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World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2011

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 15 May 2011

Theme: Proposing Vocations in the Local Church

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

"Dear brothers and sisters,
The Liturgy of the Fourth Sunday of Easter presents to us one of the most beautiful images that has portrayed the Lord Jesus since the earliest centuries of the Church: the Good Shepherd. The Gospel of St John, in chapter 10, describes the special features of the relationship between Christ the Good Shepherd and his flock, a relationship so close that no one will ever be able to snatch sheep from his hand. Indeed, the sheep are united to him by a bond of love and of reciprocal knowledge, which guarantees to them the immeasurable gift of eternal life. At the same time, the flock’s attitude to the Good Shepherd, Christ, is presented by the Evangelist with two specific verbs: “to listen” and “to follow”. These terms suggest the fundamental characteristics of those who live out the following of the Lord. First of all by listening to his word, from which faith is born and by which it is nurtured. Only those who are attentive to the Lord’s voice can assess in their own conscience the right decisions for acting in accordance with God. Thus the following of Jesus derives from listening: we act as disciples only after hearing and inwardly accepting the Master’s teachings in order to put them into practice every day.

On this Sunday, therefore, it comes naturally to remember to God the pastors of the Church and those who are training to become pastors. I therefore invite you to say a special prayer for the bishops – including the Bishop of Rome! – for the parish priests, for all those who have responsibilities in the guidance of Christ’s flock, so that they may be faithful and wise in carrying out their ministry. In particular, let us pray for vocations to the priesthood on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, so that effective workers in the Lord’s harvest may never be lacking. 70 years ago, Venerable Pius XII established the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations. My Predecessor’s felicitous insight was based on the conviction that vocations grow and mature in the particular Churches, facilitated by a healthy family background and fortified by a spirit of faith, charity and devotion. In the Message I sent for this World Day, I stressed that a vocation is fulfilled when they “leave behind their own narrow agenda and their notions of self-fulfilment in order to immerse themselves in another will, the will of God, and to be guided by it” (dated 15 November 2010). In these times too, in which the Lord’s voice risks being drowned by so many other voices, every ecclesial community is called to promote and to care for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. Men and women in fact always need God, also in our technological world, and there will always be a need for Pastors who proclaim his Word and bring them to encounter the Lord in the sacraments.

Dear brothers and sisters, strengthened by the joy of Easter and of faith in the Risen One, let us entrust our resolutions and intentions to the Virgin Mary, Mother of every vocation, so that with her intercession she may bring forth and sustain many holy vocations for the service of the Church and of the world."


"I continue to follow with great apprehension the tragic armed conflict in Libya, which has taken a heavy toll of victims and caused great suffering, especially among the civil population. I renew my pressing appeal to turn to negotiation and dialogue, so that it may prevail over violence, with the help of the international organizations that are doing their utmost to find a solution to the crisis. I also assure my prayerful and moved participation in the commitment with which the local Church helps the people, especially through the consecrated people present in the hospitals.

My thoughts also turn to Syria where there is an urgent need to re-establish coexistence marked by harmony and unity. I ask God to spare this country of great religions and civilization any further bloodshed and I invite the Authorities and all the citizens to spare no effort in the search for the common good and in the acceptance of legitimate aspirations to a future of peace and stability."

After the Regina Caeli:

[in Italian] "Cari fratelli e sorelle, la beatificazione del Papa Giovanni Paolo II ha avuto, come sapete, una risonanza mondiale. Vi sono altri testimoni esemplari di Cristo, molto meno noti, che la Chiesa addita con gioia alla venerazione dei fedeli. Oggi, a Würzburg, in Germania, è proclamato beato Georg Häfner, sacerdote diocesano, morto martire nel campo di concentramento di Dachau; e sabato 7 maggio scorso, a Pozzuoli, è stato beatificato un altro presbitero, Giustino Maria Russolillo, fondatore della Società delle Divine Vocazioni. Ringraziamo il Signore perché non fa mancare santi sacerdoti alla sua Chiesa!"

[in French] "Chers pèlerins francophones, chaque année, au mois de mai nous vénérons la Vierge Marie. Dans son pèlerinage de foi, elle est restée discrète mais efficace pour soutenir et accompagner la mission de son Fils. En ce dimanche où l’Eglise prie pour les vocations au sacerdoce et à la vie consacrée, que son intercession maternelle suscite au cœur de nombreux jeunes une réponse généreuse et confiante à l’appel du Seigneur! Prions comme Marie et avec elle! Je vous bénis de grand cœur. Et vous les jeunes, répondez avec enthousiasme à l’appel au sacerdoce!"

[in English] "I greet with joy the English-speaking visitors gathered here today, and I pray that your pilgrimage to Rome will strengthen your faith and your love for the Lord Jesus. Today we pray especially for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, asking Christ our Lord to send shepherds to care for his flock, so that God’s people may have life in abundance. Upon all of you I invoke the peace and joy of the Risen Lord!"

[in German] "Ein herzliches „Grüß Gott“ sage ich den Pilgern und Besuchern aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Besonders verbinde ich mich mit den zahlreichen Gläubigen, die heute am Sonntag des guten Hirten an der Seligsprechung des Martyrerpriesters Georg Häfner im Würzburger Dom teilnehmen. In den Wirren des Nationalsozialismus war Georg Häfner bereit, als treuer Hirte bis zur Hingabe seines Lebens die Herde zu weiden und viele Menschen in der Verkündigung der Wahrheit und der Spendung der Sakramente zu den Wassern des Lebens zu führen. Seinen Peinigern hat er von Herzen vergeben, und seinen Eltern schrieb er aus dem Gefängnis: „Mit allen wollen wir gut sein.“ Seiner Fürsprache vertrauen wir uns gerne an, damit auch wir die Stimme Christi, des guten Hirten, hören und so zum Leben und zur Freude in Fülle gelangen."

[in Spanish] "Saludo con afecto a los fieles de lengua española. En este cuarto domingo de Pascua, llamado «del Buen Pastor», celebramos la Jornada mundial de oración por las vocaciones. Invito a todos a asumir el compromiso en la promoción y cuidado de las vocaciones, a alentar y sostener a los que muestran indicios de una llamada a la vida sacerdotal o a la vida consagrada. Roguemos al «Señor de la mies», que conceda a su Iglesia numerosas y santas vocaciones. Confiemos igualmente a la maternal protección de María, la Virgen, a todos aquellos que han respondido a la llamada de Dios en sus vidas. Muchas gracias y Feliz Domingo."

[in Polish}"Słowo pozdrowienia przekazuję wszystkim Polakom. Dzisiaj w Niedzielę Dobrego Pasterza, w Światowy Dzień Modlitw o Powołania prosimy Chrystusa Zmartwychwstałego, by obudził w sercach wielu młodych pragnienie oddania się wyłącznej służbie Bożej. Niech staną się światłem dla współczesnego świata, świadkami Chrystusa, który jest bramą wiodącą wszystkich do zbawienia. Waszej modlitwie o powołania z serca błogosławię."

[in Italian] Infine, saluto con affetto i pellegrini di lingua italiana, in particolare i fedeli provenienti da Perugia e Parma, i giovani di Pesaro, i ragazzi di Taggi di Sopra che hanno ricevuto la Cresima. Saluto inoltre l’Associazione “Amici della Musica” di Niscemi, gli alunni della Scuola “Nostra Signora della Neve” di Genova e il gruppo Protezione Civile di Roccamonfina. A tutti auguro una buona domenica, una buona settimana.. Grazie per la vostra presenza."

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