This upcoming Sunday May 7th will mark the 54th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This day is a public and universal response to the call of Jesus to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.” Anticipating this day of prayer by reflecting on the missionary dimension of our Christian calling, Pope Francis wrote last November that, “commitment to mission is not something added on to the Christian life as a kind of decoration, but is instead an essential element of faith itself. A relationship with the Lord entails being sent out into the world as prophets of his word and witnesses of his love.”
On this day we pray not only for men and women to respond generously to the Lord’s call to dedicate their lives as priests and religious, but also that every baptized Christian may live out his or her vocation as a missionary disciple. Pope Francis asks for prayer so that all can “regain fervor in preaching the Gospel and… encourage young people to take up the path of Christian discipleship.” It is from a community of faithful Christian disciples where the preaching of the Gospel is vibrant that vocations to the priesthood and religious life arise. The words of Jesus in the Gospel remind us that we all have a responsibility to pray so that faithful disciples may hear God’s call and respond to it in love.
Though all are called to be evangelizers, the Church recognizes the unique role played by priests and religious who dedicate their entire lives to the mission of the Church, which is the same mission of Christ. In his same message from last November, Pope Francis calls the faithful to develop a profound friendship with the Lord, particularly in Eucharistic Adoration to “implore from on high new vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.” He continues reflecting that “the people of God need to be guided by pastors whose lives are spent in the service to the Gospel. I ask parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church, not to yield to discouragement but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest.”
Responding to the Lord’s command and the invitation of the Holy Father, the Saint John Vianney Vocations Ministry of both Savannah and Augusta organize holy hours for the faithful to gather and pray specifically for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This May 7th, the Vocations Ministry of Savannah will hold a Holy Hour for Vocations at 4pm at Blessed Sacrament Church on Victory Drive in Savannah. All are invited to attend.
Pope Francis ends his reflection recalling the courage of the Blessed Mother to place her youth and enthusiasm in God’s hands. He prays and invites us to pray, that we all may be “granted that same openness of heart, that same readiness to respond ‘Here I am,’ to the Lord’s call, and that same joy in setting out, like her, to proclaim him to the whole world.”