Pope’s appeal on the occasion of the Day of prayer for Vocations

Source: FSSPX News


"The priest’s mission is irreplaceable", declared Benedict XVI on Sunday, May 7. The pope was addressing tens of thousands of faithful gathered in a sunny St Peter’s Square on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

"The Christian vocation is always found in the renewal of this personal friendship with Jesus-Christ, which gives its full meaning to our own existence and makes it available for the Kingdom of God", explained the pope on the occasion of the Regina Cœli.  He recalled that on this year, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations had for its theme: "The vocation in the mystery of the Church", explaining that the priest’s mission is irreplaceable, and that – even if the clergy is becoming rare in certain areas of the world – "we must not doubt that God keeps calling boys, young men and adults to give up everything in order to devote themselves to the preaching of the Gospel and the pastoral ministry.".

The pope also rejoiced over the 15 priestly ordinations he had conferred that morning, and encouraged the faithful to thank the Lord… with their applause. He then called upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin  "so that the number of those who welcome the invitation of Christ to follow Him in the way of the priesthood and of the consecrated life may increase".

"Another particular form of the following of Christ is the consecrated life, which is expressed in a life of poverty, chastity and obedience entirely dedicated to God in contemplation and prayer and placed at the service of the brethren, especially the poor and the little ones", continued Benedict XVI. He also mentioned the way of "Christian marriage", which by full right is "a vocation to holiness". Let us not forget, he went on, that the example of holy parents is the first condition favorable to the blossoming of priestly and religious vocations.

In the morning, Benedict XVI had warned the 15 new priests he had just ordained in St Peter’s Basilica, against "careerism". He called upon them to always "serve" Christ and not themselves. The pope also asked these Catholic pastors never to be content with the group of those already in the Church, but to always feel concern for all.

It is through Christ "that we must enter the charge of pastor", stressed the pope in his long homily in Italian. He then denounced the temptation to reach "the heights" and to procure a social position by means of the Church. It is not a question of making yourself important, through the priesthood, of becoming a personality, of having in view "your own exaltation and not the humble service of Jesus-Christ". The only legitimate way up to the ministry of pastor is the cross, then declared Benedict XVI. "Such is the true way up, such is the door". And he expounded that "we must not desire to become someone for ourselves, but we must on the contrary be for the other, for Christ and so be through Him and with Him for the men who are seeking Him".

Then the pope insisted: "we enter the priesthood through the sacrament", which means "through a total gift of self to Christ, so that He may do with me as He pleases". Even at the risk of this running counter to my own desire of self-accomplishment and esteem. And so Benedict XVI used the image of the "Good Shepherd": "The mission of Jesus is for all mankind, and thus the Church is given charge of all mankind, so that it may acknowledge God, this God who, for us all, has become man in Jesus-Christ".

"The Church must never be satisfied with the group of those who have reached a certain point and say that the others are doing very well as they are, be it Muslims or Hindus…", continued the pope, and improvising a few words. "She may not comfortably withdraw within the limits of her own environment". On the contrary, he stressed, "she is charged with universal solicitude, she must show concern for everyone". The pope considered that we must still go out "into the streets and the by-ways" to carry God’s invitation to His feast to men who up to now have still felt nothing or have not been interiorly touched". Benedict XVI also mentioned "commitment for the inner unity of the Church" and asked the new priests that the Eucharist may become for them "a school of life in which we learn to give our life".