At Pope Francis’ invitation, we pray for vocations
Every year at this time, on Good Shepherd Sunday, we pray for vocations to the religious and priestly life. There is a real need for people of dedication and imagination who want to serve Christ in this way in the world. It will always be a relatively small group, but it is an essential part of the Church as we go forward. We need religious and priests who can serve people; who can see their leadership as service, not as power - ready to wash the feet of their brothers and sisters - who can get involved in the mess of the daily life of everybody; who can know their own vulnerability and fragility, and yet feel called to be disciples.
The Church is experiencing a profound change in these past years. And, in this time of the coronavirus, it is changing even more rapidly. There has been a need and a desire on the part of so many Catholics and Christians to continue to connect with their faith and to find ways of worshipping together. In the past decades, especially in the more secularised world, you often heard people saying, “I am not religious ... but I have a spirituality.” Often this spirituality has been very much a personal and hidden thing. But now, during the COVID19 time, new desires are emerging - the tendency to realise that a hidden, personal spirituality is not enough, that we need the support of brothers and sisters in faith. We have seen masses online; we have seen prayer online, and we have seen resources emerge for Catholics to have family prayer together. All this is pointing that something new is evolving. We don’t know where this will lead in the next five or ten years, but we do know that God is always with His Church and that He will help us and guide us. All we have to do is to be open and to listen to the Spirit.
We can pray, on this World Day for Vocations, that God’s Spirit will inspire young people to join religious life and priesthood. We need people of vision and imagination who selflessly go forward in humble service.
Quite a few resources are available online. In English, you may visit the pages of the English speaking Jesuit Provinces in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, or in America. The United States Jesuits offer a number of video testimonies on their website (click here).
And don’t forget, if you are already a priest or religious, or if you are a parent or a grandparent, pray that the spirit of God will enliven the Church this Pentecost; part of that revitalization is the call to young people to serve as priests and religious. It is a call that is very important for the life and well-being of faith communities today.
Read the "Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 2020 World Day of Prayer for Vocations".
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