In your daily apostolate, do not let yourselves be conditioned by your age or number. What counts is the capacity to repeat the initial 'yes' to the call from Jesus that continues to be heard, in an ever new way, in every season of life. His call and our response keep our hope alive. Prophecy, closeness, hope. Living in this way, you will have joy in your heart, the distinctive sign of Jesus' followers and, in particular, of consecrated persons. ~ Pope Francis, addressing a large gathering of religious on 1st February
Certainly, that is what has happened here in Oxford, where there are several different communities - Anglican as well as Catholic, from a variety of charisms and traditions, living different expressions of apostolic and monastic life - in or near the city. The Year brought us together, giving us the opportunity to witness to God and the joy at the heart of our lives, while getting to know each other better. One legacy of the Year has been the creation of a joint Facebook page, in which we describe ourselves as Religious in Oxford: lives given in love, prayer and service, with joy and passion for God and God's people.
I certainly hope that this joy and passion grows and is strengthened for all of us, and that I - we - can continue to repeat that initial YES to Jesus' call; a call we can hear and respond to in ever new ways, in every season of our lives. May his compelling call and our response always keep our hope and our joy alive!