, what he had earlier written in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata: “You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things” (No. 110).”
Aims of the Year of Consecrated Life
1. To look to the past with gratitude
2. To live the present with passion
3. To embrace the future with hope
To read the full text of the Apostolic Letter and the detail of the Pope’s aims for the year please click here.
Year of Consecrated Life in Ireland
At their December 2015 Bishops’ Conference meeting, bishops welcomed the Universal Year of Consecrated Life which began on the first day of Advent. Bishops acknowledged the contribution and role of Irish religious both here in Ireland and around the world. Bishops discussed the situation of vocations to the priesthood and to religious life in Ireland, with an emphasis on promotion. The Bishops’ Conference gave its support to a joint initiative with the Conference of Religious of Ireland, which will work to promote vocations in tandem with the Year of Consecrated Life and the 14th centenary of the death of Saint Columbanus. The project will run during 2015 under the title ‘Take the Journey – Be the Joy of the Gospel.’ More information will be available on Take the Journey in due course.
Pastoral letters, homilies and addresses on the Year of Consecrated Life
1 February 2015: Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Eamon Martin for Year of Consecrated Life in Armagh Archdiocese
“May the Holy Spirit ‘fall afresh on us’ during this Year of Consecrated Life, blowing where God wills through our parishes, convents, monasteries and religious houses. Let the winds of the Holy Spirit inspire consecrated women and men to ‘wake up the world’. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has new plans for Consecrated Life in Ireland. We must be open to this, asking ourselves what are the charisms and apostolates that the Spirit desires for the renewal of faith in Ireland. I am confident that this renewal will be nourished and multiplied by the prayers and witness of consecrated women and men. Religious congregations – some old, some new- will continue to quietly inspire the people of Ireland by selfless lives of poverty, chastity and obedience, offering a humble, yet powerful, counter-witness to the emptiness that so often surrounds us. If we are to ‘wake up the world’, there is much work to be done, but we need not fear. “With God all things are possible”. With joy and love in our hearts we will find ways of singing a new song to the Lord and “bringing the newness of the Gospel” to all our people.” – Archbishop Eamon Martin
Please click here to read the full text of Archbishop Martin’s pastoral letter.
1 February 2015: Homily of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for the Year of Consecrated Life
“Religious are called to constant renewal. Renewal in religious life will emerge when that sense of generous compassion without boundaries is rediscovered and where generosity and compassion colour and dominate every aspect of our lives. That was the characteristic of your founders and foundresses who were prepared to find new ways of witnessing to the love of God where society in general – and indeed the Church itself – failed to identify human suffering and exclusion.” – Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Martin’s homily notes at Mass for the Year of Consecrated Life.
1 February 2015: Address of Bishop Denis Nulty for Year of Consecrated Life Evening Prayer in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin
“…..living the consecrated life is never a career, a job, a role, but a call, a way of life, an identity. It is this very thing that makes your life so intriguing for a radio reporter or a journalist. In a very fast world of words and noise, silence and contemplation speaks volumes. Only an impoverished society can afford to turn its back on the contemplative life.” – Bishop Denis Nulty
Click here to read the full text of Bishop Nulty’s address.
1 February 2015: Homily of Bishop Kevin Doran at Mass for the Year of Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Elphin
“The one characteristic associated with all of the different forms of consecrated life are the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Today, in a world which is more focused on self, these vows are often misunderstood. People tend to see poverty, chastity and obedience as negatives, as ways in which the lives of men and women are somehow incomplete. Nothing could be further from the truth, but we do need to have a richer understanding of what are sometimes known as the “evangelical counsels” before we can really appreciate the richness of consecrated life. The call to Obedience, to Chastity, and to Poverty or simplicity of life style, is not a denial of the goodness of self, of others, or of things. It is primarily about being more free in ourselves to follow Jesus and to go where he leads us.” – Bishop Kevin Doran
Read the full text of Bishop Doran’s homily by clicking here.
Please see the news section of www.cori.ie for events and updates on the Year of Consecrated Life.
Videos on the Year of Consecrated Life
- Video with Bishop Philip Boyce giving an overview of the Year of Consecrated Life. Click here to watch the video.
- Video in celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life: Religious from five different congregations in Ireland share how they discerned the call to their vocation. Click here to watch the video.
Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life
O God, throughout the ages you have called women and men
to pursue lives of perfect charity through the evangelical counsels
of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
During this Year of Consecrated Life, we give you thanks
for these courageous witnesses of Faith and models of inspiration.
Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to you.
Continue to enrich your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who,
having found the pearl of great price,
treasure the Kingdom of Heaven above all things.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life (recommended for use in parishes by Archbishop Eamon Martin)
O God we thank you for the witness of those among us who have chosen a vocation to the consecrated life.
Continue to inspire some of our sons and daughters to serve you as religious sisters, brothers or priests.
Show us your plans for the renewal of faith in Ireland and give us all the grace we need to help wake up the world to your love.