Pope Francis on Friday addressed the organizers and participants in the first-ever International Conference for the Vicars and Episcopal Delegates for Consecrated Life.
Organized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Lifefor the purpose of the conference is to respond to the call, which the Holy Father made to Pastors of particular Churches around the world when he proclaimed the Year for Consecrated Life, “[T]o show special concern for promoting within [their] communities the different charisms, whether long-standing or recent.”
In the Letter, the Holy Father went on to ask them to do this by support and encouragement, assistance in discernment, and, “tender and loving closeness to those situations of suffering and weakness in which some consecrated men or women may find themselves.”
“Above all,” Pope Francis wrote, “do this by instructing the People of God in the value of consecrated life, so that its beauty and holiness may shine forth in the Church.”
In remarks prepared for the roughly 200 people involved in the initiative and delivered in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on Friday, Pope Francis spoke of the bridge-building and relationship-strengthening roles of Vicars and Delegates – especially those serving newer communities and congregations. “Build mutual relations on the basis of an ecclesiology of communion, on the principle of co-essentiality, and on the autonomy that belongs rightfully to consecrated persons.”
The three-day formation congress is being hosted by the Pontifical University Antonianum, the flagship university of the Franciscan order in Rome, and closes Sunday.