Pope Francis blesses a Missionary of Charity in Mongolia Pope Francis blesses a Missionary of Charity in Mongolia  (Vatican Media)

Pope’s Vocations Day message: ‘Pilgrims of hope, builders of peace’

Pope Francis releases his message for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, celebrated on April 21, and urges Christians to welcome our shared vocation to sow the seeds of hope and peace in our world.

By Devin Watkins

“Our life finds fulfilment when we discover who we are, what our gifts are, where we can make them bear fruit, and what path we can follow in order to become signs and instruments of love, generous acceptance, beauty, and peace, wherever we find ourselves.”

Pope Francis offered that summary of our Christian vocation in his message for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which the Church marks on April 21, 2024.

Released on Tuesday, the Pope’s message focuses on the theme: “Called to sow seeds of hope and to build peace.”

The Holy Father noted that all Christians are called to welcome our God-given vocation to serve Him in the world, whether it be through the consecrated life, the priesthood, marriage, or even as a single person.

Gratitude, he said, should characterize World Vocations Day celebrations, as we recall the countless Christians who serve God in all walks of life. He especially invited young people to make room for God, so that they might find happiness in His call, which always respects our freedom.

“Let Jesus draw you to Himself,” said the Pope. “Bring Him your important questions by reading the Gospels; let Him challenge you by His presence, which always provokes in us a healthy crisis.”

Synodal aspect to praying for vocations

Pope Francis went on to invite Christians to be “pilgrims of hope” as the Church journeys toward the 2025 Jubilee.

Amid the vast variety of charisms and vocations in the Church, God’s people are guided by the Holy Spirit and form the Body of Christ as members of a great family and many parts of a whole, he said.

“In this sense,” he added, “the World Day of Prayer for Vocations has a synodal character: amid the variety of our charisms, we are called to listen to one another and to journey together in order to acknowledge them and to discern where the Spirit is leading us for the benefit of all.”

The Pope also urged everyone to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, so that the Lord may “send out labourers into His harvest.”

As the Church prepares for the Jubilee with a Year of Prayer, Christians should engage daily in a prayer that listens for the voice of God and helps us become “pilgrims of hope and builders of peace.”

Pilgrims of hope and builders of peace

Turning to the heart of his message, Pope Francis recalled that Christian pilgrimage means keeping our eyes, minds, and hearts fixed on our goal—which is Christ—and set out every day anew.

“Our pilgrimage on this earth is far from a pointless journey or aimless wandering,” he said. “On the contrary, each day, by responding to God’s call, we try to take every step needed to advance towards a new world where people can live in peace, justice, and love.”

The goal of every Christian vocation, added the Pope, is to become “men and women of hope,” bearing the Gospel message of hope and peace amid countless crises and “the baneful spectre of a third world war fought piecemeal.”

Christ’s Resurrection, noted Pope Francis, is the force that drives our Christian hope and allows us to face the challenges our world present us.

Christian passion for life

In conclusion, the Pope invited Christians to “rise up” and awaken from our indifference by embracing our vocation and letting Christ guide our steps.

“Let us be passionate about life,” he said, “and commit ourselves to caring lovingly for those around us, in every place where we live.”

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19 March 2024, 12:00