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(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal João Braz De Aviz held a press conference on Friday to announce the upcoming Year of Consecrated Life.
At the press conference, Cardinal Braz de Aviz told journalists that Pope Francis had announced the Year of Consecrated life in November at a meeting with the Union of Superiors General.
Noting that the Year will take place in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Braz de Avi z said, “We believe that the Council has been a breath of the Spirit not only for the whole Church but, perhaps especially, for the consecrated life. We are also convinced that in these 50 years consecrated life has undertaken a fruitful journey of renewal — not free, certainly, of difficulties and hardships — in the commitment to follow what the Council asked of the consecrated: fidelity to the Lord, to the Church, to their own charism and to the people of today.
For this reason, he said, the first objective of the Year of Consecrated Life would be to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past.”
With this positive outlook on the past, he continued, “we want to ‘embrace the future with hope’— the second objective. Although the crises that affect the world and the Church are also felt within consecrated life, Cardinal Braz de Aviz said women and men religious remain full of hope, based not on their own powers, but on trust in the Lord. “In Him,” he said, “no one can rob us of our hope.”
This hope, though, he said, cannot keep us from “living the present with passion” — and this is the third objective of the coming Year. This passion, the Cardinal said, speaks of “being in love, of true friendship, of profound communion.” This is “the true beauty of the life of so many women who profess the evangelical counsels and follow Christ ‘more closely’ in this state of life.” In this regard, he said, the Year of Consecrated Life will have an evangelical focus, helping people to realize “the beauty of following Christ” in the various types of religious vocations.
The Year of Consecrated Life is expected to begin in October of this year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Lumen gentium (the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church), which has a specific chapter dealing with consecrated life. The anniversary of the Council’s decree Perfectae caritatis, will be the occasion of the close of the Year, in November 2015.