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Volume 26 @ Number 19 @ February 7, 2016 @ $15 per Year

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Culp: Encountering The Tree of Life

The Bi-Weekly Publication of The Catholic Diocese of Lexington

Turn to All Schools Mass, Page 2 LEXINGTON. Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M. Conv. celebrated a Mass for Consecrated Life to conclude the Year for Consecrated life, Sunday, January 31, in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Lexington. Pope Francis proclaimed 2015 the Year of Consecrated Life. The theme of the year was "Wake Up the World." It began the first weekend of Advent, 2014, and officially con- cluded February 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated Life. The year also marked the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis , a de- cree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium , the Second Vatican Council's constitution on the church. The purpose of the year, as stated by the Vatican, was to "make a grateful remem- brance of the recent past," while embracing the future with hope."

Bishop celebrates Mass to close special Year for Consecrated Life

About 40 consecrated men and women at- tended the Mass in the cathedral. There are 74 vowed religious priests, sisters, and broth- ers active in the Lexington diocese. In his homily, Bish- op Stowe said that the prophet Jeremiah's vo- cation was determined in the womb. His vo- cation was not what he does, rather "it's who he is." The same is true of consecrated life, he said, which is formed within the womb of the church." In declaring the Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis recognized the "variety of charisms" within the church, including unique schools of spirituality. The consecrated "preserve, enhance, and hand on

The Mass for Consecrated Life was held Sunday, Jan. 31 at the Cathedral of Christ the King. CR photo: T.F. Shaughnessy

that spirituality," as a "religious family," the bishop said. Many religious orders' founders faced oppo- sition, but they found ways to "pour new wine into new wineskins." Bishop Stowe said that the spousal imagery of consecrated life encourages all to ask them- selves, "Is Jesus our first love?" The pope has termed consecrated religious as "experts in communion," as opposed to separation, polarization, and classification, and the pontiffencouraged them to open their religious houses to the marginalized, he said. Religious communities have their origin in the familial bond, which "comes from the laity," and reflect the Trinitarian community, Bishop Stowe said, because nobody can live the Christian life alone. n LEXINGTON. The diocese feted Catholic Schools Week with the an- nual all-schools Mass in the Cathe- dral of Christ the King February 2. Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M. Conv. was the principal celebrant of the Mass. Concelebrating were ten priests of the diocese. Approximate- ly 1,000 students, administrators, teachers, parents, and supporters of Catholic schools attended. National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catho- lic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2016 is January 31-February 6. The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2016 is "Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service." Schools typically ob- serve the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, fami- lies, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the church, communities and the nation, ac- cording to the National Catholic Education Association. To stunning effect, those pres- ent raised lighted candles for the entrance procession, a first for the local Catholic Schools Week liturgy. Celebrated on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Bishop Stowe explained the day's Gospel reading. Mary and Joseph, he said, were dutifully fulfilling the pre- scriptions of their Jewish faith in presenting Jesus in the Temple and making the prescribed sacrifice, and they could not have foreseen the surprises of Simeon and Anna. Simeon, the bishop said, saw the Savior in an "ordinary" baby, who, in his parents' eyes, had been "born in strange circumstances"-in a stable with visitations by shepherds and astrologers. The old priest's prophecy to Mary was a warning that she would suffer for her blame- less Son's rejection, because "some people don't want to be in the light." The prophetess Anna prayed all day long, Bishop Stowe said, like consecrated men and women who pray all day for the world. Anna knew God keeps his promises." Just as we started this Mass hold- ing candles, we are to be in the light," he said. In his closing remarks before the final blessing and dismissal, Bishop Stowe acknowledge the community of people who support Catholic schools, both publicly and behind the scenes. One of the things we do in Catholic schools is form family," he said. The bishop then named each school, be- ginning with those who had traveled the greatest distances to Lexington, asking the students and faculty to stand and be recog- nized. He then recognized, in turn,

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK:

We are to be in the light"

The entrance procession began with a 1000 candles raised in the air. CR photo: Skip Olson

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