Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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The Year of Consecrated Life

By Bishop David Ricken | December 3, 2014

Our hearts are overjoyed to be able to celebrate a year of prayer for those in consecrated life, more often referred to as religious life. As you know, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has declared 2015 as a year to commemorate and celebrate those who have taken vows to serve the Lord by living a life of consecration to the Gospel and the church as members of religious orders or institutes or local communities.

This coming Sunday, Dec. 7, we are inaugurating the year in the Diocese of Green Bay by celebrating with and for all the religious of the diocese with solemn vespers at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral at 4 p.m., with a reception to follow. All are welcome and invited to attend this solemn Advent prayer service and I hope you can come to the cathedral and tell the religious sisters and brothers and priests how much you appreciate them. This call of the Holy Father will correspond with the first year of the two years on prayer that we have set before us in the diocesan journey called “Disciples on the Way.”

In his open letter to consecrated women and men, those who take vows in the church, Pope Francis said just this last Sunday: “put Christ at the center of your existence. The essential norm of your life being to ‘follow Christ as taught by the Gospel’ (Perfectae Caritatis, 2), consecrated life consists essentially in personal adherence to him. Seek Christ constantly, dear consecrated, seek his face, may he occupy the center of your life in order to be transformed in ‘living memory of Jesus’ way of living and acting, as Incarnate word before the Father and before brothers’ (Vita Consecrata, 22). Like the Apostle Paul, let yourselves be conquered by him, assume his sentiments and his way of life (cf. Ibid., 18); let yourselves be touched by his hand, led by his voice, sustained by his grace” (cf. Ibid., 40).

In many ways, the church has always depended on those in the religious life, consecrated life, to show us how to be better disciples. By living a Gospel-centered life on behalf of the church, she has always been renewed by religious brothers, sisters and priests. Diocesan priests, married couples and families and all of the lay faithful have been so supported by those who are willing to make great sacrifices for the Kingdom of God. It is to this genuine Gospel life that the Holy Father is calling people of the vowed life and each and every one of us.

In January, I will be declaring several chapels and churches as destinations for prayer as the Holy Father has requested of each diocese in order to receive indulgences or special graces for oneself and for the religious, as we thank God for their vocation and their service to Christ and the church in the Diocese of Green Bay.

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