Launching of the Year of Consecrated Life
KUCHING — The evening of 20 November saw the Carmelite Chapel packed with members of religious congregations and the lay faithful attending the Holy Mass to inaugurate the Year of Consecrated Life. It was also a celebration of the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Presiding at the Mass was Archbishop John Ha with Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung, two Franciscan Friars, three Jesuit priests, three Claretian priests and a diocesan priest concelebrating.
In his homily, Archbishop John Ha explained that, though biologically related, there is another level of the mother-son relationship of Mary and Jesus. “That level of relationship is not based on blood, but based on obedience to God’s will. In that obedience, they share the family relationship of mother and son.”
The Archbishop urged the faithful to follow the Blessed Mother Mary in doing the will of God in order to belong and remain in the family of God. “It is God’s will that we become his children, but we need to retain the status of children of God by being obedient to God’s will,” he said.
“We enter into this relationship with Jesus Christ based not on blood, but on obedience to God’s will… the same family relationship in which our Blessed Mother has a very special place,” added the prelate.
He reminded the faithful that the Church is the family of God. “The Church does not make up of religious and priests only, but everyone who lives in Christ and does the will of God.”
The Archbishop said the religious community is a reminder that obedience is necessary to belonging to the family of God. “In the Church, people in consecrated life dedicate themselves to living as a family of God based on God’s word,” he said. “They share what they have and what they are with one another – that is family love for those who dedicate themselves to consecrated life.”
“As we pray for the religious, we also pray for ourselves, that in following their good example, we may also do the will of God in our own ways,” he concluded.
In 2013, Pope Francis declared the Year of Consecrated Life to be celebrated throughout the world. It begins on the First Sunday of Advent, 30 November and will close on the World Day of Consecrated life, 2 February 2016.
The Year of Consecrated Life focuses on the renewal of men and women in consecrated life, to thank the religious priests, sisters and brothers for their service to the Church, and also as an invitation to young Catholics to consider the religious vocation.
In the Archdiocese of Kuching, there are six religious congregations, namely the Brothers of Christian Schools (FSC), Franciscan Friars (OFM), Society of Jesus or Jesuits (SJ), Claretian Fathers (CMF), Sisters of St Francis of Sarawak (SSFS) and the Discalced Carmelites (OCD).
Various programmes in conjunction with the Year of Consecrated Life have been planned for the archdiocesan level by a special committee made up of the religious congregations.