Archbishop thanks, encourages religious
Archbishop George J. Lucas discussed the topic of consecrated life from several perspectives Feb. 6 at the annual World Day for Consecrated Life program, but he told the 80 people present he wanted to be sure to convey at least one message - his thanks.
"I want to at least make sure to say thank you," he told the men and women religious, parish vocation committee members, deacons and Serrans gathered at St. Patrick Church in Fremont. "Thank you for being open to the gift that God has offered to you and thank you for the gift of yourselves."
Archbishop Lucas, who concluded the event presiding at Mass, said he's confident consecrated life has a strong future.
"It is full of hope in the Lord and shaped by the Holy Spirit," he said.
Servant of Mary Sister Anne Marie Petrylka was grateful for his remarks.
"I was very impressed with the archbishop's sense of interest and care for consecrated life," she said. "And I appreciated his thanking us for all that we do."
Sister Jean Adam, a member of the Mercy Sisters, said she appreciated the archbishop's thoughts on young people.
"It raised more questions to explore," she said.
Reaching out to the youth and seeking vocations are among his priorities, Archbishop Lucas said.
"Young people are looking for direction," he said. "Those who are coming after us are not cowards, and those who want to be with us, who want to follow the Lord, realize it is demanding.
"Consecrated religious are called to be a bridge between the faithful and the Lord," he said. "If there is going to be a bridge, we need to meet them where they are."
Archbishop Lucas said Eucharistic adoration and support for human life are two areas where young people can be reached.
As for vocations, he said that although they "are not coming so easily, we don't want to back away from the challenge."
He said the initial call isn't the only one a person receives.
"All of us have experienced a primary call," he said. "Then we are called within the call to do something different, something holy."