Message from Pope Benedict: Proposing Vocations for the Local Church

Today, Pope Benedict’s message for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations was released by the Vatican.  The 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations is the fourth Sunday of Easter (May 15, 2011).  This year’s theme is “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church” and Pope Benedict beautifully describes some aspects of priestly and religious vocations, their importance, and providing steps for fostering and promoting vocations.

“Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the ‘Lord of the harvest’, whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations.”  He goes on to say, “The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the Church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life…  Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by ‘other voices’ and his invitation to follow him by the gift of one’s own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations. It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration, and to enable hem to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond ‘yes’ to God and the Church.”

He concludes with, “The ability to foster vocations is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church. With trust and perseverance let us invoke the aid of the Virgin Mary, that by the example of her own acceptance of God’s saving plan and her powerful intercession, every community will be more and more open to saying ‘yes’ to the Lord who is constantly calling new labourers to his harvest.”

There is much more, from encouragement to work in unity with priests and bishops and promoting vocations within families, catechesis programs, parishes, and other avenues of faith formation.  For the entire message, go to: http://www.radiovaticana.org/EN1/Articolo.asp?c=461157.

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