“The Church is alive and the Church is young.” Once again we have realized that these words from Pope Benedict XVI are true.

On May 26, a young lady, Rachel Morin, said “yes” to God’s call and was admitted into the Secular Institute Crusaders of Mary. During a historic moment in which many people think that the Catholic Church is suffering a crisis of vocations to the consecrated life, we have been witnesses of how God still calls young people to follow Him through paths of poverty, chastity and obedience. We have also seen how there are brave young people who are willing to say a joyful ‘yes’ to this invitation and to give their lives with an undivided love to Him. We are not facing a crisis of vocations – if anything, we are facing a crisis of responses to Him.

The Crusaders of Mary, a Secular Institute, has had a short life in the United States. A Spanish institution founded by Venerable Father Tomas Morales, S.J. in the 1960s, the Crusaders of Mary were approved by the Archdiocese of Washington last summer. Their new house is located in Washington's Brookland neighborhood where seven lay consecrated women live: two from Peru, two from the United States, and three from Spain. Their main ministry is the formation of young people, both humanly and spiritually. To accomplish this goal, they offer silent retreats and Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, among other activities. They also provide support to families so that they can fully live their vocation and make of their homes domestic churches.

The ceremony of Rachel’s entrance, the second member from the United States, took place at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington and the celebrant of the Mass was the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. During his homily he highlighted that one of the main characteristics of the secular consecrated life is the striving for sanctity in the middle of the world.

“Animated by God’s grace and love, members of secular institutes, through the power of the Spirit, sanctify the world in their hidden yet divinized daily life,” said Archbishop Pierre. “Just as Jesus worked for the salvation of the world, we too, responding to the call to holiness with a definitive ‘yes,’ share in His mission.”

This is precisely what the role of work is according to Venerable Father Morales, who said, “Work is a means of bringing you closer to God, not an obstacle that impedes your access to Him … The supreme reward of work is not what it allows you to gain, but what it lets you become.”

Archbishop Pierre ended his homily encouraging Rachel to live more deeply the consequences of her ‘yes,’ and assuring her of the prayers of all who were present.

After the beautiful Mass, a reception followed at the Home of the Immaculate Conception, the name given to the house of the Crusaders of Mary. After people watched a short biography about Rachel and sang a couple of songs, she shared the testimony of her vocation.

It is always amazing to see how wonderful God’s paths are for the souls, how He uses every circumstance to make clear His voice and how necessary it is for us to be ready to recognize His call through silence and the help of a spiritual guide.

At the very end of this gathering, Lydia Jimenez, the general director of the Crusaders of Mary who came from Spain for this event, addressed some words of thanks to the apostolic nuncio, to Rachel and her parents, and to everyone present. It was she who recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s words “the Church is alive and young.” She also invited Rachel’s friends – a large number accompanied her that day – to think about their own vocation and to make a serious discernment on God’s will for their lives.

We give thanks to the Lord for Rachel’s self-giving to Him and to the Church. These kinds of events do not make noise. They almost go unnoticed, but they transform the world, little by little. In the same way that God called Rachel, He is calling many other young people to priesthood and consecrated life. Let us do our best so that they find a community that supports and encourages them and the means they need to say “yes” to His call.