Vocations Hinge on Prayer and Holiness, Says Pope
Proposes an Answer to a Crisis in the Church
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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The answer to the crisis of vocations to the consecrated life lies in the holiness of consecrated persons and in the prayer of the whole Church, says John Paul II.
In a message for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, traditionally held on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Pope said: "The force of the witness of those who have received the call depends on their holiness," which should be able "to attract other persons, impelling them to entrust their life to Christ."
"This is the way of opposing the decrease of vocations to the consecrated life, which threatens the existence of many apostolic works, especially in mission countries," the Pope said in the message published today by the Vatican press office.
Prayer is the second key to overcoming the lack of consecrated persons, the Holy Father stated. "Many of the sick in the world join their sufferings to the cross of Jesus to implore for holy vocations," he observed.
Other confessions "also accompany me spiritually in the Petrine ministry that God has entrusted to me, and offer an inestimable contribution to the cause of the Gospel, often in a hidden way," he added.
Thus, the Pope called "all Christian communities to be genuine schools of prayer, where prayers are offered so that laborers will not be lacking in the vast apostolic field."
He added that the Church must offer constant spiritual care to those whom God has already called so that they will "be faithful to their vocation and attain the highest possible degree of evangelical perfection."
The papal message concludes with a prayer to God, through the intercession of Mary, so that vocations will never be lacking in the Church.
The Pope also prays that the Lord will help those who have received the call to follow him, so that they will "respond with joy to the wonderful mission that you entrust to them for the good of your people and of all human beings."