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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to consecrated people: Look at eyes of brothers and sisters more than cellphones

In honor of the World Day for Consecrated Life, Pope Francis presided over Mass in St. Peter's Basilica with hundreds of religious. 

The ceremony began with this procession of candles, which had just received the Holy Father's blessing. During his homily, the pope urged each of the attendees to never forget the value of his or her peers, whether young or old, in carrying out the Church's mission. 

“For if the young are called to open new doors, the elderly have the keys. An institute remains youthful by going back to its roots, by listening to its older members. There is no future without this encounter between the old and the young.”

On this day, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. In the “Christian East,” it's known as the Feast of Encounter, which is exactly what the Holy Father encouraged consecrated people to seek. In today's hectic world, he warned of the temptation to pursue fleeting pleasures. 

“Today’s frantic pace leads us to close many doors to encounter, often for fear of others. Only shopping malls and internet connections are always open. Yet that is not how it should be with consecrated life: the brother and the sister given to me by God are a part of my history, gifts to be cherished. May we never look at the screen of our cellphone more than the eyes of our brothers or sisters.”

The World Day for Consecrated Life was instituted by John Paul II in 1997 to highlight the gift of consecrated people. The celebration joins the Feast of Encounter on February 2, when candles are blessed as a symbol of Christ being the light of the world.