WASHINGTON -- Parishes nationwide should emphasize the role of religious vocations February 2, the chairmen of the Bishops' Committees on Religious Life and Ministry and Vocations said in a January 3 memo to Bishops nationwide.
The memo, from Bishop Joseph A. Galante, Chairman of the Religious Life and Ministry Committee and Bishop Paul S. Loverde, Chairman of the Vocations Committee, noted that Pope John Paul II has set aside February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, as a day dedicated to the consecrated life.
"The designation of the day is intended to provide the opportunity to present the consecrated life to the faithful, especially to the to young, and to do so in a strongly vocational manner," the Chairmen said.
"Too often the witness of religious sisters, priests and brothers, as well as members of secular institutes, is taken for granted," they said also. "It is our hope that this day enables us to come to a deeper appreciation for the gift of consecrated life and to encourage more of our young people to consider giving their lives to God in this radical way of living the Gospel."
The Bishops also included a list of ways to increase awareness of consecrated life in the parish. Ideas included featuring sisters and brothers at weekend liturgies by having them speak at Masses following the prayer after Communion, distributing brochures about religious life at Masses, providing educational programs about consecrated life for Catholic school and religious education programs and setting up opportunities for youth and young adults to work with religious to see their ministries first-hand.
The effort coincides with A Future Full of Hope, the U.S. Bishops' three-year strategy to increase vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The strategy includes researching who is entering the priesthood and religious life today, highlighting strategies to increase vocation awareness and underscoring the preeminent role of parents, priests and parishes in promoting vocations.