PASTORAL LETTER OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN CATHOLIC BISHOP’S CONFERENCE
THE YEAR OF CONSECRATED LIFE
30 November 2014 – 02 February 2016
I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your generous will. (Matt 11:25)
Brothers and Sisters in the Consecrated Life, Priests and the People of God,
Speaking these words aloud, Jesus rejoiced immensely in the activity and wisdom of the Holy Spirit as he thanked and praised his Father whose mission he himself had come to accomplish.
We rejoice in a similar way in the lives lived and the wonderful activity and service carried out by so many consecrated men and women in our country and in our world. We welcome the invitation of Pope Francis to make this a year of thanksgiving and of deeper reflection on the calling of the consecrated men and women among us.
We think of all the consecrated men and women who have laboured in our countries, from Bishop Griffith, the first Vicar Apostolic of the Cape and Fr. George Corcoran, both Dominicans; the Missionary Sisters of the Assumption and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, to mention a few of the first ones, up to the most recently consecrated persons from within our countries and those who have come among us from elsewhere. Consecrated men and women established the local church in our dioceses and most of our parishes, schools and hospitals, and still today they minister in the local church and outlying communities, serving people of every background in countless ways. We pay tribute to all deceased Religious who have served in our countries and are buried in our soil, sometimes in obscure or forgotten graves. We appreciate all those Religious who have grown old among us, who have given courageous witness and led exemplary lives.
We ask that in our dioceses and parishes we celebrate the precious gift of consecrated life together with the contemplative and active Religious among us, also by visiting and supporting the sick and aged among them.