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All Catholics are obligated to promote vocations, Pope writes

February 10, 2011

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In his message for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Benedict XVI says that “every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations.”

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be observed on May 15. The papal message for the occasion—dedicated to the theme, “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church”-- was released by the Vatican on February 10.

In his message the Pope calls attention to the way that Jesus called the first disciples. “Before calling them, Jesus spent the night alone in prayer, listening to the will of the Father,” Pope Benedict notes. He draws the message: “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.’”

Then and now, the Pope continues, when Jesus calls people to a priestly or religious vocation, “He invites them to leave behind their own narrow agenda and their notions of self-fulfillment in order to immerse themselves in another will, the will of God.” The prayerful support of the community is necessary to help people hear and respond to that call, the Pope says. That need is especially strong, he writes, “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 life may seem too difficult.”

Pope Benedict stresses that every diocese, every parish, and every family shares in the obligation to promote interest in priestly and religious vocations. He calls upon bishops to make this effort a priority, and ensure that they do everything possible to encourage young people to consider religious life. “Choose carefully those who work in the diocesan vocations office,” he counsels bishops.


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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Feb. 11, 2011 12:07 AM ET USA

    The most important thing I learned when I entered the seminary was that a vocation is a divine call that comes from God himself and not from one's parents, or siblings or friends or even from one's self. "Man proposes but God disposes." It is as the Holy Father says, however, the responsibility of all the above to support and encourage anyone who feels God's call. Those who fear that they have a vocation should keep in mind that many of the great saints initially felt the same apprehension.