Pope Calls on Parents and Priests to Cultivate Vocations


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(25 April 10 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI marked the World Day of Prayer for Vocations this Sunday with a special call to priests and parents to cultivate "every little seed of vocation.

The Pope was speaking to thousands of pilgrims and visitors in St Peter's Square for the traditional Regina Caeli prayer, on the fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.

Reflecting on his message for Vocations Sunday, "Witness awakens Vocations", the Pope said that priests should feel themselves called to "a stronger and more effective witness to the Gospel in todays' world", urging them to remember that "the priest continues the work of Redemption on earth".

He prayed that they may know how to gladly stand before the tabernacle, totally committed to their vocation and mission through an austere asceticism, that they may become open to listening and forgiveness; in order to form the Christian people entrusted to them and carefully cultivate the 'priestly fraternity'. "

Saturday marked the 5th anniversary of the beginning of Pope Benedict's pontificate and on Sunday he had special words of thanks for all those who "with prayer and affection" support his ministry as Successor of Peter"

The Pope also used the occasion of Good Shepherd Sunday to thank and bless the work of an association founded by an Italian priest to combat paedophilia and online child pornography.

For over 14 years, "Meter Association" has promoted the Italian National Day for children victims of violence, exploitation and indifference. "

On this occasion - he said - "I want to especially thank and encourage those dedicated to prevention and education, especially parents, teachers and many priests, nuns, catechists and facilitators who work with children in parishes, schools and associations".

After the Regina Caeli, Pope Benedict XVI noted that on Sunday in Rome and Barcelona, two priests were beatified: Angelo Paoli, a Carmelite, and José Tous y Soler, a Capuchin. "In the Year for Priests", he concluded "I gladly propose these example to all priests, especially those who belong to religious institutes of active life. "