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A Day to Celebrate Franciscan Religious Vocations!


A Day to Celebrate Franciscan Religious Vocations!

The 49th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be celebrated on April 29, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. This year’s theme is “Vocations: the Gift of the Love of God.”

Instituted in 1964 by Pope Paul VI, this event calls on all of us to pray for vocations and to foster a “culture of vocations” in today’s Church. Regarding this year’s theme, Pope Benedict writes, “Every specific vocation is in fact born of the initiative of God; it is a gift of the Love of God! He is the one who takes the ‘first step,’ and not because he has found something good in us, but because of the presence of his own love ‘poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In every age, the course of the divine call is to be found in the initiative of the infinite love of God, who reveals himself fully in Jesus Christ.’” The Holy Father goes on to say, “Brothers and sisters, we need to open our lives to this love. It is to the perfection of the Father’s love that Jesus Christ calls us to every day.”

Addressing the need to build a culture of vocations, Pope Benedict notes, “The task of fostering vocations will be to provide helpful guidance and direction along the way. Central to this should be love of God’s word nourished by a growing familiarity with sacred Scripture, and attentive and unceasing prayer, both personal and in community; this will make it possible to hear God’s call amid all the voices of daily life.” He also talks about the important role of evangelizing to young people as means to foster vocations.

Addressing educators in particular, Pope Benedict says, “Dear brother bishops, dear priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, catechists, pastoral workers and all of you engaged in the field of educating young people: I fervently exhort you to pay close attention to those members of parish communities, associations and ecclesial movements who sense a call to the priesthood or to a special consecration. It is important for the Church to create the conditions that will permit many young people to say ‘yes’ in generous response to God’s loving call.”