Forty days after his birth the Law of Moses required Mary to go to the temple and take part in the ritual for purification. This was also the day Mary and Joseph formally introduced Jesus to the House of God.
In 1997 Pope John Paul II also made February 2nd the World Day for Consecrated Life. This day focuses on members of secular institutes, movements and personal prelatures, as well as members of Societies of Apostolic life. These people have taken vows and effectively set themselves apart for God, that He may use them to do His will in the world and in the Church.
Every year Pope Benedict celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord with the members of Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to remind us that just as Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord, those who are consecrated have also presented themselves to the Lord. This day serves as a day for them to once again re-affirm their response to God's call to set themselves apart for His will.
Salt + Light has full English coverage of this special Vespers service live on Tuesday, February 2nd at 11:30am ET
, with an encore presentation that evening at 8:30pm ET
CNS photo/Paul Haring