FORT WAYNE — Everyone is invited to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne, for a special Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Sunday, Oct. 3. at 3 p.m. During the Mass, Anne Therese Stephens, an advocate in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Tribunal, will be consecrated to a life of virginity.
A consecrated virgin is called to a spousal union with Christ lived in the midst of the world. She takes a lifelong vow of virginity for the purpose of giving herself more fully to Jesus through a life of prayer. She continues to live and work among the lay faithful, and discerns her specific service to the Church with her local bishop.
The vocation of a consecrated virgin
FORT WAYNE — Anne Therese Stephens, an advocate in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Tribunal, will be consecrated to a life of virginity during a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne. Everyone is invited to attend.
Consecrated virginity is the oldest recognized form of consecrated life in the Catholic Church, predating religious life by centuries. Well-known consecrated virgins from the early Church include the martyrs St. Agnes, St. Agatha, St. Cecilia and St. Lucy. Contemporary consecrated virgins include Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
Consecrated virginity is one of the only forms of women’s consecrated life. It involves a deep spiritual bond with the local Church, unlike religious sisters who leave their diocese to live in community.
Consecrated virgins are called to dedicate their lives to prayer for, and service to, their home diocese.
Where religious vows are essentially promises that an individual actively makes to God, consecration to a life of virginity is a solemn blessing that a woman passively receives from God through the ministry of the bishop. Because of this, the consecration itself is permanent and can never be dispensed.
One of a consecrated virgin’s most primary obligations is prayer, fulfilled through attendance at daily Mass, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and spending time in personal prayer and spiritual reading.
Consecrated virgins serve as a witness and reminder to the fact that Christ is the ultimate fulfillment, not only of the longings of the human heart, but also of all time and history.
A consecrated virgin lives within her diocese among family, parish community and others. She must provide for her own material needs, medical care and retirement. At no time is the diocese financially responsible for her.
In the world, there are approximately 3,000 consecrated virgins in at least 42 countries, with an estimated 215 in the U.S.
The United States Association of Consecrated Virgins is a voluntary association for women in the United States who have received the Consecration of Virgins for women living in the world, according to the pertinent provisions of Canon Law. The USACV is available to support its members in the faithful living out of their vocation to consecrated virginity. To find out more about the USACV, visit consecratedvirgins.org.
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