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Pope offers prayers, praise for religious on Day of Consecrated Life

Catholic World News - February 02, 2011

Near the conclusion of his regular public audience on February 2, Pope Benedict XVI called attention to the annual Day for Consecrated life, noting that religious men and women are “a particularly precious gift for the Church.”

The Pope offered his prayers for the religious who “strive after sanctity in the service of children, young people, the sick, the elderly and the lonely. We are grateful to them for their prayers and for the work they do in parishes, hospitals, care homes and schools.”

In the evening, the Pope led a Vespers service for religious men and women in the Vatican basilica.

In an analysis of the state of religious life, Rome Reports noted that the number of religious worldwide declined by just over 8,000 in the past year. (The total number of religious is about 794,000, of whom the vast majority—739,000—are women.) Europe and the Americas account for most of the world’s religious, but the numbers of religious are dropping on those continents. In Africa and Asia the numbers are smaller, but rising.

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