Vijayawada – Priests and nuns of the Vijayawada diocese gathered at the Shrine Church of Gunadala Hill to celebrate the world day of consecrated life on Feb. 2.
The devotees who had thronged the shrine for the nine day novena prayers in preparation of the Feb. 11 annual feast joined scores the religious for the special celebration.
Fr. M. Chinnappa, the Vicar General of the diocese and rector of the shrine said, “I am very glad that the religious have come in large numbers to the shrine on this special day to pay homage to Mary and offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to the Lord, making memory of the presentation of the Lord in the temple.”
He blessed the candles and distributed them to the religious who entered the shrine church in procession holding the lighted candles as a symbol of their determination to proclaim Christ as the light of the world.
The logo of the Year of the Consecrated Life was carried along the procession and was released in front of the assembly to remind the Catholic community gathered in the Church of the sacred time in which the Church is living and the need to pray for the renewal of religious life.
Benedictine Fr. Sowraiah guided the proceedings of the liturgy and Salesian Fr. Jojy Reddy introduced the theme of the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration of the day to the people.
In his homily, Fr. Chinnappa thanked the religious for their multifarious services to the local church but pointed them their urgent task of self- sanctifications so that God could use them for holy purposes according to His mind, reports divineword.
He stressed on the need to be alert to God’s voice and listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to them in every situation, blessing them continuously with new charism and anointing.
The need of the hour is to take stock of the past and reflect on the future and joyously carry out one’s service in a selfless manner with a total dedication to the mission, he added.
The religious carried gifts to the altar in gratitude to the blessing God has poured upon them by calling them to serve the world as consecrated men and women.
The nine golden and silver jubilarians were specially felicitated by Fr. Chinnappa by presenting them shawls and blessings.
A Plenary Indulgence released by the Church was proclaimed and prayers for the Holy Father were said during the liturgical ceremony.
The assembly also prayed for more vocations to the consecrated life. Prayers for the urgent need of the appointment of a new bishop to the diocese of Vijayawada also reechoed again and again in the assembly.