Vatican made public Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for the 43rd annual
prayer day, which falls on May 7th. It’s theme this year is “Vocation
in the Mystery of the Church.”
In his message,
dated March 5th, the Pope writes that "The weight of two millennia of
history makes it difficult to perceive the novelty of the fascinating
mystery of divine adoption which lies at the center of St. Paul's
He added that
"We are called to live as brothers and sisters of Christ, to consider
ourselves as sons and daughters of the same Father. This a gift that
overturns all exclusively human ideas and projects."
In this light,
the Pope asked "What, then, must we say of the temptation, so strongly
felt in our own time, to think ourselves so self-sufficient as to shut
ourselves off from the mysterious plan God has for us? The love of the
Father, revealed in the person of Christ, calls out to us."
out that through the centuries, men and women, "transformed by divine
love, have consecrated their lives to the cause of the Kingdom," and
"through Christ have known the mystery of the Father's love."
These people, he said, "represent the multiplicity of vocations that have always been present in the Church."
The Holy Father
went on to describe the Second Vatican Council's universal call to
sanctity. In each generation, he said, Christ "calls individuals to
take care of His people; in particular He calls men to the priestly
ministry to exercise a paternal function.“
He stressed that
“The priest's mission in the Church is irreplaceable. Therefore, even
though some areas suffer a shortage of clergy, we must not lose the
conviction that Christ continues to call men" to the priesthood.”
He added that "Another special vocation occupying a place of honor in the Church is the call to consecrated life.”
men and women “undertake various forms of service in the field of human
formation and care for the poor, in education and in assistance to the
sick, [consecrated people],” the Pope said, “do not consider these
activities as the principle aim of their lives because, as the Code of
Canon Law says: 'Contemplation of divine things and assiduous union
with God in prayer is to be the first and foremost duty of all
As he concluded
his message, Pope Benedict issued a call to pray "for vocations to the
priesthood and the consecrated life,” saying that “The Church's
sanctity depends essentially on her union with Christ and her openness
to the mystery of grace at work in the hearts of believers.”
reason,” he said, “I would like to invite all the faithful to cultivate
an intimate relationship with Christ, Master and Pastor of His people,
imitating Mary who guarded the divine mysteries in her heart and
contemplated them assiduously."
the Church prepares to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vacations,
due to be held in May, the Holy Father is stressing that although many
corners of the world currently face a priestly shortage, God continues
to call men to “take care of his people” through the priesthood.