Parents and priests urged to cultivate seed of vocation
Pope Benedict marked World Day for Vocations on Sunday with a call to priests and parents to cultivate “every little seed of vocation”.
Addressing thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square for the traditional Regina Caeli prayer, the Pontiff reflected on his message for Vocations Sunday, “Witness awakens Vocations”.
He said that priests should feel themselves called to “a stronger and more effective witness to the Gospel in today’s world”, urging them to remember that “the priest continues the work of Redemption on earth”.
He said, “The first kind of testimony that encourages vocations is prayer.”
Recalling the example of St Monica, the mother of St Augustine, who, “supplicating God with humility and persistence, obtained the grace of seeing her son convert to Christianity”, he underlined that St Augustine had acknowledged this.
The saint wrote, “Without doubt, I believe and affirm that, through her prayers, God has granted me the intention of not putting first, not wanting, not thinking, and not loving anything that doesn’t reach the truth.”
The Holy Father invited parents “to pray that the hearts of their children be open to hearing the Good Shepherd and that each small seed of a vocation may come to be a leafy tree, full of fruits for the good of the Church and for all humanity.”
The Pope also used the occasion of Good Shepherd Sunday to thank and bless the work of an association founded by an Italian priest to combat paedophilia and online child pornography.
For over 14 years, “Meter Association” has promoted the Italian National Day for children victims of violence, exploitation and indifference. “
On this occasion – he said – “I want to especially thank and encourage those dedicated to prevention and education, especially parents, teachers and many priests, nuns, catechists and facilitators who work with children in parishes, schools and associations”.
After the Regina Caeli, Pope Benedict XVI noted that on Sunday in Rome and Barcelona, two priests were beatified: Angelo Paoli, a Carmelite, and José Tous y Soler, a Capuchin.
“In the Year for Priests”, he concluded “I gladly propose these example to all priests, especially those who belong to religious institutes of active life.”