At a Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral, to mark the closing of the Year for Consecrated Life, Archbishop Bernard Longley said he was grateful that Religious communities small and large are present in every part of the Archdiocese of Birmingham offering their witness of prayer. Archbishop Bernard told the congregation that the Year for Consecrated Life gave an opportunity to reflect together “as Religious men and women, as diocesan clergy and as lay faithful on the particular gift that consecrated lives bring into the local church. It is a charism that witnesses to the Kingdom of God in our midst through the vows which have come to characterise your way of life.” Pointing out that the end of the special Year overlapped with the start of the Year of Mercy, Archbishop Bernard said that their witness was also felt through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy – in education and healthcare, in the alleviation of poverty and want, in the cause of justice and peace, in catechesis and spiritual direction and also by offering oases of stillness and prayer as a retreat from the busyness of the world.
The Archbishop also remarked that the Mass was a special moment to recognise those celebrating a jubilee of their profession and to give thanks for their dedicated and sustained work and witness over so many years and he concluded by saying: “ dear friends, as you renew your commitment today may your words be a reminder of the mercy of Christ that is to shine from within your lives and may the vision of Christ’s goodness within those you serve hold you close to him throughout all the years to come.”
There are some twenty five religious communities of men in the Archdiocese and over thirty religious communities of women.
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