“… I invite every Christian community to experience this Year above all as a moment of thanksgiving to the Lord and grateful remembrance for all the gifts we continue to receive.” – Pope Francis
Pope Francis opened the Year for Consecrated Life on February 2nd at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, marking the start of an entire year dedicated to the many who have chosen the vocation of religious life. This World Day of Consecrated Life was instituted by John Paul II in 1997. February 2nd is also the Feast of the Presentation and coincides with the Candelmas. The Feast of the Presentation marks an important day in the life of our Lord Jesus. Jesus is dedicated to God the Father as Joseph and Mary present Jesus in the temple. Later the writers of the Gospel will proclaim that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
This light is often symbolized through the use of candles. On this day, historically, the Church performs the Blessing of the Candles. Candles that will be used all year as a symbol of Christ’s light to the world. The Church teaches that consecrated men and women also offer a light to the world in as much as we conform to the teachings of Christ, offering this same light to the world, and pointing to the Kingdom of God as our ultimate destiny and goal.
A translation of Pope Francis’ homily is available on the Vatican Radio website.