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World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2010

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 25 April 2010

Theme: Witness Awakens Vocations

Papa Benedict XVI's words at the Regina Caeli
- in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear brothers and sisters,
On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, known as "Good Shepherd Sunday", the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated. This year its theme, "Witness Awakens Vocations", is "closely linked to the life and mission of priests and of consecrated persons" (Message for the 47th World Day of Vocations, 13 November 2009). The first form of witness that awakens vocation is prayer (cf. ibid.,), as the example of St Monica shows. By humbly and insistently imploring God she obtained the grace of seeing her son Augustine become a Christian. He wrote: "Without uncertainty, I believe and affirm that through her prayers God granted me the intention of not putting first, not desiring, not thinking and not loving, anything other than the achievement of truth" (De Ordine, II, 20, 52, CCL 29, 136). I therefore invite parents to pray, that the hearts of their children may be open to listening to the Good Shepherd, and that "each tiny seed of a vocation... may... grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity" (Message, cit.). How can we listen to the voice of the Lord and recognize it? In the preaching of the Apostles and of their successors in which Christ's voice rings out, calling us to communion with God and to the fullness of life. As we read today in the Gospel of St John: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand" (Jn 10: 27-28). The Good Shepherd alone tends his flock with deep tenderness and protects it from evil, and in him alone can the faithful put absolute trust.

On this day of special prayers for vocations, I encourage the ordained ministries in particular, encouraged by the Year for Priests, to feel committed to bearing "a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world" (The Holy Father's Letter to priests for the inauguration of the Year for Priests, 16 June 2009). May they remember that the priest "continues the work of redemption on earth"; may they gladly pause "before the tabernacle"; may they seek to remain "completely faithful to [their] own vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism"; may they make themselves available to listening and to forgiving; may they impart a Christian formation to the people entrusted to them; may they take pains to foster a "priestly fraternity" (cf. ibid.). May they follow the example of wise and zealous Pastors, as did St Gregory of Nazianzus, who wrote to his fraternal friend and Bishop, St Basil: "Teach us your love for the sheep, your solicitude and your capacity for understanding, your watchfulness... severity in gentleness, serenity and meekness in activity... combats in defence of the flock, victories... won in Christ" (Oratio IX, 5, PG 35, 825 ab).

I thank everyone present and all those who sustain my ministry as a Successor of Peter with prayer and affection, and upon each one I invoke the heavenly protection of the Virgin Mary, to whom we now turn in prayer."

After the Regina Caeli:

[in Italian] "Stamani, rispettivamente a Roma e a Barcellona, sono stati proclamati Beati due Sacerdoti: Angelo Paoli, Carmelitano, e José Tous y Soler, Cappuccino. A quest’ultimo farò cenno tra poco. Del beato Angelo Paoli, originario della Lunigiana e vissuto tra i secoli XVII e XVIII, mi piace ricordare che fu apostolo della carità a Roma, soprannominato “padre dei poveri”. Si dedicò specialmente ai malati dell’Ospedale San Giovanni, prendendosi cura anche dei convalescenti. Il suo apostolato traeva forza dall’Eucaristia e dalla devozione alla Madonna del Carmine, come pure da un’intensa vita di penitenza. Nell’Anno Sacerdotale, propongo volentieri il suo esempio a tutti i sacerdoti, in modo particolare a quanti appartengono ad Istituti religiosi di vita attiva."

[in French] "Chers pèlerins francophones, en ce dimanche l’Église universelle prie pour les vocations. Ce jour de prière prend une dimension particulière en cette Année Sacerdotale. Prions tous afin que des jeunes répondent à l’appel du Seigneur, acceptent de bâtir leur existence entière sur le Christ dans un service plus direct à l’Évangile et choisissent de donner leur vie avec générosité à Dieu et à l’Église. Priez, chers pèlerins, pour vos prêtres et vos séminaristes. Que l’exemple de Marie et du Saint Curé d’Ars nous guide! Bon dimanche!"

[in English] "I am happy to greet all the English-speaking visitors present for today’s Regina Caeli prayer. This Sunday the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. As we rejoice in the new life that the Risen Lord has won for us, let us ask him to inspire many young people to centre their hearts on the things of Heaven (cf. Col 3:1-2) and to offer themselves joyfully in the service of Christ our Good Shepherd in the priesthood and religious life. Confidently entrusting this petition to Mary, Queen of Heaven, I invoke upon you God’s abundant blessings of peace and joy!"

