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World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2002

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 21 April 2002

Theme: The Vocation to holiness

Blessed John Paul II's words at the Regina Caeli in St Peter's Square
- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
1. This morning, in St Peter's Basilica, I ordained twenty new priests for the Diocese of Rome. I renew my warmest best wishes to them and to their parents and relatives, and those who are with them on this unique and unforgettable day. Dear new priests, if the young are the hope of the Church, how much more so are you young priests. This is why I direct to you, above all, the words that are the well known theme of World Youth Day: "You are the salt of the earth.... You are the light of the world" (Mt 5,13).

2. Following an important custom, today, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we observe the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This Sunday is called "Good Shepherd" Sunday because in the Gospel Jesus applies to himself this touching Biblical title. With our eyes fixed on him, I pray for all the priests who were or will be ordained during this year, so that they will give a valid witness to the Good Shepherd with their holiness of life and their ministry. I ask all to offer a common prayer to God, especially on this day, so that the People of God will be enriched with many and holy vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.

3. Our prayer continues with great insistence for the situation in the Holy Land about which unfortunately we continually receive worrisome news and images of destruction. They are images that are more powerful than any appeal and oblige everyone to leave nothing untried at every level so that the land, blessed by God, may be rescued as soon as possible from the spiral of hatred and violence.

Every day I go to Bethlehem spiritually, to the Basilica of the Nativity, where I experienced unforgettable moments during my Jubilee pilgrimage. For almost 20 days, the Basilica and adjacent buildings have been the scene of clashes, threats and unbearable exchanges of accusations. May that place, and all the holy places, be restored quickly to prayer and the pilgrims, to God and to the human person.

May Mary Most Holy obtain for the parties in conflict the courage of peace and for the international community an unyielding solidarity. May Israelis and Palestinians be able to learn to live together and may the Holy Land finally return to being a sacred land and a land of peace."

After the Regina Caeli:

[in Italian] "Rivolgo un cordiale saluto al folto gruppo di animatori parrocchiali e diocesani appartenenti al Movimento dei Focolari, convenuti da diversi Paesi per il Congresso sul tema "Per una comunità in dialogo". Sono lieto, carissimi, che abbiate approfondito le indicazioni della Lettera apostolica Novo millennio ineunte a proposito della spiritualità di comunione e delle sue esigenze concrete. Portate la mia benedizione nelle vostre comunità!

[in Spanish] "Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, de modo particular al grupo de la parroquia de San Luis Gonzaga de Barcelona. Que la escucha de la palabra de Jesús, el buen Pastor, os aliente en vuestro camino. Que la Virgen María os acompañe.

[Traduzione italiana del saluto pronunciato in lingua polacca] "Saluto i pellegrini giunti dalla Polonia: da Cracovia, la parrocchia dei padri redentoristi; da Wadowice, gli alunni del complesso di istituti tecnici commerciali; da Breslavia, la Radio Cattolica Famiglia; da Raba Wyzna, gli insegnanti e gli studenti del ginnasio. Dio benedica tutti!

[in Italian] "Saluto poi i gruppi di fedeli provenienti da Brindisi e da San Cesario di Lecce e li incoraggio a proseguire nel loro cammino di fede e di testimonianza. Saluto inoltre il singolare pellegrinaggio venuto da Pescara a bordo di vetture d'epoca.

A tutti auguro una buona domenica."

© Copyright 2002 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana