(Vatican Radio) Young people in religious life gathered at St Peter’s Square on Tuesday evening, for a prayer vigil at the beginning of World Meeting of Young Consecrated Men and Women.

Listen to Christopher Wells’ report:

Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, a Franciscan and Secretary for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life presided at the prayer vigil Tuesday night in St Peter’s Square. The vigil marked the opening of World Meeting for Young Men and Women Religious, which is taking place in the context of the Year of Consecrated Life. The meeting aims at helping young religious “to live an experience of formation through a biblical, theological-charismatic, and ecclesiological study of the fundamental elements of the consecrated life”; “to offer a space for sharing their own realities, desires and expectations of formation”; and “to celebrate and witness to the beauty of their own specific vocations.”

The young people were welcomed to St Peter’s by the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz. With the prayer vigil, he said, “we want to go immediately to Him, to Jesus Christ, together, as His disciples, and as sons and daughters of our founders and foundresses, allowing ourselves to be seduced by Him, as in the first moments of our calling.” Cardinal Braz de Aviz called on them to listen “with the hearts of sons and daughters to the Word of God, always secure and illuminating, especially if we strive to live it in our days.”

The vigil began with an entrance procession of fifty of the young religious who carried lighted lamps in commemoration of the fifty years since the events of the Second Vatican Council. An icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary was enthroned, as the young men and women religious were entrusted to the Mother of God, that they might be enable to “wake the world” with prayer, prophetic witness, and presence in the existential peripheries of poverty and thought.”