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Religious need liturgical training, Vatican says

Catholic World News - February 03, 2010

Consecrated religious "represent a kind of bridge toward God for everyone they meet," Pope Benedict XVI said on February 2 as he presided at a Vespers service in St. Peter's basilica for the feast of the Presentation: the Day for Consecrated Life.

Religious life, the Pope said, "is a testament to the superabundance of love which stimulates us to lose our own life in response to the superabundance of the love of the Lord." A total lifelong dedication to Christ is a powerful witness to the secular world, he said. "It has meaning only if He truly is the Mediator between God and us; otherwise it would merely be a form of sublimation or evasion."

The Pope offered special praise for cloistered religious whose role in the Church involves "taking upon themselves the suffering and trials of others and joyfully offering everything for the salvation of the world." In giving his thanks and support to all religious, he made a special reference to "consecrated people who feel the burden of a daily fatigue that offers scant human gratification" as well as aged, ill, and struggling religious.

In related news, Cardinal Franc Rodé, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious, disclosed that his dicastery is preparing a new document encouraging proper liturgical formation of religious. Emphasizing the "absolute necessary of prayer" in the life of religious, Cardinal Rodé told the Italian-language arm of Vatican Radio that engagement in the liturgy is a pivotal aspect of communal prayer life for religious. He said his office had discovered "a certain ignorance, a certain lack of liturgical knowledge and training in young men and women religious." He reported that the Congregation for Religious is working with the Congregation for Divine Worship to prepare a guide to liturgical training for religious men and women.

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