(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on Thursday in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. From the 25th to the 29th of November, the participants in the plenary session are gathered to reflect on the image of new wine in new wineskins, taken from the Gospel according to St. Mark (2:22), with a focus on fostering creative fidelity to their specific callings and to their particular charisms within the broad vocation to consecrated life.
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In remarks prepared for the occasion, Pope Francis said, “In the demanding task that brings you together – that of assessing the new wine and testing the quality of the skins which must contain it – may you be guided by the criteria of originality in evangelical choices, charismatic faithfulness, the primacy of service, attention to the smallest and most fragile, respect for the dignity of each person.”
The plenary session is also taking place with a view toward the Year for Consecrated Life, which officially opens this coming Sunday, Nov. 30th, with the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year. “We must not be afraid to leave the ‘old wineskins’, that is, to renew those habits and structures which, in the life of the Church and therefore also in the consecrated life, we recognize as no longer responsive to what God asks of us today in order to further His Kingdom in the world,” said Pope Francis, “structures that give us false protection and put a drag on the dynamism of charity; habits that distance us from the flock to which we are sent and prevent us from listening to the cry of those who await the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
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