December 1, 2014

VATICAN CITY – The first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30, marking the start of the new liturgical year, will also inaugurate the Year for Consecrated Life.

The yearlong observance is dedicated to renewing hope in religious life and instilling it more profoundly with a prophetic witness of the Gospel.

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, was scheduled to celebrate the year's opening Mass Nov. 30 in St. Peter's Basilica because Pope Francis will be on an apostolic visit in Turkey.

Msgr. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, the congregation's secretary, told Vatican Radio the first Sunday of Advent was selected as the launch date because Advent represents "the time of hope par excellence."

Rodriguez said the congregation would like the entire year "to be lived with the hope that must always characterize consecrated life."

The observance will actually extend beyond one liturgical year and wrap up with a weeklong conference in early 2016, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2.