WASHINGTON (April 17, 2000) – The World Day for Consecrated Life 2001 will be marked in the United States the weekend of February 3-4.
This year's theme will be "Come and See" (John 1:39). It was chosen to emphasize the invitation that institutes of consecrated life hold out to people who feel called to this way of life.
Materials for the occasion will be distributed to dioceses next fall and will include such items as slicks which can be used to make brochures for distribution in parishes and homily helps that link the readings of the day to this event.
The annual celebration is part of an international observance called for by Pope John Paul II to highlight the place of institutes of consecrated life in the Church. Dioceses are urged to plan celebrations in parishes so that the event becomes a teachable moment to educate people in the pews about the significance of the vowed life.
In the United States, the celebration is overseen by the Commission on Religious Life and Ministry, which includes leaders from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Consecrated Life, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Bishop Joseph J. Gerry, OSB, Chairman of the Consecrated Life Committee, noted the significance of the celebration.
"People who choose to dedicate themselves entirely to the Church through membership in religious institutes and other forms of consecrated life are vital to our world. By their vowed lives they state that there is a world beyond the here and now. The lifestyle is more relevant today than ever before. Their vow of poverty questions contemporary materialism and consumerism. Their vow of chastity holds up the ideal of a selfless love where people are cherished and never used. Their vow of obedience denies the value in any 'me-first' philosophy."
Recent research on attitudes of young Catholics showed that about half of today's Catholic youth see having religious orders of priests, sisters, brothers and monks as essential to their vision of the Catholic faith.