By Sister Wendy Ooi, fsp

SINGAPORE - Handshakes and hugs abound as some 200 religious priests, brothers and sisters, and members of secular institutes, many still in the Lunar New Year festive mood, gathered to celebrate the World Day of Consecrated Life on Feb 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

At a Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit, they lit candles and renewed their vows. In his homily, Archbishop Nicholas Chia thanked them for their contribution to society and the archdiocese. He challenged them to make Christ meaningful to a globalised world, encouraged them to make the Word of God part and parcel of their lives, and to allow the Holy Spirit to transform them and those they serve.

The archbishop added that consecrated life is not so much a choice as a response to the call of God, a surrender to his will which entails sacrifices. He urged them to follow Mary as a model in bringing Christ to others, and he prayed that the Holy Spirit will guide, inspire and empower the religious to be the light of Christ to the world.

(Top) Religious priests, brothers and sisters listen to Brother Paul Segarra in the attic of the Church of Holy Spirit before Mass. Brother Paul is a member of the Focolare Movement, a secular institute with 87,000 committed members working in various fields (as lay consecrated persons) in 180 nations. Brother Paul has taken the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He was posted here from the Philippines more than a year ago and teaches Chemistry at Raffles Secondary School.

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