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See Pentecost 2003 Issue dedicated to Vocations

from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1656 In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are "by word and example ... the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation."

Address on World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Pope Exhorts Those Who Have Heard God's Call

Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Today we celebrate the 40th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, whose theme is: "Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased" (Matthew 12:18; see Isaiah 42:1-4). On this significant occasion, I had the joy of ordaining this morning 31 new priests. Let us thank God for such a precious gift to the Church and to the world! I renew my cordial greeting to the ordained and extend it sincerely to their relatives and friends, and to those who were involved in their formation.

Let us pray so that these new priests, and all priests worldwide, will be ever more conformed to Christ, the Servant of the Lord, who came not to be served but to serve (see Matthew 20:28).

2. I am happy to send special greetings to the numerous young people gathered in the Cathedral of Chieti, where the national celebration of the Day for Vocations is taking place.

Beloved, in virtue of baptism and confirmation, every Christian is called to be a witness of the Gospel. However, with a special vocation, God has always invited some to a more complete giving of themselves in the cause of the Kingdom. He has certainly looked upon the young men and women of today also. I exhort all those who have felt his voice resound in their hearts to say their very generous "yes" and then to nourish it, day after day, in prayer, remaining united to Christ like the shoots of the vine (see John 15:5).

My thoughts turn, moreover, to the boys and girls of the schools of Rome, who this morning took part in the Spring Marathon/School Festival. My affectionate greetings to you too, beloved, and to your parents, teachers and professors. May today's event help us to understand better the important role the school can play in educating youngsters to respond generously to God, who calls them to the service of their brothers.

3. The Virgin Mary is the model of prompt and total adherence to the divine will. When pronouncing her "behold," she described herself as "the handmaid of the Lord" (Luke 1:38) and showed herself totally disposed to the plan of salvation. Therefore, we turn with trust to the Mother of every vocation, praying in particular for all those who received priestly ordination today. -- JPII 2003



Prayer for Vocations

A Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament for the Increase of Priestly and Religious Vocations

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father,
Son of the Virgin Mary,
we thank you for offering your life in sacrifice on
the Cross, and for renewing this sacrifice
in every Mass celebrated throughout the world.

In the Power of the Holy Spirit
we adore you and proclaim
your living presence in the Eucharist.
We desire to imitate the love you show us
in your death and resurrection,
by loving and serving one another.

We ask you to call many young people to religious
life, and to provide the holy and generous priests
that are so needed in you Church today.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer. Amen.

Archbishop Justin Rigali - St. Louis

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