While some shake their head at seemingly lower number of vocations, the Holy Father says that the Lord still calls people today, and "at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the Church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life."
The Lord is calling -- but we must respond! And there must be a support system to help men and women to respond to the call: and that's the thrust of Pope Benedict XVI's message for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
The day takes place on May 15th, but the message was released on Saturday.
The theme the Holy Father has chosen is Proposing Vocations in the Local Church
The Holy Father says fostering vocations in parishes and communities is of the utmost importance, especially today:
Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by “other voices” and his invitation to follow him by the gift of one’s own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations. It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration, and to enable hem to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond “yes” to God and the Church.
See the full message for the day below:
MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER
FOR THE 48th WORLD DAY
OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
15 MAY 2011 FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Theme: "Proposing Vocations in the Local Church"
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be celebrated on 15 May 2011, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, invites us to reflect on the theme: “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church”. Seventy years ago, Venerable Pius XII established the Pontifical Work of Priestly Vocations. Similar bodies, led by priests and members of the lay faithful, were subsequently established by Bishops in many dioceses as a response to the call of the Good Shepherd who, “when he saw the crowds, had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”, and went on to say: “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest!” (Mt 9:36-38).
CNS Photo/Paul Haring