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John Paul II's Letter to Priests

"Particularly in the context of the new evangelization, the people have a right to turn to priests in the hope of "seeing'' Christ in them. The young feel the need for this especially; Christ continues to call them, to make them his friends and to challenge some to give themselves completely for the sake of the Kingdom. Vocations will certainly not be lacking if our manner of life is truly priestly, if we become more holy, more joyful, more impassioned in the exercise of our ministry. A priest "won'' by Christ more easily "wins" others, so that they too decide to set out on the same adventure."

John Paul II wrote a letter to priests every year for Holy Thursday (the eve of Good Friday). This quote is from his letter to priests in 2005 (the Year of the Eucharist) and was the last official letter he wrote - you can read it in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

Gift and Mystery

On the 50th anniversary of his priesthood (in 1996), John Paul II wrote 'Gift and Mystery' - a testimony to his priestly vocation (you can read it in Italian & Spanish on the Vatican website or buy the book most good places).  He concludes:

"I cannot end these reflections, in the year of my Golden Jubilee as a priest, without expressing to the Lord of the harvest my deepest gratitude for the gift of a vocation, for the grace of priesthood, for priestly vocations throughout the world.  I do this in union with all the Bishops, who share the same concern for vocations and experience the same joy when their number increases.  Thanks be to God, a certain crisis of priestly vocations in the Church is gradually being overcome.  Each new priest brings with him a special blessing: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."  For in every priest it is Christ himself who comes.  If, as Saint Cyprian said, the Christian is "another Christ" - Christianus alter Christus - with all the more reason it can be said: Sacerdos alter Christus.

May God sustain in all priests a grateful awareness of the gift they have received; may he also awaken in many young men a ready and generous response to his call to give themselves completely to the cause of the Gospel.  The men and women of our time, who have such need of meaning and hope, will greatly benefit from their witness.  And the Christian community will rejoice, knowing that it can look forward with confidence to the challenges of the approaching Third Millennium.

May the Virgin Mary accept this testimony of mine as a filial homage, for the glory of the Blessed Trinity.  May she make it fruitful in the hearts of my brothers in the priesthood and of many members of the Church.  May she make it a leaven of fraternity also for the many people who, although they do not share the same faith, often listen to my words and engage me in sincere dialogue."