On Nov. 30, the first Sunday of Advent, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, Bishop Dennis Sullivan gathered with 78 men and women religious serving in the Diocese of Camden to celebrate the opening Mass of the Year of Consecrated Life.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis proclaimed 2015 to be a Year of Consecrated Life, beginning this past Sunday, Nov. 29, and concluding on Feb. 2, 2016.
The yearlong observance is dedicated to renewing hope in religious life and instilling it more profoundly with a prophetic witness of the Gospel.
In his message on the year, Pope Francis encouraged consecrated men and women in saying that that “their shining witness of life will be as a lamp,” to “give light and warmth to all of God’s people.”
In addition, the year also marks the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis, a decree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the church.
Comprising religious sisters, priests and brothers, those practicing consecrated life in the Diocese of Camden have dedicated themselves to the service of the church, and living as Jesus did, in poverty, chastity and obedience.
Throughout the diocese, the 251 women religious, 25 men religious, and 13 brothers are involved in the works of the Catholic Church, through education, healthcare, social work and parish or diocesan work.
In the Diocese of Camden, upcoming events to mark the Year of Consecrated Life will include a World Day of Consecrated Life Celebration and Jubilee in February; open houses at women religious communities; and iRace4Vocations in the spring.