LEWISTON — Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, invites all to gather on Thursday, Feb. 2 for a celebration on the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. The event serves as a moment to celebrate the gift of consecrated life by thanking women religious in the diocese, all of whom are being invited to attend.

The event, which is being organized by the parish and St. Mary’s Health System, will be held in the chapel of the St. Mary’s Residences in Lewiston (100 Campus Avenue). It begins with witness talks and conversation among the women religious about their lives at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Mass, celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley at 11 a.m. A lunch and reception sponsored by St. Mary’s Health System will begin at noon.

All are welcome. If you plan to attend, please register at https://princeofpeace.me/wdpcl or by calling Elizabeth Keene at St. Mary’s at 207-777-8805 or emailing her at ekeene@covh.org. For those who cannot attend in person, the witness talks and Mass will also be livestreamed at https://princeofpeace.me/wdpcl.

“This way, everyone can still pray with us in real time as we celebrate consecrated life,” said Elizabeth. “We hope that the sisters around the state will be able to gather for the event either in person or in using technology to celebrate the amazing gift of consecrated life.”

“It is important that we give thanks to God for the different aspects of our faith, and the gift of consecrated life to the Church and to our culture ranks high on the list,” said Fr. Greenleaf.

Instituted by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997, the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life is celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, which commemorates through the blessing and lighting of candles that Christ is the light of the world. Those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.

“Our Church in Maine has been touched by the many women and men in consecrated life who have offered prayers for the people of the diocese in monastic chapels and ministered to all in education, healthcare, social services, pastoral ministry, and religious education within parishes, healthcare facilities, schools, and social service agencies,” said Bishop Deeley. “Consecrated life, in whatever form it takes, is the living of the Gospel. All consecrated life is devoted to the perfection of charity which, by its very nature, engages the community. It reminds us that we are called to serve one another.”

A recent survey of last year’s religious profession class conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate revealed that nine in ten were encouraged by someone to consider a vocation to religious life.

“The importance of personal guidance cannot be overstated,” said Bishop Deeley. “When I was a young man, Monsignor Keilty, out of his own experience of Jesus and his love for the Church, invited me and other young men in our parish to consider the possibility that we might be called to be priests. Several of us entered the seminary. Who knows what would have happened if no one had invited us? We need the same to be happening today.”

For more information about discerning a vocation, visit the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Vocations website at www.portlanddiocese.org/vocations.