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Vatican outlines plans for Year of Consecrated Life

January 31, 2014

At a press conference in Rome on January 31, Vatican officials outlined plans for the Year of Consecrated Life, which Pope Francis has declared for 2015.

The special year, which was announced by Pope Francis in December at a meeting with superior generals of male religious orders, was an answer to suggestions made by many religious superiors, said Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious. The year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Vatican II decree on religious life, Perfectae Caritatis.

The Church recognizes that we are experiencing a “difficult and delicate” time in religious life, Cardinal Braz de Aviz said. The Year of Consecrated Life is designed to help religious face the future with confidence, he said. The cardinal encouraged members of religious orders to rediscover the original charisms of their communities, as set forth in their founding.

Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, the secretary of the Congregation for Religious, mentioned some of the Vatican’s plans for the special year, which will begin in October 2014. The solemn inauguration of the year will be marked by a Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter’s basilica, with Pope Francis likely to preside, in November. That same month will see a plenary assembly of the Congregation for Religious.

During the year that follows, the Vatican will host meetings for young religious and novice and for spiritual directors, and an international conference on religious life. The year will conclude with another major ceremony at the Vatican, probably on November 21, 2015: the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis. Archbishop Carballo expressed the hope that before the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis would publish a new apostolic constitution on the topic, updating Sponsa Christi, which was released by Pope Pius XII in 1950.


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