VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30, marking the start of the new liturgical year, will also inaugurate the Year for Consecrated Life.
The yearlong observance is dedicated to renewing hope in religious life and instilling it more profoundly with a prophetic witness of the Gospel.
Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, was scheduled to celebrate the year’s opening Mass Nov. 30 in St. Peter’s Basilica because Pope Francis was scheduled to be on an apostolic visit in Turkey.
Msgr. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, the congregation’s secretary, told Vatican Radio the first Sunday of Advent was selected as the launch date because Advent represents “the time of hope par excellence.” He said the congregation would like the entire year “to be lived with the hope that must always characterize consecrated life.”
A number of international meetings have been planned in Rome over the course of the year. At the start of 2015, a three-day ecumenical conference of religious will take place Jan 22-25. A seminar for formation directors will take place April 8-11. And a workshop for young consecrated men and women has been organized for Sept. 23-25.
The observance will actually extend beyond one liturgical year and wrap up with a weeklong conference in early 2016, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2. The theme of the conference will be “Reproduce in yourself, as far as possible, ‘that form of life which he, as the Son of God, accepted in entering this world.” The quotation is from St. John Paul II’s 1996 apostolic exhortation “Vita Consecrata” (“Consecrated Life”). A papal Mass on the Day for Consecrated Life, Feb. 2, 2016, will conclude the year.