Bridget Puzon, O.S.U.

The Year of Consecrated Life began on the First Sunday of Advent and will end on February 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated life. 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.

Pope Francis calls upon the people of God worldwide to recognize and celebrate the gifts given to us all through the men and women religious who minister to society’s needs. At the same time, the Pope calls those in consecrated life to embrace the future with hope and renewed commitment.

The ministry of religious affected the lives of the men and women who as children and young adults learned about God, the Church, and their life values and choices through education.

God’s loving care has been made present in the children, women, and men both in the U.S. and in foreign Missions, who have received food, shelter, clothing, and compassionate care, from the works given by the ministry of religious, by the resources of their lives and the gifts from the people of parishes and organizations.

For the society that influences all human lives, religious men and women have provided guidance and leadership in bringing about the reign of God in our everyday lives and in public life.

And these are what Pope Francis is calling the people of God to reflect on and respond to as the celebration of consecrated lives in 2015.