Celebrating the World Day for Consecrated Life during the Year for Consecrated Life, the bishop of the diocese told those who dedicated their lives to Jesus and His Church that they must be like prophets.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio referenced the first reading, DT 18:15-20, during his homily at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, Feb 1. He said a prophet of the Lord is not necessarily someone who foresees the future. A prophet is someone who speaks the words of the Lord to the people of the Lord. Therefore, he said, all consecrated people are called to be prophets.
“The religious have a unique function in the Church,” he said. “They should speak the words of God not only by the way the live but by the way they speak and the way they act.”
Sister Karen Keegan, R.G.S., said she was thankful to the bishop for coming to the event because it shows that he cares for the religious of the diocese and makes an effort to understand them better. She said she would reflect and pray upon his call to prophecy.
“It’s a sign of respect,” said Brother William Boslet, O.S.F., of the presence of not only the ordinary of the diocese, but also that of his territorial vicars, Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi and Father Thomas Pettei.
Brother William said the Year for Consecrated Life so far has had a positive impact on those in consecrated life and on society in general.
“It helps put a spotlight on how we live and those we serve,” he said. “There is no denying that there are fewer of us than there were 50 years ago but I think that the same values that had been part of religious life are still present today. We are still trying to serve the people of the diocese, in many ways, the best we can.”
Sister Joan Gallagher, C.S.J., said the Mass and social gathering afforded the consecrated men and women an opportunity to commune and network. She said it is important to know who provides what services. As an educator, the principal of St. Joseph H.S., Downtown Brooklyn, said it is important that she knows to whom she can refer her students to if they need additional help.
“We have connections,” she said. “We need to know what they are.”
Sister Maryann Lopiccolo, S.C., the coordinator of the event and the diocesan delegate for religious, said she was especially pleased to see members of foreign orders at the celebration. She said the diocese had seen an influx of members from orders from Africa, Korea and India. It shows that all consecrated people are working together to strengthen the Church.
Bishop DiMarzio said he was pleased with the turnout of the event. “It’s certainly uplifting to see the great amount of religious present here today to renew your vows and to keep your vows through your various ministries,” he told the congregation at the end of the Mass. “I thank you personally.”