Monday 2nd February, Feast of the Presentation, and celebration of Consecrated Life, this year had special significance as it is the year dedicated to consecrated life.
Many of us religious in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle, and the consecrated Virgins and Widows, gathered at St Joseph’s with the Little Sisters of the Poor, to celebrate this special day. Father John Cooper, Vicar for Religious celebrated the Eucharist which began with a hymn based on the words of Pope Francis to the Consecrated Religious of the world:
Wake the world with dawning joy! Wake it with your gladness!
Father John preached echoing Pope Francis’s words reminding us that each of our congregations started with a call, a call to belong to Christ, to be united to Him. ‘For me to live is Christ’. Our lives are an expression of this passionate love. We can ask ourselves again ‘Is Jesus our first and only love?’ We have His own heart to enable us to love others. It is our joy in this love which will make religious life attractive to others.
We thank the Little Sisters for their generous hospitality in providing a lovely lunch again. We were able to relax in each other’s company and catch up with people we had not met in a while. Some shared what this celebration had meant for them: ‘Coming together is a support’ ‘It is a joy to come together and to share the joy of belonging to Christ’ ‘I am celebrating all that I have received in religious life’ ‘It is life giving to celebrate with others who have also consecrated their lives to God’ ‘We are celebrating to show that we are alive and happy, to be a witness’
On a personal note, that day was also the celebration of my anniversary of final profession. I am celebrating the incredible love and fidelity of God to me through all these years.
Barbara Sweeney RSCJ