Made public today was the Holy Father's message for the 42nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be held on April 17, fourth Sunday of Easter, on the theme: "Called to put out into the deep."
The text of the Message has been published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German.
In the Message, dated August 11, 2004, the Pope recollects Jesus' call to His disciples: "To let down their nets for a catch, which turned out to be a marvelous one. Jesus says to Peter: 'Duc in altum - Put out into the deep' ...”
“The command of Christ is particularly relevant in our time, when there is a widespread mentality which, in the face of difficulties, favors personal non-commitment. The first condition for 'putting out into the deep' is to cultivate a deep spirit of prayer nourished by a daily listening to the Word of God."
"Whoever opens his heart to Christ” he challenged, “will not only understand the mystery of his own existence, but also that of his own vocation; he will bear the abundant fruit of grace. ... Living the Gospel without adding to it, the Christian becomes always increasingly capable of loving in the way that Christ loved."
Addressing himself to adolescents and young people, John Paul II writes: "You find yourselves having to make important decisions for your future."
After recalling his numerous meetings with young people over the years he reiterates how he has "come to recognize more and more how strong is the attraction in young people to the values of the spirit, and how sincere is their desire for holiness.”
“Young people need Christ, but they also know that Christ chose to be in need of them."
"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 Holy Father then turns to parents, Christian educators, priests, consecrated people and catechists: "Be an example to (the young) of generous fidelity to Christ. ... Help them to discern their path, and to become true friends of Christ and His true disciples.”
“.... Do not forget that today too there is need of holy priests, of persons wholly consecrated to the service of God!"
"May an ardent prayer sustained by the motherly intercession of Mary, rise from every corner of the earth, to the heavenly Father to obtain 'laborers for His harvest'. May He give zealous and holy priests to every part of his flock."
The Message concludes with a prayer to Christ, High Priest, in which the Pope calls with renewed trust for young people to discover the full truth of their own vocation.