Dear Brothers and Sisters in Consecrated Life,
I take joy in greeting all of you Consecrated Persons here in the Philippines, during our Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which is the World Day for Consecrated Life established by St. John Paul II in 1997. This year, this day takes on a special meaning for the Church here in the Philippines.
This is a year for the renewal of the clergy and consecrated persons – as renewed servant leaders for the new evangelization. Let us not lose sight of the fact that this year is in preparation for 2021, the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines. We envision a renewed and evangelizing Church.
I urge you particularly to be renewed during this year, for your sake, and not just for your own sake, but for the sake of our Church where you offer a shining example of a life dedicated to following Christ more closely by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Becoming missionary disciples of Christ by following him is a unique way to help us all to follow him, too. Renew your values, mind-sets, behavior and life-styles by following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd. Truly become servant-leaders who care most especially for the least, the lost and the last.
Your consecrated life is for the good of the whole Body of Christ. As Pope Francis has said: “Consecrated life is a gift to the Church, it is born of the Church, it grows in the Church, and it is entirely directed to the Church.”
May this day for Consecrated Persons lead us all to praise the Lord and to thank him for the great gift of consecrated life, which enriches the Christian community. May it promote knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God. May we be aware of the work you do and the witness that you give. May your joy in following Christ fill the whole Church.
+ ROMULO G. VALLES, D.D.
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
February 2, 2018