How is the DAY OF CONSECRATED LIFE celebrated today in a South American countries?
The solicitation is to know a particular form of celebration of Latin American countries and to open to another culture, bearer of wealth, in which are also found the seeds of the Word.
As is tradition in the Church in Chile, on the Solemnity of the ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY, on Monday 15 August, the Day of Consecrated Life is celebrated, intended to emphasize the apostolic work, missionary, pastoral and social activities of men and women religious throughout the country.
Facing today’s culture and the form of life marked by individualism, loneliness, religious indifference and the exacerbated value of productive activity, a group of consecrated persons in the Church to love God above all things and neighbour as one’self, that dedicate a day to gather and celebrate together the joy of loving and serving, is a clear witness of God’s presence in the midst of his Church.
With great joy, the CONFERENCE OF RELIGIOUS OF VI REGION, the so-called, CONFERRE Zonale, of the city of Rancagua, Chile, assembles all consecrated men and women, to celebrate together the Day of Consecrated Life. Coming together and celebrating, in this great social and health crisis that we live, is a good opportunity to meet and nourish ourselves: to nourish life with the Lord and with the fraternal sharing of lived experiences.
And the religious life, what is it?
The Consecrated Life, deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy Spirit… In every age there have been men and women who, obedient to the Father's call and to the prompting of the Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ, in order to devote themselves to him with an "undivided" heart” (cf. VC.1)
In following Christ, Mary, Virgin and Mother becomes a companion of the journey, a model of life of consecration and dedication. It is she who indicates the way of being in the world; she is, the first disciple of Jesus, the paradigm of the believer who, with his words and actions, praises God because with the humble and the little ones "God does great things".
To honour her, on the Feast of the Assumption, the group of religious, meets in the house and parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, of the Congregation of the Religious of the Mother of God, in a country called Quinta de Tilcoco, of the VI Region.
After a long time of closure, because of the Covid 19 pandemic, being encouraged to leave the confinement, to leave the city, means to begin to enjoy the natural environment. We were received by the region of Quinta de Tilcoco, which is located in the central part of the Rancagua area, surrounded by hills, mountains and islands.
As a sign of welcome, joy, esteem, support, the pastor of the diocese, Monsignor Guillermo Vera Soto, recently appointed Bishop, who took possession of the Diocese of Rancagua at the end of July 2021, awaits us. He will be a "shepherd with the smell of the sheep" as Pope Francis said. This is the pastoral style of every Bishop.
Since the centre of religious life is Christ, after welcoming and sharing the joy of fraternal encounter and a sweet break, the parish awaits us for a moment of community prayer with the recitation of the Holy Rosary and the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The central moment of this meeting has been the Eucharist presided over by Mons. Guillermo and concelebrated by some religious priests. The goodness of the Lord pours his grace upon us giving us the opportunity to renew our consecration in joy and in offering.
In the homily, Mgr. William emphasizes Mary’s attitude of faith and hope, which stand out in the Gospel of the day (cf. Lk. 1:39 - 56) inviting us to "believe in God and believe to God".
The sisters of Santa Marta, also present in the village of Quinta de Tilcoco, make available the rooms of the Sacred Heart College to share a lunch seasoned with great affection and joy. It has been an opportunity for every religious community to present to the new pastor the charism of their Congregation and their presence in the Diocese.
As a SIGN, the sisters of Santa Marta offer to every religious a plant as a wish for fruitfulness, accompanied by the message:
"The Church awaits the contribution of consecrated life, for its specific vocation to the life of communion in love" (cf. VC, 51).
Consecrated persons are asked to be true experts of communion and to practise the spirituality of communion as "witnesses and architects of the plan for unity which is the crowning point of human history in God's design" (VC, 46).
Faced with the scarcity of religious vocations in today’s world, having the opportunity to see, listen, talk with a large group of religious, makes hope sprout, allows you to listen to the divine voice that continues to say "... I am with you always till the end of time" (Mt. 28, 20) and "For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them" (Mt. 18, 20).
That is why, reading and examining these phrases, we trace a dawn of light, of expectation, of hope, because the Lord always calls.
May He fix His gaze of love also on you, young today, and invites you to follow Him, for only in Him will you find the Way, the Truth and the Life.