Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Celebrate Consecrated Life

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

In 1997, our Holy Father , John Paul II called for consecrated life to be promoted throughout the universal church, declaring February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord to be observed as World Day for Consecrated Life. In the US when February 2 is not a Sunday, we celebrate on a date close to the Feast. For us in the Diocese of San Bernardino, the celebration will be Jan. 31, with Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral at 3:00PM.

It is a wonderful opportunity for our people to reflect and thank God for the gift that consecrated life has been and continues to be for the church. We think of the Women and Men Religious, Sisters, Brothers, Priests who have touched our lives, showed us the face of God and filled our lives with meaning, purpose and hope. We wish to express our deep gratitude to the many Congregations of Men and Women for their presence and for their active roles in service and ministry in every part of our multicultural diocese. Our lives continue to be transformed, challenged and supported by their faithfulness to call and to the charism of their Congregations, as they give form to the Diocesan vision and carry out the Mission of our God among us.
While we stop and reflect on the beautiful gift of the vocation to Consecrated Life, we must also stop and reflect on the need for more women and men to respond to that call. I pray that our homes and faith communities will be places where we encourage our people to listen to the voice of Jesus. I pray that when the Lord calls and asks, “Whom shall I send?”, there will be those who respond as eagerly as the Prophet Isaiah-“Here I am, send me!”

Brothers and Sisters in Consecrated Life, may God help you in your lives and service in and with the church. May you have the spirit, health and energy to carry out the mission in gratitude and hope, making a gift of your own charism to others, always witnessing to the greatest charism, which is charity. Amar es entregarse! I assure you of my constant remembrance in prayer and I warmly offer you my blessing on this special day.

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