Unstained fidelity to the Bridegroom
Jessica Hayes consecrated to a life of virginity:
Consecrated Virginity allows living in the world while giving oneself fully to Christ — Article By Jessica Hayes
FORT WAYNE — On a day of joy and thanksgiving, Jessica Hayes, a beloved theology teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, was consecrated to a life of virginity at a rite celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.
Hayes’ students, graduates, friends, fellow parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, priests, brothers, seminarians and religious sisters filled the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Fort Wayne on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“God has called Jessica to be more closely united to Himself and to be dedicated to the service of the Church,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily. “It is God who gives the grace of virginity. He gave this grace to the young woman of Nazareth, to Mary, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to choose the life of virginity. Mary made a personal decision in faith to remain a virgin, to offer her heart to the Lord. She wanted to be His faithful bride.”
“Thus, Mary became the model for all those who have chosen to serve the Lord with an undivided heart in virginity,” Bishop Rhoades added. “It seems most appropriate that Jessica gives herself totally to Jesus, is consecrated to a life of virginity, on a feast of Our Lady, who gave herself totally to God as the virgin handmaid of the Lord.”
After the chanting of the Gospel, the actual Rite of Consecration began, and the candidate was formally presented to Bishop Rhoades.
Candidate Hayes approached the sanctuary holding a lighted candle and accompanied by two attendants, Kelly Fogarty and Emily Weimer.
Bishop Rhoades then called the candidate and said, “Come, listen to me, my daughter; I will teach you reverence for the Lord.”
Hayes responded, “Now with all my heart I follow You, I reverence You and seek Your presence. Lord, fulfill my hope: show me Your loving kindness, the greatness of Your
After the homily, Hayes was asked to declare her resolution to persevere in the holy state of virginity as a bride of Christ, a witness to God’s love, and a sign of the kingdom of heaven.
During the Litany of Supplication, all implored the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, while asking God to pour out the Holy Spirit of His love on the servant whom He had chosen to be consecrated to His service.
At the Renewal of Intention, Candidate Hayes said to the bishop: “Father, receive my resolution to follow Christ in a life of perfect chastity which, with God’s help, I here profess before you and God’s holy people.”
And then, with Hayes kneeling before him, Bishop Rhoades said the Prayer of Consecration.
After the prayer, the bishop gave a veil to the newly consecrated and said, “Receive this veil, by which you are to show that you have been chosen from other women to be dedicated to the service of Christ and of His Body, which is the Church.”
Bishop Rhoades then presented Hayes with the ring and said, “Receive the ring that marks you as a bride of Christ. Keep unstained your fidelity to your Bridegroom, that you may one day be admitted to the wedding feast of everlasting joy.”
Lastly, the bishop presented Hayes with a book containing the Liturgy of the Hours, part of the Church’s official liturgy that marks and sanctifies the hours of each day in prayer.
Bishop Rhoades said: “Receive the book of the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church; may the praise of our heavenly Father be always on your lips; pray without ceasing for the salvation of the whole world.”
Hayes told Today’s Catholic she felt a “deep gratitude for the Church and for being Catholic, knowing whatever desire is placed upon our hearts by God, the Church has a place for us. And this is my place.”
Last year with the diocesan consecration to Jesus through Mary on the solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, before Bishop Rhoades and Hayes had chosen the date, Hayes noted, “as we were walking the procession with Our Lady after that consecration Mass, I thought, ‘I bet this will be my day.’ And that seems like a perfect day. So I renewed my Marian consecration on that same day in honor of that.”
Hayes’ attendant Emily Weimer said she thinks the life of a consecrated virgin “is a beautiful vocation. And I think our diocese is so lucky to have her because her job is to pray for our Church and for our diocese.”
Weimer said she was pleased, happy and blessed to be asked by Hayes to be an attendant. Hayes, Weimer and Fogarty, as a group of friends, have been praying about vocations for some time, Weimer noted.
Kelly Fogarty, a teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School, has been Hayes’ friend for the last nine years.
Fogarty noted, “It’s a vocation that a lot of people don’t know about, so it’s not something that even comes to mind. But when she explained what it was and that she was going to be a consecrated virgin, it made a lot of sense. I can very much see that is what God’s plan is for her.”
Frequently Asked Questions:
What happens at the special ceremony on August 15th?
The Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity will take place during Mass. After the homily, the Bishop will ask the candidate to declare her resolution to persevere in the holy state of virginity as a bride of Christ, a witness to God’s love, and a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then there will be a sung Litany of Saints, in which these holy men and women are asked to pray for Jessica as she makes this commitment. Then the Bishop will say the official prayer of consecration. Following that, Jessica will receive three items that are emblematic of her new state in life: a veil to symbolize her being chosen to serve Christ, a ring to symbolize fidelity, and a book of the Liturgy of the Hours with which she will join in the Church’s official daily prayer.
When the last time there was a special ceremony of a consecrated virgin?
Sister M. Jane Carew, O.V. took vows as a nun in 1965. She left the community of sisters and entered the Ecclesial Order of Virgins and was consecrated on December 8, 1990. Sister Jane passed away on July 13, 2012 and since then, there has been no other consecrated virgin living in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. It was at this Mass, however that Jessica found out about this vocation and started looking into it for herself.
Is this becoming more common? Why?
After Saturday, Jessica Hayes will be the only Consecrated Virgin in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Why do this? Why not just become a nun?
There are two versions of the Consecration to a Life of Virginity – one for nuns and one for “women living in the world.” Jessica will be the latter as she will remain a teacher at Bishop Dwenger, but her life and activities will be given more profound meaning and context by her new state in life.
Aren’t all single people called to a life of chastity?
Yes, absolutely: all people – including the married – are called to live chastely according to their state in life. The difference is that after the Consecration, Jessica will no longer be considered “single” and available for marriage to a man. Jessica is now pledging to live in celibacy as a bride of Christ for the rest of her life.
Does Bishop Rhoades have a specific role in line for her?
Bishop Rhoades is grateful that Jessica continues as a teacher at Bishop Dwenger and serving the church in that capacity; as well as her active service at St. Vincent de Paul parish. Her life of prayer is important for the life of the Diocese as well as the whole church.
“I look forward with joyful anticipation to the consecration of Jessica Hayes to a life of virginity on August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. This will be a day of joy for me and our whole diocese as Jessica embraces this beautiful vocation that goes back to apostolic times. Jessica’s consecration is a gift of God’s grace that will be a wonderful witness to others of love for Jesus. I am deeply grateful to Jessica for answering the Lord’s call as I expect her life of prayer and service of the Church will bear much good fruit for the Church in our diocese.”
+Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
August 14, 2015