REGINA — Feb. 2 is the day established by Pope Francis to annually recognize and celebrate the lives of consecrated men and women and the work they do in their communities. For the sixth year in a row, the Regina Catholic School Division hosted a luncheon for those serving in the Regina area.
“We are so grateful for all that you do in helping us do what we do,” said board chair Donna Ziegler to about 30 guests who attended the luncheon held in the Catholic Education Centre, headquarters for the Regina Catholic School Division.
“In this room, there are thousands of years of living out the Gospel,” said Ziegler, referring to the many religious communities represented at the luncheon.
Religious communities have a history on the prairies for establishing schools and health care facilities in Saskatchewan, and some members continue to teach in the Regina Catholic School Division while others serve in capacities such as teaching religion and providing and leading retreats for staff and students.
The Regina Archdiocese Directory lists 14 female religious communities and 10 male congregations serving in the archdiocese. Representatives from most of the religious communities attended the luncheon. Some could not attend as they had commitments to carry out in their respective ministries.
Miles Meyers, Religious Education co-ordinator for the Regina Catholic School Division, led a brief prayer service at the end of the luncheon.
A mass to celebrate the lives of men and women living a consecrated life in the archdiocese was held in Holy Rosary Cathedral Feb. 12. The event was organized by Rev. Timothy Scott, CSB, executive director of the Canadian Religious Conference from Montreal.
“It’s a pretty typical thing that we organize these types of activities right across the county,” said Scott, speaking with the Prairie Messenger, “and I rather thought that with the installation of Archbishop Donald Bolen, it was an appropriate to time to have a meeting involving him and the consecrated men and women of the diocese.”
Most of those attending the mass were members of a community of religious women. Scott explained that there is some confusion in the terminology that describes who are living a consecrated life. “The original term was ‘religious life’ and the root of the word ‘religious’ is Latin for rule, so only those living in a congregation of men, like Jesuits, Oblates, or communities of women like RNDMs who live by the rules of their community are considered to be living a consecrated life.
“Pope John Paul II, after reading Vatican II documents, wrote vita Consecrata using the term ‘consecrated life’ and broadened the original definition. Distinctions remain but they’re not that great,” said Scott. Most religious are included in the term “consecrated life.”
Scott is originally from Regina, where he attended St. James Elementary School (now closed) and Campion College high school. He then attended St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he came to know the Basilian Fathers who ran the college, and decided his vocation was with that congregation.
The Canadian Religious Conference was founded in 1954 and is a voice for the leaders of about 250 congregations of women and men religious in Canada.