The Catholic Church celebrates World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life on February 2, and parishes will commemorate the event over the weekend of February 5-6. This event is a special time to celebrate the gift of consecrated life and pray for men and women discerning a consecrated vocation with the global Catholic Church.
Instituted by St. John Paul II in 1997, World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life is celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, which commemorates through the blessing and lighting of candles that Christ is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.
The celebration “is intended 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 and, at the same time, is intended to be a suitable occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord,” St. John Paul II wrote for the first World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life.
Its three-fold purpose is to thank God for the gift of consecrated life, to promote awareness of consecrated life among all people, and for consecrated men and women to celebrate what the Lord has accomplished through them.
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, N.J., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, spoke of how the example of consecrated men and women should spur all of the faithful on to greater holiness: “With lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience, consecrated men and women provide us with an example of complete dedication to Christ. They remind us that regardless of the vocation the Lord calls us to, we are all called to union with Christ and to do our part to build up the Kingdom of God.”
As it does every year, the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) to conduct a survey of the religious Profession Class of 2021. The survey polled women and men religious who professed perpetual vows in 2021 in a religious congregation, province, or monastery based in the United States. CARA received a response from 547 of 742 major superiors for an overall response rate of 74% among religious institutes. Of the 182 identified men and women religious who professed perpetual vows in 2021, 62 sisters and nuns and 60 brothers and priests responded to the survey for an overall response rate of 67%.
Some of the major findings and highlights of the report are:
- On average, responding religious report that they were 19 years old when they first considered a vocation to religious life.
- The average age of responding religious of the Profession Class of 2021 is 37. Half of the responding religious are age 34 or younger. The youngest is 24 and the oldest is 70.
- Seven in ten (71%) responding religious report their primary race or ethnicity as Caucasian, European American, or white. One in ten (13%) identifies as Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian. One in ten identifies as Hispanic/Latino(a). Four percent identity as African/African American/black and just two respondents identify as mixed race.
- Three-fourths of responding religious (76%) were born in the United States. Of those born outside the United States, the most common countries of origin are Vietnam and the Philippines (5 religious from each).
- On average, the respondents who were born outside the United States were 23 years old when they first came to the United States and lived here for 15 years before perpetual profession.
- Nine in ten (86%) responding religious report that someone encouraged them to consider a vocation to religious life. Men are more likely than women to be encouraged by a parish priest, friend, mother, and parishioner.
- The Profession Class of 2021 is highly educated. Two in ten responding religious earned a graduate degree before entering their religious institute. Seven in ten (70%) entered their religious institute with at least a bachelor’s degree (63% for women and 77% for men).
- Four in five (80%) participated in one or more religious programs or activities before entering their religious institute. Two-fifths of respondents (39%) participated in youth ministry or youth group. Three-tenth participated in young adult ministry or group (33%) and Catholic campus ministry/Newman Center (30%). One in five (18%) participated in a World Youth Day prior to entering their religious institute.
The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life highlights the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church. Pray for those men and women who are in consecrated life, and those discerning the vocation.
(Photos from The Catholic Witness.)
Please Pray for Those in Formation for Consecrated Life
The following is a list of men and women in the Diocese who are currently in formation to consecrated life. This is not an exhaustive list; please pray for all those in discernment and in formation for consecrated life and share the names of any additional men and women to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brother Linus Mary Martz, OP
Made First Profession with the Dominican Friars of the Eastern Province in 2019
Native of St. Joseph Parish in Hanover
Sister Kristen Forgotch, ASC
Professed with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ
Native of Our Lady of Fatima Mission in Jonestown
Sister Mary Kate Mensch, SSCM
Professed first vows with the Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius
Native of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Elysburg
Sister Lily Key, OCSO
Professed first vows with the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance
Native of St. Patrick Parish in Carlisle
Brother Tyler Grudi, OFM
In formation with the Order of Friars Minor, St. Bonaventure Province
Native of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Hershey
Aspirant with the Our Lady of the Angels Province of the Conventual Franciscan Friars
Native of Prince of Peace Parish in Steelton
In formation with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Native of Assumption BVM Parish in Lancaster
Postulant with the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Former teacher at Our Lady of the Angels School in Columbia
Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia
Former campus minister at Bloomsburg University