Parents, Saints, and Shepherds
In town for Guards' Weekend -- the Roman version of Fleet Week? -- even the Swiss Army Band showed up....
Dear Brothers and Sisters!Stay tuned for the translation of the homily from this morning's ordination liturgy -- an absolute stunner of a text.
On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, "Good Shepherd" Sunday, in which we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I had the joy of ordaining 15 new priests for the Diocese of Rome in St Peter's Basilica. Together with them I think of those in each part of the world who will receive priestly ordination in these days. While we thank the Lord for the gift of these new priests at the service of the Church, we entrust all of them to Mary, at the same time calling on her intercession that there may flourish in number those who accept the invitation of Christ to follow him along the way of priesthood and of the consecrated life.
This year the World Day of Prayer for Vocations has for its theme: "Vocation in the Mystery of the Church." In the Message which I sent to the whole ecclesial Community for this event, I recalled the experience of the first disciples of Jesus, who, after having met him along the lake and in the villages of Galilee, were won over by his glamour and by his love. The Christian vocation is always the renewal of this personal friendship with Jesus Christ, who gives to us without end and makes us available for the Kingdom of God. The Church takes its life from this friendship, aided by the Word and the Sacraments, holy realities particularly entrusted to the ministry of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, consecrated in the sacrament of Orders. Because of this -- as I said in that Message -- the mission of the priest is irreplacable, and also if, in some places, there is a lack of clergy, it cannot be doubted that God continues to call boys, young men and adults to leave everything behind that they may dedicate themselves to the preaching of the Word and the pastoral ministry.
Another special form of following Christ is the vocation to the consecrated life, which expresses itself in the living out of poverty, chastity and obedience dedicated completely to God, in contemplation and prayer, and placed at the service of their brothers and sisters, especially the little ones and the poor. We cannot forget, then, that Christian marriage is fully a vocation to holiness, and from the example of parent-saints comes the first condition favorable to the flowering of priestly and religious vocations. Dear brothers and sisters, let us call upon the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, for priests and religous; let us pray, too, that the seeds of vocations which God sows in the hearts of the faithful come to full maturity and reap fruits of holiness in the Church and in the world.
PHOTO: AP/Plinio Lepri (Who's Had Quite a Busy Day)