February 02 - The permanently professed religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) renewed their vows today on the Feast of the Presentation.
This feast has had a special significance for religious since 1997, when the late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, declared it also the World Day for Consecrated Religious. In instituting this celebration, Bl. John Paul II prayed that it might "help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and... be a suitable occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord" (link).
This year, the religious of the Institute in the Washington D.C. area renewed their vows during a morning Mass offered at St. John Baptist de la Salle Parish in Chillum, MD. Father Carlos Pereira, IVE, visiting from Montefiasconi, Italy, celebrated the Mass while Novice Master, Father Javier Ibarra, IVE, offered a homily reinvigorating the efforts of the religious present to strive toward holiness. Combined with the sister Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará (SSVM), over sixty religious brothers, sisters, and priests were present at the Mass, offering an embodiment of Pope Benedict's encouragement to "not join the prophets of doom who proclaim the end or the lack of meaning of consecrated life in today's church" (link). Indeed, the religious life is very much alive!
After the Mass, all headed to the Fulton Sheen House of Formation hall for a hearty breakfast feast before embarking on the day's varied apostolates.
Saint Faustina once commented upon the religious life in a vision received from the Lord. She said, "Today, the Lord gave me knowledge of His anger toward mankind which deserves to have its days shortened because of its sins. But I learned that the world's existence is maintained by chosen souls; that is, the religious orders. Woe to the world when there will be a lack of religious orders!" (link) Please pray for many vocations to the religious life to our Institute and to religious in every country; each one a sacrificial bulwark and particular reflection of the love of God for the world!
Our Lady of the Presentation, pray for us!
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