[in German] "Mit Freude grüße ich die deutschsprachigen Pilger und Besucher hier auf dem Petersplatz. Am heutigen „Sonntag des Guten Hirten“ begehen wir den 47. Weltgebetstag um geistliche Berufungen. In diesem Jahr lautet das Motto: „Das Zeugnis weckt Berufungen“. Dabei blicken wir auf Jesus selbst: Er ist uns als Guter Hirte vorangegangen. Er hat uns gezeigt, was es heißt, sein Leben für die Menschen hinzugeben, die ihm der Vater anvertraut hat. Bitten wir Maria um ihre Fürsprache, daß alle, die Jesus in seine engere Nachfolge berufen hat, ihm freudig antworten und der Gnade Gottes treu bleiben. Der Herr segne euch und eure Familien."

[in Spanish] "Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los fieles de las parroquias Nuestra Señora del Pilar, de Catarroja, y de la Sangre de Cristo, de Cullera. En este domingo llamado del Buen Pastor, en el que la Iglesia celebra la Jornada de oración por las vocaciones, ha tenido lugar en Barcelona la beatificación del sacerdote capuchino José Tous y Soler, fundador de las Hermanas Capuchinas de la Madre del Divino Pastor. No obstante numerosas pruebas y dificultades, nunca se dejó vencer por la amargura o el resentimiento. Destacó por su caridad exquisita y su capacidad para soportar y comprender las deficiencias de los demás. Que su ejemplo e intercesión ayude a todos y especialmente a los sacerdotes a vivir la fidelidad a Cristo. Que el nou Beat Josep Tóus i Soler us beneeixi i us protegeixi. Feliç diumenge. Muchas gracias y feliz domingo."

[in Portuguese] "Dirijo agora a minha saudação amiga aos professores e alunos do Colégio de São Tomás, de Lisboa, e demais peregrinos de língua portuguesa: De visita a Roma, não quisestes faltar a este encontro com o Papa, que a todos encoraja na nobre missão de dar razões de vida e de esperança às novas gerações para uma sociedade mais humana e solidária. Sobre vós, vossas famílias e os sonhos de bem que abrigais no coração, desça a minha Bênção Apostólica."

[in Slovenian] "Lepo pozdravljam romarje, ki ste prišli sem z »Duhovno družino Delo«, in vse druge vernike iz Slovenije! Zgled prvih kristjanov naj vam pomaga, da bo srečanje z vstalim Gospodom v Evharistiji vedno središče vašega življenja. Naj bo z vami moj blagoslov!"

[in Polish] "Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków, a szczególnie uczestników Marszu dla życia, jaki dzisiaj odbywa się w Szczecinie. Łączę się duchowo z tą szlachetną inicjatywą. Niech budzi ona w każdym sercu potrzebę troski o poczęte życie. Niech będzie wsparciem dla rodzin oczekujących potomstwa. Dzisiejsza niedziela jest nazywana Niedzielą Dobrego Pasterza. Módlmy się za powołanych do kapłaństwa i życia zakonnego, aby idąc za głosem Dobrego Pasterza, świętością życia i posługi, dawali przekonujące świadectwo wiary."

[in Italian] "Rivolgo uno speciale saluto all’Associazione “Meter”, che da 14 anni promuove la Giornata nazionale per i bambini vittime della violenza, dello sfruttamento e dell’indifferenza. In questa occasione voglio soprattutto ringraziare e incoraggiare quanti si dedicano alla prevenzione e all’educazione, in particolare i genitori, gli insegnanti e tanti sacerdoti, suore, catechisti e animatori che lavorano con i ragazzi nelle parrocchie, nelle scuole e nelle associazioni. Saluto i fedeli venuti da Brescia, da Cassana presso Ferrara, da alcune parrocchie dell’Umbria e da Toronto, in Canada; i ragazzi delle parrocchie della Valposchiavo, in Svizzera, e quelli di Francavilla al Mare; e il gruppo di fidanzati di Altamura. A tutti auguro una buona domenica."

BXVI - St Peter's Square, Sunday 25 April 2010 - © Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana