On Feb. 2, more than 50 religious sisters and brothers — as well as some religious order priests — serving across the Diocese of Providence gathered in prayer and fellowship at the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Fruit Hill, in North Providence, to celebrate World Day of Consecrated Life. The occasion was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1997 as a day dedicated to all those who have committed themselves to consecrated life.
The day began with an Opening Prayer, followed by lunch and the welcoming of new religious brothers and sisters who came to serve in the diocese in the last eight months. Father Joseph Gillespie, L.C., chaplain at Overbrook Academy in Greenville, offered a talk on the consecrated life, which was followed by a Holy Hour Adoration with Vespers.
The event took place on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which marks the point 40 days after the birth of Jesus when Mary and Joseph presented the Son of God at the Temple in Jerusalem to initiate him into the Jewish faith. The feast day also coincided on Feb. 2 this year with Candlemas Day — the day on which candles are blessed to symbolize Christ who is the light of the world. Like candles, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.