VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is asking the faithful to pray for many new vocations the consecrated life, which he said are "precious" gifts to the Church.The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. He reminded those present that Monday is Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the Day of Consecrated Life."Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph brought him to Jerusalem, following the prescriptions of the Law of Moses," explained the Pontiff. "Every first born, in fact, according to the Scriptures, belonged to the Lord, and so had to be ransomed by a sacrifice."In this event Jesus’ consecration to God the Father is manifested and, linked to it, that of the Virgin Mary."The Holy Father recalled that for this reason Pope John Paul II initiated the Day of Consecrated Life in 1977."I invite everyone to thank the Lord for the precious gift of these brothers and sisters," the Pope added, "and to ask him, through the intercession of the Madonna, for many new vocations, in the variety of charisms with which the Church is rich."Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, will preside at the Mass for the Day of Consecrated Life on Monday, and after the Mass Benedict XVI will greet those present.