Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A new apostolic constitution on the contemplative life, meetings for young men and women religious and educators, an international congress on the theology of the consecrated life and an international exhibit on the consecrated life and the gospel in human history are some of the events that will mark the Year of the Consecrated Life. Presented today at the Vatican, the Year will begin on 21 November 2014 and end 21 November 2015, 50 years after the Conciliar Decree Perfectae Caritatis, on the renewal of the consecrated life.
Announced on 29 November 2013 by Pope Francis at the end of the meeting with the superiors general of male institutes, the Year will provide an opportunity "to acknowledge and confess our weakness", said Card João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and "shout to the world, forcefully and with joy, the holiness and vitality present in the consecrated life," which is all too "often hidden but no less fruitful."
The first objective will be to "remember gratefully" the "50 years that separate us from the Council as a moment of grace for the consecrated life, marked by the presence of the Spirit that leads us to face even our weaknesses and infidelities as an experience of God's mercy and love."
"With the positive outlook on this season of grace, from the Council until now, we want to - and here's the second objective - 'embrace the future with hope'."
Aware that "the crisis facing society and the Church itself fully touches the consecrated life, [. . .] we want to take on this crisis not as the antechamber of death, but as a kairos, an opportunity for greater depth and therefore, hope, motivated by the certainty that the consecrated life in the Church will never disappear."
"Despite so many 'prophets of doom', we want to remain men and women of hope, a hope that is not based on our 'chariots and horses ', that is, on our own strength, our numbers, but on Him in whom we have placed our confidence. In Him, no one will steal our hope. "
"This hope does not spare us, and the consecrated are well aware that they are living in the present with passion, the third objective of this Year of the Consecrated Life. Passion is about falling in love, true friendship, and profound communion . . . . This is what we mean when we talk about the consecrated life. This is what gives beauty to the life of many men and women who profess the evangelical counsels and 'closely' follow Christ in this state of life."
As part of the preparation for this year, Mgr José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, Secretary of the Congregation, said, "The dicastery plans to release a newsletter every four months on topics relating to the consecrated life."
The first one will be released on 2 February, dedicated to the Magisterium of Pope Francis on the consecrated life. It will be titled 'Rejoice'.
Also as preparation for the Year, there will be a symposium on 8 and 9 March on the management of economic and financial assets by the religious.
"Even for contemplative nuns, we shall propose some initiatives for the Year of Consecrated life in accordance with their specific lifestyle. One of them will be a worldwide chain of prayer in the monasteries."
"We want to give these initiatives a particular educational turn, aware that through education we decide the present and the future of the evangelical significance of the consecrated life."