April 29th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (the 4th Sunday of Easter) on the 11th April 1964 by saying: “O Jesus, divine Shepherd of the spirit, you have called the Apostles in order to make them fishermen of men, you still attract to you burning spirits and generous young people, in order to render them your followers and ministers to us” (Pope Paul VI launching the 1st Word Day of Prayer for Vocations)

Today, on this Vocations Sunday, the Church throughout the world is asked to pray for and encourage vocations to priesthood and religious life. Pope John Paul opens his encyclical of 1992 on the formation of priests - Pastores Dabo Vobis with the words of Jeremiah "I will give you shepherds after my own heart" (3:15). He recalls the promise of today’s Gospel that God will never leave His flock unattended. Such is the love of the Father that he will provide for the needs of His people. One of the greatest needs today, indeed if not the greatest need, is the gift of peace. When he appeared to the disciples in the upper room his first words to them was ‘peace be with you’. He was aware of their distress and their greatest need. Having peace of heart is worth more than anything. It can help you cope with the greatest of challenges and the toughest of situations. Knowing that no matter what we are going through, that we are not alone, that the God who created us walks with us and holds our hand is worth more than anything the world has to offer. God reveals this presence and this love through the gifts of the sacraments…The ultimate words the priest says are during Mass; ‘This is my body given up for you’, ‘this is the Chalice of my blood...poured out for you and for many’.  Today we pray that the voice of Christ calling those who have a vocation will be heard clearly and that they may have the courage to answer that call so that the generations to come may know true peace. {http://www.vocations.ie/VocationsSunday/Message}   
Excerpt from The Holy Father’s Message for today … “Dear Brothers and Sisters, the 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be celebrated on 29 April 2012, prompts us to meditate on the theme: Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God…With this prayerful hope, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to all of you: my brother bishops, priests, deacons, religious men and women and all lay faithful, and especially those young men and women who strive to listen with a docile heart to God’s voice and are ready to respond generously and faithfully”. From the Vatican, 18 October 2011  - BENEDICTUS PP. XVI 
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