Today the Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord -- a day when we all consider our own consecration to God. In particular, the feast is associated with the religious life, and so this day also marks the 16th World Day of Consecrated Life.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops explains why Blessed John Paul II established the World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997
The purpose of the day is to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels. [...]
Based on the latest statistics of the Canadian Religious Conference, there are more than 200 religious institutes and societies of apostolic life in Canada, with a total number of 19,235 women and men as members, while 350 women in Canada are members of women’s secular institutes.
Pope Benedict will be honouring the religious life by presiding over Vespers and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Peter's Basilica. Consecrated men and women from various communities will be present. S+L will air the liturgy live on S+L TV and streaming online
at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT. You can pray along with vespers with the online booklet for the celebration
, which includes an English translation of the prayers.
Credit: CNS photo/Paul Haring