February 3, 2011.
Hundreds of members from different religious orders attended an evening ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica with the Pope. The occasion was the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life. Benedict XVI called on the religious orders to show the full beauty and joy that comes from dedicating their lives to fulfill God's will.
He compared their work to Mary and Joseph presenting the baby Jesus in
the temple as an act of devotion. He said this could serve as an “icon”
for the Catholic men and women in continuing their work.
“The presentation of Jesus in the temple is an eloquent icon of the
total offering of one's life for the men and women who are called to
reproduce it in the Church and the world, through the evangelical
counsels, 'the characteristic traits of Jesus, chaste, poor and
The Pope noted that the cultures of the wealthiest countries is “marked
frequently by a radical plurality” where every lifestyle is presented as
having equal validity. Catholics must answer this with a renewed
commitment in faith and with more attention on education.
Benedict XVI has repeatedly recognized religious orders for their life
of prayer and self-less work with the poor, sick, and elderly.
This feast was originally created by John Paul II in 1997 to honor those
who chose to consecrate their lives to Christ. Benedict XVI has
continued the tradition that has now become an annual event.
This was also the first public appearance of Brazilian Archbishop João
Braz de Aviz since his recent appointment as Prefect for the
Congregation of Consecrated and Apostolic life.