Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 2004
CCCB letter predicts 'difficult changes'
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a pastoral letter urging those in consecrated life to consider future challenges.
Some of the new challenges, it said, include "the promotion of vocations, pastoral and spiritual formation, encouraging families in passing on the faith, assisting individuals involved in education and health care, furthering awareness of the environment and ecology, and testifying to the hope and joy that faith can bring to the aging."
The document, dated Pentecost 2004, was released May 31, as the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC) prepares to hold its general assembly in Cornwall, Ont., June 3-7 marking its 50th anniversary.
The letter says that Canadian religious and apostolic institutions are facing "drastic and difficult changes" and notes that by 2015, only 10 per cent of the members of institutions belonging to the CRC are expected to be younger than 65 years.
The most important gift that those in consecrated life give to the Church is their evangelical witness of Jesus Christ, said the committee.
Other contributions by religious congregations are well known. They include "their work in schools and hospitals, their involvement in the Third World, their help in making all Canadians more aware of the importance of international solidarity, and their continuous efforts to improve the lives of the poor, including their work in soup kitchens and slums."
Other aspects of the witness of those in consecrated life include their work as confessors and spiritual directors, providing facilities for prayer and meditation, animating spirituality centres and contributing to the pastoral life of dioceses and parishes.
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