CNA).- Today the Church is celebrating the World Day for Consecrated Life simultaneously with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. Pope Benedict XVI will observe the two celebrations by presiding over Vespers in St. Peter's Basilica this evening.
The World Day for Consecrated Life was inaugurated in 1997 by Pope John Paul II as an initiative for the entire Christian community to celebrate the mission of the consecrated life in the present and the future of the Church.
It was founded by the Holy Father for three reasons: to praise the Lord more solemnly and give thanks to him for the gift of the consecrated life, to promote knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God and to give consecrated persons an opportunity to return to the sources of their vocation.
See also from Catholic News Service, "Pope honors religious; Vatican preparing documents on prayer, brothers."