Papal Advice to Young People: Be Not Afraid to Follow Christ

In Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In his message for the next World Day of Prayer for Vocations, John Paul II encourages young people to respond to Christ's call to follow him without hesitation.



The Pope in his message reminds youth that the world today needs "holy priests" and "persons wholly consecrated to the service of God."

"Dear adolescents and young people, it is to you in a particular way that I renew the invitation of Christ to 'put out into the deep,'" the Holy Father says in the message, published Saturday by the Vatican press office. The Day of Prayer takes places April 17.

"You find yourselves having to make important decisions for your future," he writes. "I still hold in my heart the memory of the many opportunities I have had over the years to meet with young people, who have now become adults, some of them your own parents, perhaps, or priests or religious, your teachers in the faith."

"I saw them, happy as young people should be, but also thoughtful, because they were conscious of a desire to give full 'meaning' to their lives," the Pope states in the message entitled "Called to Put Out into the Deep."

"I came to recognize more and more how strong is the attraction in young people to the values of the spirit, and how sincere in their desire for holiness. Young people need Christ, but they also know that Christ chose to be in need of them," John Paul II continues.

"Dear young men and women! Trust Christ; listen attentively to his teachings, fix your eyes on his face, persevere in listening to his Word. Allow Him to focus your search and your aspirations, all your ideals and the desires of your heart," the Pope writes.

The papal message then addresses parents and Christian educators, priests, consecrated persons and catechists to remind them of their "peculiar task of guiding young people on the path to holiness."

"Be an example to them of generous fidelity to Christ. Encourage them to 'put out into the deep' without hesitation, responding eagerly to the invitation of the Lord. Some he calls to family life, others to consecrated life or to the ministerial priesthood," the Holy Father states.

"When adult Christians show themselves capable of revealing the face of Christ through their own words and example, young people are more ready to welcome His demanding message, stamped as it is with the mystery of the Cross," he adds.

"Do not forget that today too there us need of holy priests, of persons wholly consecrated to the service of God!" he says.

He concludes the message with a prayer, asking Jesus to waken in the "hearts of young people the desire to be witnesses in the world of today to the power of your love."

Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in 1964.