by Terence Sheehy POPE JOHN PAUL'S message from the Vatican for the 20th World Day of Prayer for Vocations on Sunday, is a stirring affirmation of the familiar words of the Council: "The duty of fostering vocations" to the priesthood and this holds for every consecrated vocation — "falls on the whole Christian community, and they should discharge it principally by living full Christian lives".
In a message of hope charged with 'the light of our Easter Faith", the Pope stressed that "the Lord has given us the consolation of seeing in many parts of the Church, the beginnings of a new situation, for there is an ever increasing number of those following His call".
Addressing his message to "brothers in the episcopate, to priests, to men and women Religious, and to all the people of God, and in a special way to those who are being trained in seminaries and religious institutes," he says, "We pray
that many among us may have the courage and the humility, the
fidelity and the love to answer
.yes, .71 On this day on which the whole Church is called to meditate and to pray for vocations consecrated to the cause of the Gospel, the Pope emphasises four points, the word of God and vocations, prayer and vocations, witness and vocations, and personal call and vocations.
On "The word of God", he has this to say: "Vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life . . . exist for a specific mission of their own, which is not to be confused with any other purely human ideal, however noble."
On "prayer and vocations" he says: "Vocations to the total service of the Church are a special gift of God. For this reason we ask this gift from Him alone, for He alone can give it."
About "witness and vocation" he stresses: "Where there is faith, prayer, love, apostolate, Christian living, there the gifts of God abound. Brothers and sons and daughters, let us reflect upon our grave responsibility".
"One should not fear to suggest directly to young or not so young persons the call of the Lord. It is an act of esteem and trust, it can be a moment of light and grace," says the Pope concerning "personal, call and vocations."
Concluding his message, the Pope asks all Catholics to join in his prayer to the Redeemer in this Holy Year, "Through your Spirit, strengthen in their holy resolves those who have dedicated their lives to your Church: in the priesthood, the diaconate, the religious life, the missionary institutes, the other forms of consecrated life; you have called them to your service, make them perfect co-workers in your work of salvation; through your Spirit increase the calls to your service . . give to the many young and not so young the strength needed for accepting the sacrifices that this entails, give them the joy of carrying the cross that goes with their choice, as you were the first to carry it, in certainty of the Resurrection".