The World Day for Consecrated Life coincides with the feast of the Presentation, 40 days after Jesus’ birth when Mary and Joseph presented him at the temple in Jerusalem.
Roughly 70 men and women religious attended Mass on this day, February 2 at Corpus Christi Parish in Edmonton. Some were more visible to the congregation in their habits and cassocks, but all served as reminders of their role in Church and society.
The Mass included a renewal of the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity.
“They have dedicated their entire lives to giving witness to Christ in the midst of the Church and before the world,” Archbishop Richard Smith said in his homily. “They are here because today’s Feast of the Presentation is also designated by the Church as World Day of Consecrated Life. What’s the connection? Well, recalling the presentation of Christ in the temple as the ‘light for all nations’ reminds us of the call of women and men especially consecrated to God to be a reflection of that light to the world.”
Generations ago, religious women in Alberta helped grow a nascent province.
They helped build schools and hospitals. They taught students and cared for the sick. They fed and clothed the poor, and comforted the lonely. Today, their numbers are shrinking — and without wearing a habit they may not be as easily identifiable in a crowd — but their commitment to reflect Christ to the world hasn’t diminished.
“We look around and say ‘Where are the needs?
Regardless of the future, religious men and women will continue their purpose to be a reflection of Christ in the world.
After Mass, religious shared a meal, laughed and chatted with parishioners.
(Adapted from Grandin Media, Edmonton)