|Tomb of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade|
Imagine our joy when Pope Francis announced that the Church would celebrate “the Year of Consecrated Life” in 2015! We look forward to the Year of Consecrated Life as a way of renewing our commitment to the charism of our Founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, and as a grace-filled opportunity to nurture the seeds of a religious vocation among young men who have expressed an interest in our Province and in our Marianist way of life.
On Sunday, February 2, Pope Francis capitalized on the Church’s Annual World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life to emphasize the importance of religious priests, brothers, and sisters. “Every consecrated person is a gift for the People of God on a journey,” the Pope told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus message. “There is much need of their presence, that strengthens and renews the commitment to spread the gospel, to Christian education, to charity for the most needy, to contemplative prayer; the commitment to a human and spiritual formation of young people, of families; the commitment to justice and peace in the human family.”
“The Church and the world have need of this testimony of the love and mercy of God,” he added. Yes, all Christians are consecrated to God in baptism and are called to make “a generous gift of our lives, in the family, at work, in the service of the Church, (and) in works of mercy,” but those in religious life experience this consecration “in a particular way. Totally consecrated to God, they are totally given over to their brethren, to carry the light of Christ where the darkness is thickest and to spread His hope to hearts that are discouraged.”
“We must pray,” the Pope concluded, “so that many young people respond ‘yes’ to the Lord who calls them to consecrate themselves wholly for disinterested service to their brethren.”
We ask you to join us in prayer, that young people would respond joyfully and generously to the call of a religious vocation. We ask you in particular to pray for those young men who are discerning a call to the Society of Mary and the Province of Meribah. This past summer, seven young men lived, prayed, studied, and worked with us in a three-week discernment community. Many of these same young men will join us again this summer in our discernment community, along with several newcomers to the program.
Pope Francis has said that those who live a religious life in imitation of Christ’s own poverty, chastity, and obedience offer “a special witness to the gospel of the Kingdom of God.” In his oft-quoted summation of Marianist religious life, Blessed Chaminade focused as well on the imitation of Jesus Christ as the heart and soul of our calling: “It is for us an infinite honor to be like Him.”
Please pray for us as we strive to “be like Him” and lead others to do so as well.
In Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother,
Bro. Thomas J. Cleary. S.M.
Province of Meribah