On May 3, 2018, at the Pontifical University Antonianum, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, inaugurated the International Conference “Consecratio et consecratio per evangelica consilia”.
The participants, numbering more than 600, come from all parts of the world. They belong to Institutes of Consecrated Life, Societies of Apostolic Life, Secular Institutes, Ordo virginum, New Institutes and ‘New Forms’. For the first time, members of Associations and Ecclesial Movements have also been invited to take part.
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the CICLSAL, in his opening address affirmed: “We represent a manifold people in the Church, and together we strive to allow Jesus’ new wine to renew the wineskins of Consecrated Life, so that we may experience the joy of the Gospel and give a hand to the Lord to donate it to the many persons whom we meet”.
The aim of the conference is to study in depth the theme of “consecration” and to reflect upon several issues which were identified in relation to this theme.
Cardinal de Aviz continued: “In the present circumstances, a clearer awareness of our baptismal consecration, which has generated us as children of God through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord, will help us also to understand better the meaning of consecration in diverse ways, albeit complementary, within the People of God”.
The first keynote speech was that of Professor Nuria Calduch. She offered a comprehensive overview of consecration, underlining the prophetic and sapiential dimensions of Consecrated Life. She then highlighted the Gospel texts which reflect the essential dimensions of Consecrated Life: vocation and community life.
This was followed by a twofold keynote speech by H. Ex. Mgr José Rodríguez Carballo, Archbishop Secretary of CICLSAL, and Sr Carmen Ros Nortes, NSA, Undersecretary at the CICLSAL. They offered a synthesis of the journey so far covered and also outlined the aims of the Conference. Mgr Carballo affirmed: “Consecration is not static; it is not an act which excludes, but a process which integrates differences. Behind each expression used to express Consecrated Life, there lies a theological and charismatic richness which we need to safeguard. If Consecrated Life is a mosaic of charisms, these cannot be defined, but ‘narrated’”.
Then, Sr Carmen Ros Nortes underlined the importance of promoting new reflections, “so as not to remain stuck in old and inadequate schemes; indeed, we need to understand better what the Church and humanity expect of us today”.
The day came to an end with a Prayer Vigil held in the Basilica of St John in Lateran, and to which all consecrated men and women living in Rome were invited. The Vigil was presided over by Mgr José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, who preached on the text: “You are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3, 28).