VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Through the gift of their vocation and their different charisms, consecrated men and women play a central role in the Catholic Church’s mission to spread the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

“Indeed in many places on the planet the first proclamation of the Gospel bears the face of consecrated men and women who take up with great commitment and dedication of their lives the Lord’s mandate: ‘Go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature,'” the pope said, quoting St. Mark’s Gospel.

Pope Francis greets and gives candy to sisters belonging to the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master as he arrives at their complex in Rome May 29, 2024, for a meeting with priests ministering in the Diocese of Rome who have been ordained 10 years or less. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis’ comments came in a message to participants in a conference for consecrated religious life in Brazil released by the Vatican May 30. The theme for the conference is taken from Jesus’ instruction to the disciples in St. John’s Gospel: “Remain in my love.”

The pope told participants that “the gift of the vocation must be kept and cultivated every day, so that it produces good fruits in the life of every religious man and woman.”

To live out one’s vocation in a good way, “it is necessary to remain in His love, through constant dialogue with Jesus in daily prayer and faithfulness to the vows that express our consecration in a beautiful way,” he wrote.

Citing his homily for World Day for Consecrated Life in 2020, Pope Francis said that in consecrated life: “poverty is not a colossal effort, but a higher freedom;” chastity is not “austere sterility, but the way to love without possessing;” and “obedience is not a discipline, but victory over our own chaos, in the way of Jesus.”

The pope congratulated the Conference of Religious Men and Women of Brazil for their 70 years of service to the church, and he encouraged them to live in the present while sustained by their specific charisms and “to look to the future with hope.”