"Religious life in America has suffered terribly in the past forty (40) years. the danger now is that religious life be perceived as non-essential to many Catholics because for many it has become almost invisible. However, the Church needs the witness of men and women religious in order to see concretely what it means to follow Christ. Religious men and women in consecrated life provide credibility for the Gospel itself by that very visible and radical way of life, by the joyful embrace of the evangelical counsels -- poverty, chastity and obedience. All of us who claim to follow Christ must be poor, chaste, and obedient. This is difficult for those of us who struggle to live the Christian life in the world. The support and encouragement of men and women who have chosen to live these counsels in a radical way and for the sake of the Kingdom of God is essential. Human nature has been weakened by sin; we need to know of men and women who follow Christ is a radical way.
"Thank you for this opportunity to express my gratitude to you for your commitment to Jesus Christ as religious and for doing so in this diocese."