According to a Sept. 29 statement of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, there are about 1 million consecrated persons, 700,000 of whom are women.
John Paul II will participate in a solemn celebration of this Day in St. Peter´s Basilica. The Office of Pontifical Celebrations reported that the Holy Father will deliver the homily during the Mass and will preside over a thanksgiving ceremony for the gift of consecrated life.
The Mass itself will be presided over by Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, prefect of the congregation for consecrated life. The motto for the day is “Consecrated Men and Women, Witnesses of Hope and Mercy.”
According to data of the Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors, Italy has the greatest number of consecrated persons (85,000 women and 21,778 men).
It is followed by Spain (48,690 women and 15,445 men), France (43,380 women and 9,900 men), Germany (31,404 women and 5,576 men), and Poland (25,200 women and 13,111 men).