The Today of Consecrated Life

Dec 23, 2009 | Institutes of Consecrated Life

Spain. The Religious Life (Vida Religiosa) Review has just finished the activities of the LXV anniversary of its foundation. Things have changed a lot since that 1944 to our days. The meaning however and the need of the consecrated persons, making their way among the believers in our world, has not changed.

Rather than to remake the history, the conferences on the review have served the purpose of offering an accurate analysis about the present of the consecrated life in Spain and in the world. The past days of December 11 and 12, more than 200 consecrated persons gathered, concerned for the TODAY OF CONSECRATED LIFE. A chain of proposals, without nostalgia, has helped not only to live the present with hope, but also to envision the future. Names such as those of the Franciscans Jesús Sanz Montes, Archbishop-elect of Oviedo and Santiago Agrelo, Archbishop of Tánger, of the Carmelite Camilo Maccise and of the Claretian Gonzalo Fernández offered different reflections on the moment of consecration. The confluence of ideas and proposals, of signs of hope and life, is rather surprising.

Just as meaningful was, during the congress, the section dedicated to the trajectory of the Religious Life Review in the world’s outlook. Keeping in mind that it is the most disseminated review in Spanish on consecrated life in the whole world (it reaches 86 countries monthly), the still living directors of the Review explained what was and still is for them the centre of interest, starting with the years when they held this service. Fr. Aquilino Bocos, director during the decade of the 70’s, pointed with two verbs the urgencies and possibilities of consecrated life: to believe and to belong. Fr. José Cristo Rey, summarized the stage of his direction under the epigraph: parables and narrations. On his part, Fr. Pedro Belderrain condensed his period of direction a step “from intuition to conviction.” Finally the present director of the Review, Fr. Luis Alberto Gonzalo Díez, offered the reflection entitled “missio inter gentes,” meaning the intercultural, intercongregational and intervocational opportunity of the mission.

Especially moving was the Laudatio offered by Fr. Ángel Aparicio on the newly disappeared Fr. Severino María Alonso, also director in his time of Religious Life. The figure of Severino, linked to a long list of names of men and women who left the best years of their life in the publication, constitutes one of its glories.

The activities concluded with a Eucharistic concelebration presided over by Mons. Adolfo González Montes, Bishop of Almería and Vice-chancellor of the Pontifical University of Salamanca. In his homily he exhorted the consecrated life to continue putting its confidence in God’s power; “rather than offering efficacy, the consecrated persons are those who witness within society, and neck and neck with everyone, the transcendent presence of God. There is your strength,” Mons. Adolfo said.

It would be unfair to end this almost social chronicle of the event without mentioning some presences. Accompanying Religious Life in its birthday were the President and Secretary General of CONFER: Fr. Elías Royón and Sister Julia García Monge; the Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Consecrated Life, Sister Lourdes Grosso; several directors and representatives of different information publications and agencies… Many people who live and drink from the contents that Religious Life is periodically transmitting. Hundreds of anonymous religious have expressed, all along this year 2009 that is ending, their close relationship with the publication. It would be unfair to mention some, omitting others. Among the names that bring life to the theological reflection on consecrated life expressed their closeness: Emili Turú, Timothy Radcliffe, Víctor Codina, Mamerto Menapace, Nuria Calduch, Barbara Bucker or J.B. Libanio… to mention only a few.
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