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Francis announces year of consecrated life in 2015

Pope Francis thanked the religious for their 'testimony' (AP)

Pope Francis has announced that 2015 will be a year dedicated to the promotion of consecrated life.

He made the announcement today in an address to the heads of men’s religious orders, who were taking part in the 82nd general assembly of the Union of Superiors General in Rome.

During the three-hour meeting the Pope held an impromptu question-and-answer session.

He later thanked the religious, saying: “Thank you, for what you do and for your spirit of faith and your quest for service. Thanks for your testimony, and also for the humiliations you have to endure.”